David Jack (pharmacologist)

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Sir David Jack
Born(1924-02-22)22 February 1924
Markinch, Fife, Scotland
Died8 November 2011(2011-11-08) (aged 87)
Alma mater
Known forDrug discovery and development
SpouseLydia Downie Brown (1952–2016)
Scientific career
FieldsPharmacology, Medicinal chemistry
InstitutionsAllen & Hanburys, Glaxo
Doctoral advisorArnold Beckett

Sir David Jack CBE FRS FRSE[1] (22 February 1924 – 8 November 2011[2][3]) was a Scottish pharmacologist and medicinal chemist who specialised in the development of drugs for treating asthma. He was head of research and development at Glaxo from 1978 until 1987.

Early life and education

Jack was born the sixth and youngest child of a coal miner, in Markinch, Fife, Scotland.[4] He attended Buckhaven High School before turning down a place at Edinburgh University to become an apprentice pharmacist. In 1944, having completed his apprenticeship, he began a BSc course in chemistry and pharmacy at the Royal Technical College, Glasgow. He won a number of undergraduate prizes and graduated with first class honours.[4]


He turned down an offer to study for a doctorate and instead worked as an assistant lecturer at the University of Glasgow.[1][4]

In 1951 he joined the pharmaceutical company Glaxo Laboratories, moving to Smith Kline and French in 1953.[4] In 1961 he became director of research at Allen and Hanburys, a subsidiary of Glaxo, and served as Glaxo's research and development director from 1978 until his official retirement in 1987.[2]

Jack was known for heading a group which developed the following drugs:


Jack was knighted for services to the pharmaceutical industry in 1993.[4]

In 1987, he was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Science) by the University of Bath.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Breckenridge, S. Alasdair (2014). "Sir David Jack. 22 February 1924 -- 8 November 2011". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 60: 249–260. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2014.0006.
  2. ^ a b "Sir David Jack". The Daily Telegraph. 17 November 2011. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  3. ^ "Sir David Jack". The Herald. 19 November 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Obituary, Sir David Jack". The Times. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
  5. ^ "Honorary Graduates 1989 to present". bath.ac.uk. University of Bath. Archived from the original on 19 December 2015. Retrieved 18 February 2012.

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