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Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry

James Harrison standing up in audience as his name is announced

James Harrison is announced as UK Changemaker 2023

Congratulations to department alumnus and supporter James Harrison, who has been named UK Changemaker in the 2023 EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

James (Robinson 1992) received the award for his work as CEO and founder of Cycle Pharmaceuticals, which he founded from a blank sheet of paper in 2012. Ever since, Cycle’s mission has been to focus on improving the quality-of-life of rare disease patients and their carers by reducing the treatment burden.  

Rare drug treatments

James co-invented Cycle’s first drug product with another department alumnus, Steve Fuller (Robinson 2005). NITYR treats children and adult patients in many countries around the world who have hereditary tyrosinemia type 1 (HT-1), a rare metabolic disease.  

Most NITYR-treated HT-1 patients are in the US, but Cycle also provides free NITYR to children with HT-1 in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and the Sudan. Cycle is currently expanding its free drug support programme with the aim of providing free NITYR to more HT-1 patients than those who receive commercially-paid NITYR.  

Cycle also sells drug products in the US that treat phenylketonuria and hereditary angioedema (HAE). Cycle’s HAE drug, SAJAZIR, was developed in partnership with Cipla. This partnership began with a conversation between James and Yusuf Hamied at a department alumni event!  

Continuing its mission

Cycle recently launched a multiple sclerosis drug earlier in 2023, and will sell more than $100 million of drug products this year, making it one of the largest and fastest-growing pharmaceutical companies based in Cambridge. Its mission to improve the quality of life of rare-disease patients and their carers continues, and Cycle aims to launch multiple new drug products in 2024.

EY Entrepreneur of the Year

Entrants to the EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme must be nominated and have founded and manage profitable businesses. Over 160 entered, but only three entrepreneurs were recognised with awards.

The overall winner was Sachin Dev Duggal, who co-founded, an AI software company that aims to make mobile and web app development accessible to everyone. has raised $450 million of financing, including from Microsoft, and has more than 1,000 employees. In true entrepreneurial spirit, James and Sachin have already started a project to look into applying AI to help rare metabolic disease patients manage and correlate their diet with their blood test results. The TV presenter Trinny Woodall was named as a Rising Star for overcoming business adversity to build and scale the global cosmetics firm, Trinny London.

And the winners are (from left): Trinny Woodall, Sachin Dev Duggal, James Harrison