Astex Appoints Director of Medicinal Chemistry

CAMBRIDGE, U.K., Jan. 22, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- Astex Technology, the structure-based drug discovery company, today announced the appointment of Dr. David Rees to the position of Director of Medicinal Chemistry. Dr. Rees will oversee the increasing number of medicinal chemistry projects and collaborations, and help further expand Astex's chemistry team.

Dr. Rees has 19 years experience as a medicinal chemist in the pharmaceutical industry, working with Parke-Davis, Organon and, most recently, AstraZeneca. At AstraZeneca, he held the position of Director and Head of the Medicinal Chemistry Department of some 140 staff, at the research and development laboratories, Molndal, Sweden. He has been associated with the creation of several candidate drugs, which have been progressed to clinical trials, for analgesia, anesthesia, psychiatric, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal indications. Dr. Rees has over 60 publications and patents including the applications of peptidomimetic chemistry, combinatorial chemistry and supramolecular chemistry to drug discovery. He has served on the editorial board of international chemistry journals and as a visiting professor at Glasgow University in Scotland. Dr. Rees began his research career as an organic chemist at Cambridge University, U.K., where he obtained his PhD, before moving to Prof. E. J. Corey's laboratory at Harvard University.

"We are delighted to have recruited David at this important stage in the company's development," commented Dr Robin Carr, Vice President of Drug Discovery. "David's appointment to the senior management team brings significant additional scientific and managerial expertise to Astex, and reflects the ongoing expansion of our medicinal chemistry department."

Astex Technology is a structure-based drug discovery company pioneering the use of high throughput X-ray crystallography for the rapid identification of novel drug candidates. The company's unique structural screening approach utilizes protein crystal structures to detect the binding of drug fragments, which are then optimized into potent lead compounds. Facilitating this approach is the company's integrated drug discovery platform of HTX(R) technologies, which covers all aspects of structure-based research, including protein production, crystallization, structure determination, bioinformatics and computational and medicinal chemistry. Astex Technology is focusing its drug discovery approaches on proprietary and public domain protein targets from families and/or pathways. This includes validated kinesis, phosphates and proteases implicated in human disease. Astex has a drug discovery collaboration with Mitsubishi Pharma, has further research agreements with another large pharmaceutical company, and has structural biology research agreements with AstraZeneca AB, Aventis Pharmaceuticals and Mitsubishi Pharma focused on solving novel cytochrome P450 crystal structures.


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