Reporter 449, 20 March 2000

Leeds firm attracts £16m

Software business Synopsys, created in 1992 by a team of Leeds graduates after a former University spin-off company was innocently caught up in the collapse of Robert Maxwell’s media empire, has been acquired by a US multinational in a deal worth $25m (£16m).

The Headingley-based company develops software solutions and database support for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Its founders were originally involved with Orac, a campus-based enterprise bought by Maxwell four years before his death in 1991.

Employing 45 people, Synopsys has a management team hallmarked by the historic connection with the University. Its managing director, Glen Hopkinson holds a Leeds PhD in computational chemistry, as does consultancy and technical services director Paul Hoyle. Product development manager Julian Hayward, sales manager Keith Harrington and customer services manager Judith Madeley each followed a first degree at the University with a PhD in organic chemistry.

"The University provided a lot of moral support in the early days and we still benefit from some of the facilities on campus," said Dr Hopkinson.

When Orac was placed in administration, the five key people involved left to set up Synopsys Scientific Systems, a private limited company which has just been bought by Pharmacopeia Inc of Princeton, New Jersey.

Dr Hopkinson has been named a divisional vice-president of the American corporation, which is quoted on the North American hi-tech Nasdaq market.

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