Fast Track 100

Oxford Asymmetry, which has grown from £746,000 in 1994 to over £10m in 1997, started out as an Oxford University bio-tech spin-off. Additional funding for the Oxfordshire-based company has come from a business angel and venture capital company 3i. Oxford Asymmetry identifies and develops drugs as an outsourcing arm for major pharmaceutical companies, particularly US companies looking to cut costs. Unlike many British entrepreneurs, two of Oxford Asymmetry’s three founders have post-graduate degrees, and nearly half of the company’s 150 employees have PhDs. The key factor to its success, says chief executive Ed Moses, is its one-stop-shopping approach to drug development and its rapid time-to-market of valuable patents. A major turning point came in 1995 when Oxford Asymmetry linked up with its first customer, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. The American pharmaceutical company – best known for bringing Viagra to market – has provided joint-venture funding. Last April the company floated on the Stock Exchange, capitalised at ?, making the original business angel investment of £? worth £?.

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Company details
CompanyOxford Asymmetry International
ActivityChemicals researcher
Annual sales rise over 3 years138.64%
Latest sales £000s10,143

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* supplied by company † annualised figure