David Woolfson


1986 …2016

Research activity per year

Personal profile


Professor David Woolfson holds the Chair in Pharmaceutics (Drug Delivery). He is a graduate in Pharmacy from Queen's and is a registered pharmacist. Prof. Woolfson founded the McClay Research Centre for Pharmaceutical Sciences, from initial concept through to raising of the necessary funding. Starting as a lecturer in pharmaceutical analysis, he was appointed Reader in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1991 and to the Chair in Pharmaceutics in 1995. He is Head of the School of Pharmacy at Queen's.

Prof. Woolfson became a member of the British Pharmacopoeia Commission (BPC) in 1997 and was appointed as Chair of the BPC in 2006. The Commission is responsible under the UK Medicines Act for the annual publication of the British Pharmacopoeia., which sets legally enforceable quality standards for medicinal chemicals, drugs and formulated products. He has extensive experience of work in the European Pharmacopoeia Commission (EPC) as leader of the UK delegation and formerly UK Expert on Formulated Medicinal Products. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of CRC Books Inc. and formerly of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Partnership for Microbicides. He has published 3 books, approximately 300 scientific publications, holds several patents on drug delivery systems and biomaterials and has given numerous invited conference presentations.

Research Statement

Prof. Woolfson's research interests are in polymeric drug delivery systems for transdermal and intravaginal applications, bioadhesion and biomaterials. The emphasis is on facilitated controlled drug delivery through challenging polymeric systems, where physicochemical aspects (drug molecular size, solubility or stability, polymer system tortuosity and relative hydrophobicity) present difficulties to efficient drug release. The current focus is on novel polymeric systems for transdermal delivery, vaginal delivery of HIV microbicides and the development of vaginally deliveryed HIV mucosal vaccines. Key achievements include the invention of the marketed percutaneous local anaesthetic product Ametop, and contributions to the development of several other pharmaceuticals, including the vaginal ring HRT product Femring. The research programmes are funded from a range of sources including UK Research Councils, major charities such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, the International Partnership for Microbicides and other charities for the prevention of HIV, and the Pharmaceutical Industry. Prof. Woolfson's career research grants to date total £17M.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure


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