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Astex Co-founder and CEO Harren Jhoti Awarded OBE in the King’s New Year Honours

Cambridge, UK, 31st December 2022, Astex Pharmaceuticals, UK, congratulates Harren Jhoti, PhD, FRS, FMedSci, its co-founder, President and CEO on being honoured in the 2023 King’s New Year Honours list.  Dr Jhoti has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to Cancer Research and Drug Discovery.

Dr. Jhoti co-founded Astex in 1999 to pioneer the development of fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD), a ground-breaking new approach now widely used in the pharmaceutical industry, and which the company has used to help discover two new marketed cancer medicines, Kisqali and Balversa. As a passionate advocate for the UK life sciences sector, Dr. Jhoti has been a prominent figure highlighting the strength of the life sciences ecosystem in Cambridge as well as more widely in the UK and overseas.

Prof. Sir Tom Blundell FRS, an Astex co-founder and Board member, commented, ‘‘This honour is very well deserved. It underlines Harren’s qualities as an innovator, entrepreneur and leader at Astex. Harren has been the main driver of Astex’s success in developing new medicines using structure-guided fragment-based methods for oncology and diseases of the central nervous system. He has proved to be a visionary, not only in the science, but also in managing the team at Astex in a non-hierarchical structure, encouraging innovation by individuals in a multidisciplinary approach to early discovery. He has also successfully developed collaborations with large pharma companies in Europe and USA and the Japanese company Otsuka to ensure success in clinical trials.”

Paying tribute to his colleagues and collaborators, Dr. Jhoti said, “It is a great privilege to receive this honour. This award recognises the contribution that I have made in some small way to the development of Astex, but I share it with all of my colleagues, past and present, and with our collaborators who have helped contribute to the success of our company. As scientists, we hope that our discoveries will make a difference to patients, and as entrepreneurs we strive to build sustainable companies to translate those discoveries into significant new medicines. At Astex we, as a team, are fortunate to have achieved both goals. The company has also greatly benefited from the growth and development of the UK life sciences sector in the last 20 years into a leading international powerhouse.”