Providing years of academic and commercial research experience to get development drugs into humans earlier.

Colin GarnerProfessor Colin Garner, Principal of Garner Consulting has had a lifelong research and business career in academia and start-up companies primarily based in York, United Kingdom. During his PhD studies at University College Hospital Medical School, University of London, he demonstrated that induction of liver drug metabolism can in certain circumstances increase toxicity of liver toxins.

Following on from this during his post-doctoral studies working with the well-known husband and wife team of Professor James and Elizabeth Miller at the University of Wisconsin, USA, he was the first to publish that metabolic activation of a carcinogen (aflatoxin B1) by liver microsomes could yield a mutagenic metabolite to S.typhimurium. This in vitro incubation procedure eventually formed the basis of what became known as the ‘Ames’ test.

On his return to the UK, Professor Garner continued to study the hepatic metabolism of aflatoxin B1 and identified the mutagenic metabolite as the 8,9-oxide. These in vitro incubation procedures were used at the first University of York spin-out company, Professor Garner formed, Microtest Research. Microtest was the first company in the world offering contract genetox services; all the test systems offered were in vitro and included bacterial mutagenicity testing, unscheduled DNA synthesis measurement in Hela cells, chromosome aberration assays in CHO cells and human lymphocytes and mouse lymphoma cell mutagenicity. Microtest was eventually purchased by Covance Harrogate.

Other highlights of Professor Garner’s research career include the demonstration of a quantitative relationship between human lung DNA damage and the number of cigarettes smoked in lung cancer patients, that cigarette smoking caused DNA damage in many organs besides the lung including the colon, breast and bladder and the use of monoclonal antibodies to detect and measure DNA adducts.

His research utilising the highly sensitive analytical technique of Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) commenced in the early 90’s and involved the measurement of a variety of DNA adducts in humans in vivo exposed to a range of carcinogens including PhIP, MeIQx, benzo(a)pyrene and aflatoxin. These early studies utilising AMS stimulated him to form another University of York spin-out company, Xceleron, the world’s first commercial company to offer AMS bioanalysis services in biomedical research and in particular drug development.

Professor Garner has published over 250 scientific papers, 30 book chapters, edited 3 books, founded the journal ‘Carcinogenesis’ and received a number of awards including entrepreneur of the year. Together with two York surgeons, he set up a local cancer charity, York Against Cancer which in 2011 raised nearly £600,000 to spend on cancer research, education and patient support.

In his role as CEO of Xceleron, until his retirement at the end of 2008, he was instrumental in developing new approaches to determine human ADME / PK such as Human Phase 0 microdose studies, mass balance and metabolite profiling with trace amounts of radiolabelled drugs, intravenous PK to provide Absolute Bioavailability data and intracellular drug measurement.

Professor Garner has worked with over 200 pharma and biotech companies providing services and advice including all of the world’s top 20 pharma companies. His research and commercial activities have raised millions of pounds of funding from UK Research Councils, Venture Capitalists and the EU; at its’ peak Xceleron had an annual turnover of £5.5 million.