Proton Quest, a European biotechnology (biotech) group, was founded in 1989 and obtained a
listing on a European Stock Exchange in 1994. It was founded by the current Chief Executive
Officer (CEO), Dr Martin Hislop, and his former biochemistry tutor, Professor Sergio Martinez.
Proton Quest is unique in that it does not seek independently to discover or develop drugs; rather
it manages networks of university and commercial partners to develop the discovery of new
compounds. In short, Proton Quest is a typical biotech company in its embryonic stage,
experiencing identical challenges to those facing the industry as a whole.
Proton Quest has three quite striking features. First is its close links with academia. Second, the
group has two main divisions (see Appendix A): Molecular Allies and Techno Insights. The purpose
of the Molecular Allies division is to identify innovative discovery projects; it brings together and
manages virtual teams of scientists from universities and pharmaceutical companies to co-develop
individual projects. As for Techno Insights, it holds a leading position in software development for
drug discovery. Third, Proton Quest is unusual in the European biotechnology sector in having
achieved a net profit in 1998.