Drugs company sold to AstraZeneca

Tue, 29 Oct 2013 | BUSINESS SALE

A drugs company that specialises in anti-cancer medication has been sold to AstraZeneca.

Founded by a scientist from the University of Portsmouth and a former student, the business – Spirogen Ltd - was born out of research projects that are now approaching fruition.

The firm is developing drugs that target cancer without destroying healthy cells. It has some drugs in Phase II clinical trials, including a DNA binding drug that could be used in the treatment of ovarian cancer and leukaemia.

Spirogen was co-founded in 2000 by David Thurston, who now works as a Professor of Drug Discovery at King's College London. He previously founded the Institute of Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences (IBBS) with Professor Geoff Kneale.

Professor Kneale commented on the development: “I am delighted that Spirogen has been so successful in developing these novel compounds, first designed and synthesised by Professor Thurston and colleagues here at Portsmouth.  
“It is very rewarding when the fundamental research we started in IBBS many years ago is translated into the clinic. It gives me great confidence that much of the research we are currently engaged in will find equally successful clinical applications, with a real impact on people’s lives.”

The sale has gone through for £124 million.

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