A Tribute to Dr Bob Milsted Featured Image

A Tribute to Dr Bob Milsted

01 May 24

All at tranScrip were saddened to hear of the death of Bob Milsted and would like to pay tribute to the life of a much loved and respected alumnus.

Bob joined tranScrip in 2014 and remained a Senior Partner until retiring in 2019. Bob was a pharmaceutical physician and originally a clinical specialist in Oncology. He trained as a physician in the UK and Australia and became a specialist in Medical Oncology and General Medicine before joining ICI (now AstraZeneca) for whom he worked for 23 years in both the Clinical and Regulatory functions. During the early years when leading the Oncology Clinical team, he was responsible for bringing several products to market including Zoladex and Casodex for prostate cancer, Arimidex, Faslodex and Iressa for breast cancer and Tomudex in colorectal cancer. He also led the Phase III programme for the antipsychotic, Seroquel. Bob was subsequently VP for Global Regulatory Affairs for Oncology and Infection working both in the UK and USA and led the collaboration with Abgenix. He led health authority meetings all over the globe. He made numerous trips to Japan, which resulted in several successful company Japanese registrations but also led to industry-leading bridging strategies for other companies to follow.

He was a member of the joint American Association for Cancer Research/National Cancer Institute/Food and Drug Administration (AACR/NCI/FDA) working party on clinical endpoints in breast cancer prevention studies. He was an active member of the International Conferences of Harmonisation. Bob presented at numerous external meetings including the American Association of Clinical Oncology and the Drug Information Association and over the last few years of his career was an active member of the Biotherapy Development Association. He chaired the Oncology sub-group of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry and served as the industry representative on the Board of the National Cancer Research Institute in the UK for several years from its inception. The common thread throughout was his approach to drug development leading the way to designing efficient global development programmes, using statistics to underpin rational decision-making from existing data and modelling, and doing drug development “backwards.” Something we all now take for granted as we move into our data driven world.

In 2006 Bob joined Celtic Pharma, where he contributed to the strategic development plans for a number of products and led key meetings with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) and Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA). For the second Celtic fund, he was heavily involved in triage activities, evaluating potential investments, advising project teams, and sitting as a board member for various small innovative companies.

In 2014 Bob became a Partner in tranScrip supporting early and late-stage oncology programmes and using his extraordinary depth of expertise to bring through both novel early oncology compounds, advising on a host of other development projects in other therapeutic areas and assisting on finalising several successful MAA and NDA submissions. Always being able to spot potential pitfalls and benefits of different strategies, he was always supportive, fun and much liked by all. He strongly contributed to the growth of the tranScrip organisation, only deciding to stand back when the Partnership reached a sufficient size to be private equity funded.

Family was important to Bob; his wife Jill, son Mark and daughter Hannah. He and Jill were also very heavily involved in bringing up their granddaughter, Evie. Several of Bob’s tranScrip colleagues worked with him over the years both at ICI/Zeneca/AstraZeneca, Celtic Pharma and tranScrip. Bob’s no-nonsense approach and direct communications, often with acerbic wit, were a refreshing change to more traditional management styles and his tranScrip colleagues benefited greatly from his invaluable advice and knowledge. In particular, Bob was exemplary in his ability to explain the complex to the scientifically untrained; his explanation of Bayesian theory was a masterclass in simplification.

Bob became ill in January 2024, was diagnosed with acute leukaemia in February and died 8th March 2024, aged 76. He is much missed and will always be fondly remembered.

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