This Cambridge company develops drugs using fragments of molecules because they are more likely to lead to successful medicines. Astex signed a deal this year with AstraZeneca to develop drugs for Alzheimer’s disease. The move could earn the company up to £25m. Astex was founded by two Cambridge academics, Sir Tom Blundell and Chris Abell, and by Harren Jhoti who was formerly at Glaxo Wellcome, the drug giant. The company has raised £28m from a consortium of venture-capital firms. Though Astex still has significant losses, its sales have grown 173% a year from £190,000 in 2000 to £1.4m in 2002.
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