From the left, host BBC political editor Nina Warhurst, John Lettice and Dave Watson of Lhasa, Alistair Scott-Somers of Progeny Corporate Law, and Alex Turner, Editor of TheBusinessDesk.com.

From the left, host BBC political editor Nina Warhurst, John Lettice and Dave Watson of Lhasa, Alistair Scott-Somers of Progeny Corporate Law, and Alex Turner, Editor of TheBusinessDesk.com.

Lhasa Limited, an educational charity that creates state-of-the-art in silico prediction and database systems for use in metabolism, toxicology and related sciences has been recognised for its innovative software.

Leeds-based Lhasa was named Business Master of Innovation at the Yorkshire Business Masters Awards, in acknowledgement of its work with 350 of its members, which include the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, such as AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer.

The Business Masters Awards aim to find and recognise the crème de la crème of Yorkshire’s businesses.  The award comes hot on the heels of Lhasa’s 2016 Queen’s Award for Innovation.

Founded in 1983 as a not-for-profit organisation and educational charity, to deliver public benefit through the collaborative development and use of computer aided reasoning in scientific software, Lhasa was initially based within the chemistry department at the University of Leeds and employed only a handful of scientists.

Today it is a fast-growing global organisation employing more than 130 people, with operations in Leeds, Poland and the USA.  The growing global demand for its software recently led to the opening of a new hub in Newcastle, which has generated a further eight jobs.

Judges were impressed by Lhasa’s Derek Nexus software, which is considered to be the market leader for predicting toxicity, having been adopted by many pharmaceutical and chemical companies, regulators and academic institutions worldwide.

Using structure-activity relationships created by Lhasa’s scientific experts, Derek Nexus provides an early indication of the potential toxicity of query compounds and by generating these scientifically robust and well-reasoned predictions, it can be used to fill gaps within in-house data. Lhasa was awarded a Queen’s Award for Innovation for Derek Nexus in 2016.

David Watson, CEO of Lhasa Limited, said: “We pride ourselves on being a hub of innovation and we believe our commitment to developing new computer-based approaches will help the UK remain at the forefront of drug development, so we were delighted to be recognised.”

“We facilitate data sharing projects across pharmaceutical, cosmetic and chemistry-related industries and our software equips the medical research community with the information they need to move their drug development work forward and prioritise which compounds they want to invest more time and money in — which means they can get their drugs to the public earlier, more safely and potentially at a lower cost.”