skip to content

Collaboration and Impact


The late Professor Chris Abell, co-founder of Astex.


Professor Chris Abell, collaborating with Professor Tom Blundell in the Department of Biochemistry and Dr Harren Jhoti, developed an X-ray structure-guided, fragment-based approach to drug discovery. They founded Astex Technology in 1999 to develop this new approach. It gained widespread acceptance and is now used by many of the major pharmaceutical companies to facilitate the discovery of novel small molecules which can be used therapeutically.  Over 40 molecules that were discovered using this platform are either in clinical trials or have reached the market.

Astex underwent a merger acquisition by SuperGen Inc in 2011 to form Astex Pharmaceuticals, that was then acquired in 2013 by Otsuka Group for £600M.

Today Astex Pharmaceuticals continues to be a world-leader in fragment-based drug discovery and has a strong proprietary clinical pipeline, targeting cancer and diseases of the central nervous system.

Back to 'Success Stories'