Peter Hambleton was born in Merthyr Tydfil and read Biochemistry at Leeds University, progressing to a PhD on microbial ribonucleic acid synthesis in 1968. He joined the (then) Microbiological Research Establishment at Porton Down – a world leader in infectious disease research - and spent his career there, eventually becoming Director of Production, Director for Strategic Vaccine Development and Deputy Director of the Establishment.
Peter has 35 experience in handling pathogenic microorganisms including C. botulinum and B. anthracis and over 20 years’ experience in fermentation and downstream processing technology. He has managed R&D, technology transfer and production of several vaccines, including botulinum toxoids, anthrax, pertussis (whooping cough), herpes simplex, pseudomonas and meningococcus, measles, mumps, and tick-borne encephalitis. He is particularly proud of his contribution to developing the UK’s therapeutic botulinum toxin (Dysport) that is now licensed clinically world wide and generates significant royalty income. He was responsible for the GMP manufacturing facilities utilised for the production of licensed therapeutic products and vaccines for human use.
During his career at Porton Down Peter developed particular expertise in botulinum toxins, defence-related vaccines, and the application of high containment and biosafety in pharmaceutical manufacture. He has written or co-written more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and has edited books on biosafety, biotechnology and the therapeutic potential of clostridial toxins.
He has contributed as an external advisor or honorary faculty member on the development and management of postgraduate courses in biochemical engineering at University College London, Westminster University and Birmingham University; he was also an Honorary Faculty Member of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, USA. In addition, Peter is an external examiner for masters’ degrees in biochemical engineering at UCL.
Since retiring from CAMR in September 2003 he has provided consultancy services to bio-defence and bio-pharma companies and to government agencies.
In 1985 Peter was invited to join the editorial team for JCTB. He joined the SCI Biotechnology Group in 1985 and I joined the committee to provide liaison between the Biotechnology Group and JCTB. He served as both Hon. Secretary and Chairman of the Group and for many years as a committee member. He organised a number of successful SCI one day scientific meetings on topics including Risk Assessment, Bio-molecular Design, GMO regulations, Bacteriophages and an evening discussion meeting on Bioterrorism.
Peter left the Biotechnology group committee to join the former Publications Committee as Vice Chairman, and now chairs the new Publications Advisory Committee. He is keeping retirement firmly at bay through serving on the Finance Advisory Committee and the Board of Trustees.
When not involved in SCI matters, Peter enjoys hill walking, running, orienteering (he's currently Chairman of Sarum Orienteers) and wallpapering. Gardening is an occasional interest, though by no means a passion.