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Jul 25, 2020

‘Major’ breakthrough in Covid-19 drug makes UK professors millionaires

Posted by in categories: finance, innovation

Three professors at the University of Southampton school of medicine have this week made a “major breakthrough” in the treatment of coronavirus patients and become paper millionaires at the same time.

Almost two decades ago professors Ratko Djukanovic, Stephen Holgate and Donna Davies discovered that people with asthma and chronic lung disease lacked a protein called interferon beta, which helps fight off the common cold. They worked out that patients’ defences against viral infection could be boosted if the missing protein were replaced.

The academics created a company, Synairgen, to turn their discoveries into treatments. It floated on the stock market in 2004, but a deal with AstraZeneca to treat viral infections in asthmatics fell through, and the shares collapsed.

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