On January 25, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) honoured Dr. Harren Jhoti, president & CEO of Astex, UK (an independent subsidiary of Otsuka Pharmaceutical) with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Award was presented by Dr. Jane Osbourn (BIA Chair) at a dinner attended by 700 professionals from the UK life sciences sector. Dr. Osbourne commented, "Harren's contribution to the UK biotech sector recognises his combination of scientific and leadership skills, as well as his passion and determination to succeed. [...] He makes an active contribution to initiatives in the UK biotech sector and provides a role-model for today's entrepreneurs."
On receiving the award Dr. Jhoti paid tribute to the three scientist-entrepreneurs with whom he co-founded Astex in 1999, and to his team, saying, "As scientists we always hope that our discoveries will make a difference and as entrepreneurs we strive to build sustainable companies to translate those discoveries into significant new medicines for patients. At Astex we have been lucky enough to achieve both of these goals due largely to our highly talented team." Dr. Jhoti also commented how Astex is now thriving as an independent subsidiary of the Otsuka group of companies.
At Astex, Dr. Jhoti and his current and former colleagues have made pathbreaking progress in fragment-based drug discovery, which identifies and assembles small chemical fragments to produce drug leads with strong binding affinity to biological targets. To date, one such lead has been pursued by a drug maker all the way through to regulatory approval in the US and EU for use in patients with a type of advanced breast cancer.
The BIA is the trade association for innovative enterprises involved in UK bioscience and the Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest accolade given by the BIA.