Ex-student sells drugs firm for millions

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A DRUGS company specialising in anti-cancer medication which was co-founded by a University of Portsmouth scientist and former student has been sold for £124m.

Spirogen Ltd is developing ground-breaking drugs which target cancer without destroying healthy cells. It has been sold to major UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

David Thurston, now Professor of Drug Discovery at King’s College London, headed a research group at the University of Portsmouth between 1987 and 1999.

He co-founded Spirogen Ltd in 2000.

Professor Thurston, together with Professor Geoff Kneale, Professor of Biomolecular Science, co-founded the Institute of Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences (IBBS) 15 years ago as one of the University’s flagship research institutes.

Professor Kneale said: ‘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.’