Lhasa, the educational charity which creates state-of-the-art in silico prediction and database systems for use in metabolism, toxicology and related sciences, has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation for the second year running – following a similar award for its Derek Nexus product in 2016.
This year – the award for Innovation recognises the organisation’s development of the statistical-based software, Sarah Nexus which was created in-house and launched in 2013 and is widely used by the pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetic industries.
With Sarah Nexus scientists are able to rapidly assess the potential mutagenicity of chemical compounds. This aids decisions about their compounds which shortens development cycles. It also reduces the need for animal testing thus bringing potentially life enhancing new chemical entities and drugs to market more quickly.
The organisation’s current Director of Science, Dr Chris Barber, who played a lead role in the development of Sarah Nexus and will take over as CEO after Dave Watson, who has been CEO since 2005, announced his retirement in January this year.
Dr Barber joined Lhasa in 2011, having previously spent 20 years as a medicinal chemist at Pfizer where he led teams that identified clinical candidates across a range of diseases. Dr Barber has continued to use his experience from Pfizer to develop Lhasa’s software ensuring that it provides scientifically rigorous, trusted and transparent information to support efficient decision-making in the pharmaceutical sector.
The Queen’s Award for Enterprise will be formally presented at Lhasa’s offices in Granary Wharf, Leeds later this year. This presentation will be by the Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and representatives of Lhasa have also been invited to a special reception at Buckingham Palace.