Dr Duncan Casson
Dr Duncan Casson (BSc Biochemistry 1980) – Consultant to the Biopharmaceutical Industry
Dr Duncan Casson is one of the UK’s most respected developers of biological medicines. A native of Denton – and named after Manchester United’s famous ‘Busby babe’ Duncan Edwards – Duncan moved to Plymouth with his family when he was nine. He returned to Manchester nine years later as a student, graduating in 1980 with an honours degree in Biochemistry.
Following a doctorate in Microbiology and Biochemistry at Birmingham University, Duncan spent three years as a researcher in biochemical engineering. He quickly realised, however, that his real passion was not in research itself, but in turning research into applications that improved lives.
He therefore left academia and over the next 15 years developed his career at two of the most respected names in international biochemistry – Genzyme Corporation and Cambridge Antibody Technology – developing innovative new products that enhanced the quality of life for people all over the world.
Perhaps his biggest success, however, is his most recent one. In 2005 Duncan set up a small biotechnology company – PanGenetics UK – to develop therapeutic antibodies targeting Crohns disease and chronic pain.
Within five years he had taken PanGenetics from start-up to one of the most talked-about names in biochemistry, having successfully developed a new therapeutic antibody to ease the plight of millions of sufferers of chronic pain.
After considerable international interest, in 2010 PanGenetics was sold to American biotechnology giant Abbott Labs for US$190 million.
Since the sale, Duncan has been advising a number of biotech companies on developing new therapeutic biological products. Most recently, he was appointed Chief Development Officer of a rapidly growing biotechnology company near Cambridge.