Dr John Skidmore

John Skidmore

University position

Chief Scientific Officer


Department of Medical Genetics


Alzheimer's Research UK Cambridge Drug Discovery Institute and Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR)



Home page

http://www.ch.cam.ac.uk/person/... (personal home page)

Research Theme

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


I am a medicinal chemist and drug discovery leader interested in working collaboratively with academics and industry in order to translate basic neurodegeneration research into potential new treatments.

The Alzheimer’s Research UK Cambridge Drug Discovery Institute seeks to generate new validated targets for neurodegenerative disorders and to identify chemical probes and lead compounds for drug development. Our overall objective is to fast-track promising academic science into benefits for people with dementia as quickly as possible. We are focusing on neurodegenerative diseases that cause dementia. These may include Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s dementia and Huntington’s disease. We may also research diseases that share some of the fundamental biological changes involved in particular dementias e.g. motor neurone disease.

Research Focus


drug discovery


alzheimer's disease

medicinal chemistry


Clinical conditions

Alzheimer's disease


Huntington's disease

Multiple sclerosis

Parkinson's disease

Prion diseases


Cell culture

Computational modelling

Confocal microscopy

Enzyme assays

Fluorescence microscopy


Medicinal chemistry

Protein purification

X-ray crystallography



Chris Abell

Tom Blundell

Marko Hyvonen

David Rubinsztein

Ashok Venkitaraman

Associated News Items



Ladbury JE, Hall A, Skidmore J (2014), “The toolbox is open, but who should pay for the job?” Nat Rev Drug Discov 13(7):479-80 Details

Skidmore J, Heer J, Johnson CN, Norton D, Redshaw S, Sweeting J, Hurst D, Cridland A, Vesey D, Wall I, Ahmed M, Rivers D, Myatt J, Giblin G, Philpott K, Kumar U, Stevens A, Bit RA, Haynes A, Taylor S, Watson R, Witherington J, Demont E, Heightman TD (2014), “Optimization of sphingosine-1-phosphate-1 receptor agonists: effects of acidic, basic, and zwitterionic chemotypes on pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles.” J Med Chem 57(24):10424-42 Details


Skidmore J, Atcha Z, Boucherat E, Castelletti L, Chen DW, Coppo FT, Cutler L, Dunsdon RM, Heath BM, Hutchings R, Hurst DN, Javed S, Martin S, Maskell ES, Norton D, Pemberton DJ, Redshaw S, Rutter R, Sehmi SS, Scoccitti T, Temple HE, Theobald P, Ward RW, Wilson DM (2012), “The discovery of 2-fluoro-N-(3-fluoro-4-(5-((4-morpholinobutyl)amino)-1,3,4-oxadiazol-2-yl)phenyl)benzamide, a full agonist of the alpha-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor showing efficacy in the novel object recognition model of cognition enhancement.” Bioorg Med Chem Lett 22(10):3531-4 Details

Skidmore J, Atcha Z, Boucherat E, Castelletti L, Chen DW, Coppo FT, Cutler L, Dunsdon RM, Heath BM, Hutchings R, Hurst DN, Javed S, Martin S, Maskell ES, Norton D, Pemberton DJ, Redshaw S, Rutter R, Sehmi SS, Scoccitti T, Temple HE, Theobald P, Ward RW, Wilson DM (2012), “Identification of a series of 1,3,4-oxadiazol-2-amines as potent alpha-7 agonists with efficacy in the novel object recognition model of cognition.” Bioorg Med Chem Lett 22(10):3560-3 Details


Kyle AF, Jakubec P, Cockfield DM, Cleator E, Skidmore J, Dixon DJ (2011), “Total synthesis of (-)-nakadomarin A.” Chem Commun (Camb) 47(36):10037-9 Details


Dobbs AP, Guesné SJ, Parker RJ, Skidmore J, Stephenson RA, Hursthouse MB (2010), “A detailed investigation of the aza-Prins reaction.” Org Biomol Chem 8(5):1064-80 Details

Nichols PL, Brand J, Briggs M, D'Angeli M, Farge J, Garland SL, Goldsmith P, Hutchings R, Kilford I, Li HY, MacPherson D, Nimmo F, Sanderson FD, Sehmi S, Shuker N, Skidmore J, Stott M, Sweeting J, Tajuddin H, Takle AK, Trani G, Wall ID, Ward R, Wilson DM, Witty D (2010), “Potent oxadiazole CGRP receptor antagonists for the potential treatment of migraine.” Bioorg Med Chem Lett 20(4):1368-72 Details


Swarbrick ME, Beswick PJ, Gleave RJ, Green RH, Bingham S, Bountra C, Carter MC, Chambers LJ, Chessell IP, Clayton NM, Collins SD, Corfield JA, Hartley CD, Kleanthous S, Lambeth PF, Lucas FS, Mathews N, Naylor A, Page LW, Payne JJ, Pegg NA, Price HS, Skidmore J, Stevens AJ, Stocker R, Stratton SC, Stuart AJ, Wiseman JO (2009), “Identification of [4-[4-(methylsulfonyl)phenyl]-6-(trifluoromethyl)-2-pyrimidinyl] amines and ethers as potent and selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors.” Bioorg Med Chem Lett 19(15):4504-8 Details


Beswick P, Charrier N, Clarke B, Demont E, Dingwall C, Dunsdon R, Faller A, Gleave R, Hawkins J, Hussain I, Johnson CN, MacPherson D, Maile G, Matico R, Milner P, Mosley J, Naylor A, O'Brien A, Redshaw S, Riddell D, Rowland P, Skidmore J, Soleil V, Smith KJ, Stanway S, Stemp G, Stuart A, Sweitzer S, Theobald P, Vesey D, Walter DS, Ward J, Wayne G (2008), “BACE-1 inhibitors part 3: identification of hydroxy ethylamines (HEAs) with nanomolar potency in cells.” Bioorg Med Chem Lett 18(3):1022-6 Details

Lightfoot AP, Kew JN, Skidmore J (2008), “Alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonists and positive allosteric modulators.” Prog Med Chem 46:131-71 Details