Healthcare Industry News:  aurora kinase 

Biopharmaceuticals Personnel

 News Release - May 10, 2006

Astex Announces New Chief Executive Officer

CAMBRIDGE, England, May 10 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Astex Therapeutics, one of Europe's premier biotechnology companies, today announced the appointment of Leon Bushara as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Mr. Bushara joins Astex from Serono S.A. where he is currently Senior Executive Vice President of Corporate and Business Development. He is a member of the Executive Management Board that has overseen the growth of Serono into a global biotechnology leader, and Europe's largest biotechnology company, with a market capitalisation of over $10 billion and worldwide revenues of approximately $2.6 billion in the year 2005. He joined Serono's Business Development team in 1993 and worked in positions of increasing responsibility until his appointment as Senior Executive Vice President in 2003. He holds a BA (Hons.) degree from Brown University, and is a US national.

"I am delighted to be joining Astex at such an exciting time in the Company's evolution," said Mr. Bushara. "I have been immensely impressed by the Astex team and the quality and productivity of the research engine they have built. The Company's products in development, including AT7519, AT9283 and AT9311, are novel, promising approaches to the treatment of cancer, and its significant partnerships with industry leaders like AstraZeneca and Novartis constitute a meaningful validation of the Astex approach."

Dr. Peter Fellner, Chairman of Astex said, "Leon Bushara has exceptional industry experience and possesses the business acumen necessary to lead and develop a company with Astex's ambitions. His involvement will be of immense value to Astex and we all look forward to working closely with him".


Astex Therapeutics Limited
Dr. Peter Fellner
Tel +44 (0) 118 989 9312

Brunswick Group LLP
Jon Coles / Wendel Verbeek /
Justine McIlroy / Alex Tweed
Tel. +44 (0) 207 404 5959

About Astex Therapeutics

Astex Therapeutics is a UK-based biotechnology company producing novel small molecule therapeutics. Using its pioneering fragment-based drug discovery approach, Astex has rapidly established a broad pipeline of next- generation, molecularly-targeted oncology drugs the first of which, AT7519, is currently in Phase I clinical trials in the US and in the UK. Astex has two further product candidates including AT9283, an aurora kinase inhibitor which received IND approval in April 2006 to commence clinical studies and AT9311, an oral cell cycle inhibitor which is in formal pre-clinical development with an IND/CTA planned for the second half of 2006.

Astex's leading position in fragment-based drug discovery derives from its integrated discovery engine, Pyramid(TM). High-throughput X-ray crystallography and other biophysical techniques are used to identify drug fragments bound to target proteins and to transform the fragments, using efficient medicinal chemistry, into potent, selective drug candidates. Pyramid(TM) has been successfully applied across a wide variety of therapeutic targets, including those regarded as 'intractable' by the pharmaceutical industry, resulting in lead compounds for the potential treatment of cancer, inflammation and Alzheimer's disease.

Astex's unprecedented productivity in lead discovery has been endorsed by drug discovery and development alliances with major pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca, Astellas Pharma, Boehringer Ingelheim, Mitsubishi Pharma, Novartis, Sanofi-Aventis and Schering AG. These alliances have a total potential value in excess of US$1billion including the US$520m alliance signed with Novartis in December 2005 which is focused on the development of AT9311 and AT7519.

Astex Therapeutics was established in 1999 and is well financed by leading, blue chip US and European investors (Abingworth, Advent International, Alta Partners, Apax, GIMV, HypoVereinsbank, Oxford Bioscience Partners, Schering AG and the University of Cambridge).

For further information on Astex Therapeutics please visit the Company's website at

Source: Astex Therapeutics

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