In the late 1950s, pharmaceutical companies were actively researching a newly discovered class of anti-estrogen compounds in the hope of developing a morning-after contraceptive pill. Arthur L Walpole was a reproductive endocrinologist who led such a team at the Alderley Park research laboratories of ICI Pharmaceuticals.  It was there in 1966 that Dora Richardson first synthesised tamoxifen, known then as ICI-46,474.  Walpole and his colleagues filed a UK patent covering this compound in 1962, but patent protection on this compound was repeatedly denied in the US until the 1980s.  Tamoxifen did eventually receive marketing approval as a fertility treatment, but the class of compounds never proved useful in human contraception. A link between estrogen and breast cancer had been known for many years, but cancer treatments were not a corporate priority at the time, and Walpole's personal interests were important in keeping support for the compound alive in the face of this and the lack of patent protection. 
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