Laurence Hurley, PhD

Howard Schaeffer Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences
Professor, Medicinal Chemistry-Pharmacology and Toxicology
Professor, Medicinal Chemistry-Pharmaceutical Sciences
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Associate Director, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Cancer Biology - GIDP
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-5622
Professional Bio: 

Dr. Hurley is the Howard Schaeffer Chair in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Arizona. After obtaining his PhD at Purdue University, he was a postdoc in the Chemistry Department at the University of British Columbia. He has held appointments at the Universities of Maryland, Kentucky, and Texas (Austin), and since 2000 he has been at the University of Arizona, where he has served as Associate Director of the BIO5 Collaborative Research Institute and Co-Director of the Molecular Therapeutics Program at the Arizona Cancer Center.

Dr. Hurley's long-time research interest is in molecular targeting of DNA, first by covalent binders (CC-1065 and psorospermin), then as compounds that target protein–DNA complexes (pluramycins and Et 743), and most recently as four-stranded DNA structures (G-quadruplexes and i-motifs). He was the first to show that targeting G-quadruplexes could inhibit telomerase (Sun et al. [1997] J. Med. Chem., 40, 2113) and that targeting G-quadruplexes in promoter complexes results in inhibition of transcription (Siddiqui-Jain et al. [2002] Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 99, 11593).

Dr. Hurley was the discoverer and developer, with Cylene Pharmaceuticals, of Quarfloxin, the first-in-class G-quadruplex-interactive molecule that reached phase 2 clinical trials. Very recently his lab has turned its attention to the i-motif and, in cooperation with Professor Sidney hecht and his lab, has been the first to show that targeting i-motifs can lead to inhibition of Bcl-2 transcription.

Dr. Hurley is the scientific founder and CEO of TetraGene, a biotech company that focuses on targeting secondary DNA structures to modulate expression of undruggable targets, including MYC, BCL2, kRAS, and hTERT. He has a demonstrated record of successful and productive research projects in the area of molecular targeting of DNA. As a member of the developmental therapeutics program, he is actively involved in translational research.

Research Information

Research Program: 
Therapeutic Development
Selected Publications: 

Professional Information

Positions and Honors: 
  • I2 Award for Innovation and Impact, Tech Launch Arizona - University of Arizona, Spring 2016
  • Sosnovsky Distinguished Lectureship - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Spring 2016
  • Sydney E. Salmon, MD, Distinguished Investigator Award - UA Cancer Center, Spring 2015
  • DSc - Purdue University, Spring 2013

Academic Information

Post Doctoral: 
Chemistry Department, University of British Columbia
Medicinal Chemistry, Purdue University
Undergraduate School: 
BPharm, Pharmacy, Bath University, Bath, United Kingdom