Masterclass with Dr Michael Sofia

  • Thursday, 19/08/2021
  • 14:00 - 15:00

Online Event

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In search of a cure: A scientist-entrepreneur’s journey in biotech

Join Dr Michael Sofia as he shares his innovation journey.

During this one hour webinar, Michael Sofia will talk through his discovery of a cure for the viral disease hepatitis C, what he learnt along the way, how he dealt with risk and how he continued to strive to devise a drug to combat this infectious disease.

Dr Sofia created sofobuvir in 2007 and the drug was approved for use in 2013. More than 95 percent of patients with the most common form of hepatitis C can now be cured by the treatment. To add to his list of accolades, Dr Sofia was awarded the University of Edinburgh’s Cameron Prize for Therapeutics in 2020.*

Dr Sofia is currently Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Arbutus Biopharma, a US based biopharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercialising a cure for patients suffering from chronic hepatitis B infection.

He will be available for a short Q&A and discussion session at the end of the webinar, offering insight and advice to those on route to drug discovery and with commercialisation ambitions.

This event will be of particular interest to PhD students, early career researchers, postdoctoral fellows and PIs with early stage ideas in life sciences interested in translation of research, accelerating science towards impact and developing skills for career progression. 


Michael J. Sofia, Ph.D. is Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Arbutus Biopharma, Inc. where he established the programs in HBV-cure and coronavirus therapeutics. Previously Michael was Sr. Vice President of Chemistry at Pharmasset, Inc. where he was responsible for the discovery and early development of sofosbuvir, which became the backbone of many HCV curative therapies including Sovaldiâ, Harvoniâ, Epclusaâ and Voseviâ. Michael has also held research and research management positions at Gilead Sciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Transcell Technologies and Eli Lilly and Company.

Michael received his BA in chemistry from Cornell University, his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University. 

Michael has received numerous awards for his work on hepatitis C including the 2015 Economist Innovation Award, the 2015 ACS Heroes of Chemistry Award, 2016 IUPAC-Richter Prize, the 2016 Lasker-Debakey Award in Clinical Medical Research, the 2017 Gertrude Elion Award from the International Society for Antiviral Research, the 2018 IS3NA John Montgomery Award and the 2020 Cameron Prize for Therapeutics from the University of Edinburgh. In 2017 he was inducted into the American Chemical Society Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. 

*The Cameron Prize for Therapeutics is awarded every two years by the University of Edinburgh to a person who has made a highly important and valuable addition to the treatment of illnesses. The Prize was first awarded in 1879 and lists numerous Nobel and Lasker prize winners amongst its subsequent awardees. The list of winners includes a truly diverse array of innovations from the 20th century: from transplant surgery, bone marrow transplants, and haemodialysis, to ground-breaking vaccines, antimicrobials and novel medicines.

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