Sir David Jack

Elected in 2015

Born on 22 February 1924 in Markinch, UK
Died on 8 November 2011 in Hertfordshire, UK


  • Jack’s career started as an apprentice at Boots the Chemists, before he took a joint honours degree in Pharmacy and Pharmacology at Glasgow University and the Royal Technical College (now Strathclyde University) and a PhD from the University of London
  • In 1961, Jack joined Allen and Hanburys (which had been recently acquired by Glaxo Holdings) as Head of Research and remained at Glaxo until his official retirement, serving as Research and Development Director from 1978 until 1987
  • He soon turned its small laboratory at Ware into an “extraordinarily productive” and pioneering research team responsible for the discovery and development of effective new medicines.
  • His major inventions are recognised as having improved and saved millions of lives across the world. These included salbutamol, salmeterol and beclomethasone dipropionate (known as Ventolin, Serevent and Becotide, and are still widely prescribed to treat asthma over 50 years later); ranitidine hydrochloride, to treat stomach ulcers (known as Zantac, which launched in 1981 and became the first drug with annual sales of more than $1 billion); fluticasone propionate (known as Flixotide, Flixonase and Seretide, used in inhalant form to treat asthma and hay fever, and as a cream for eczema and psoriasis); and sumatriptan (first of its kind treatment for migraine when it launched in 1991 as Imigran)
  • He won several Queen's Awards for Industry and numerous scientific prizes, including the Royal Society's Mullard Medal, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1992

 Personal life

  • Jack was the sixth and youngest child of a mining family in Fife, not far from Sir James Black, who was born in the same year
  • He was  appointed CBE in 1982 and knighted in 1993
  • He chaired the Research Defence Society from 1988 and was responsible for reviving the organisation, which is now known as Understanding Animal Research
  • He was married with two daughters, and had a broad range of interests ranging from golf and football to gardening and music

Published: 19 Nov 2015 in Pharmacology Hall of Fame