Inhalation | Industry Spotlights & Insight Articles

Sir David Jack: a Titan of Inhaled Medicine

One of the pioneers of inhaled therapies, David Jack discovered countless drugs to treat asthma and similar conditions.

Hailing from modest working class roots, the son of a coal miner in Fife, Scotland, David Jack worked his way up from an apprenticeship at Boots the Chemists to one of the most important pulmonary disease chemists of the 20th century.

Sir Jack began his industrial pharmacy career at Glaxo Laboratories in 1951, working on the formulation of new products, he moved to Smith Kline & French in 1953 before becoming the Director of Research and Development at Allen and Hanburys, a Glaxo company.


Since then Sir Jack has been attributed to saving millions of lives with his breakthroughs. At Glaxo, he discovered a plethora of ‘firsts’ within the field of inhaled steroids, including the first inhaled corticosteroid, the first ?2-selective agonist, and the first long-acting ?2-agonist.

David Jack’s most well-known and highly acclaimed work has been in inhaled medicine for asthma, creating the go-to treatments for the condition. Seretide is the best-selling asthma medication of all time which utilises a combination of two therapeutics both discovered by Jack.

Sir Jack retired from Glaxo in 1987, but still worked as a consultant and remained fascinated by pharmacology. Six years into his retirement, he was knighted for services to the pharmaceutical industry in 1993.

David Jack passed away in 2011 leaving a legacy of dedication to patients, inhaled medicine, and drug discovery. His hard work and curiosity made a huge impact on his career and the field pharmacology with many researchers looking up to him to this day.

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