Who's got the cash?

November 5, 2004

Stephen Holgate, professor of immunopharmacology, is one of three Southampton University academics celebrating the successful flotation of their company, which last week raised £10.5 million through the sale of shares.

Synairgen, a drug discovery company that focuses on asthma and chronic bronchitis-related products, is now worth £28.2 million on the Alternative Investment Market.

Professor Holgate said: "Our patents came through quickly, and three major pharmaceutical and biotech companies felt they wanted to invest to help them to discover novel targets. The whole principle of the company is to be able to commercialise discoveries from the university research machine."

The new money will allow the academics to invest more in basic research to underpin the company's future.

Professor Holgate advises aspiring young academic entrepreneurs who believe they have good a idea to hold early discussions with an appropriate centre for enterprise and innovation to see whether there is a basis for starting a company.

"Confidence in the ideas and the science supporting them, and recognition that there is a unique contribution to be made by exploiting them at this time, are both essential ingredients," he said.

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