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Tribute to Dr Roger Altounyan

This article in Clinical and Experimental Allergy in 2000 is a tribute to the life and work of Dr RogerAltounyan.

More thoughts of Fisons

As mentioned in my earlier posts, our Organic Chemistry research labs relocated from Holmes Chapel in Cheshire to the new-build research complex at Bakewell Rd in Loughborough, Leics in August 1968.

Initially most lab work was ceased while we installed new equipment, unpacked glassware and equipment transported by Pickford Removals, and started equipping the larger new labs. In addition to several traditional organic research labs, there was also a pilot-scale lab and a high-pressure lab. The pilot lab had a very low bench suitable for carrying out large-scale preps and at break times the morning and afternoon, while it was still unoccupied, we all used to sit on this very long bench drinking our coffee or tea. I can well remember Dr John King, our then section leader, remarking on seeing about 20 people sitting on the bench “This reminds me of the ‘Folies Bergere’, very amusing at the time thinking of the famous Can- Can dancers. Happy times and memories.

Bengers (later Fisons Pharma) at Holmes Chapel in 1948

Bengers Ltd Pharmaceutical Works (including Benger House), Holmes Chapel in 1948. Later to become Fisons Pharmaceuticals. The A50 can be seen running diagonally past the front of Bengers house. Note the original narrow brick railway arch later replaced by today’s current wide steel span. The rest of the London Road site had still to be developed at this time.

I worked there in the late 1960s in the Organic Chemistry Research Lane before transferring to Loughborough, involved on analogues of Cromglycate, the blockbuster drug discovered by Dr Roger Altounyan and Fisons Chemists at Holmes Chapel.

My Memories Of Fisons and Apollo 11 in 1969

Apollo 11 Mission and my memories

Incredible and so nostalgic videos. For us oldies, can you remember where you were during the first Moon Landing on July 20th 1969, I certainly can.

I remember where I was as I had been relocated from Fisons Pharmaceuticals (Bengers site) at Holmes Chapel to a new suite of research labs at Loughborough in late 1968 and was then in ‘digs’ with a colleague in our landlord’s own home. I used to drive home every Friday back to Crewe and come back on a Sunday evening. The moon landing was on a Sunday and I remember that there was a few hours delay before Neil Armstrong finally descended the ladder and put his feet on the lunar surface, uttering his famous phrase. We saw this live on BBC TV although the images weren’t very clear at the time. So ‘I know because I was there’.

Award of the ‘Prix Galien’ medal to Roger for INTAL

A page copied with kind permission from AstraZeneca re ‘Fisons Profile 9 – April 1972’, showing award of the ‘Prix Galien’ medal to Dr Roger Altounyan for development of INTAL, the drug of the year. #pharmaIMG_0343

My Photo ID at the new Fisons Pharmaceuticals R&D laboratories at Bakewell Rd, Loughborough in 1969

Fisons Pharmaceuticals new R&D Building (Phase 1) in Loughborough in the late 1960s

Following on from my previous post and photo (earlier) of the old Holmes Chapel (Cheshire) site where Sodium Cromoglycate (FPL 670) was first synthesised, along with others members of the Organic Chemistry R & D section, in late 1968 I relocated to a brand-new building and laboratories (then just Phase 1) in Loughborough (see Photo) and the Organic Chemistry section was renamed ‘Medicinal Chemistry’. The other research sections from Holmes Chapel also moved there simultaneously. Further work on Sodium Cromoglycate continued in Loughborough, including the full toxicological data necessary for full clinical trials to lead up to acquiring the product licence for Sodium Cromoglycate (‘Intal’). Later, other related drug products were developed in Loughborough and the site was expanded. However, in 1996 poor market performance by the Fisons Group led to it being dissolved with the Holmes Chapel manufacturing facility being acquired by Aventis and latterly Sanofi-Aventis and the Loughborough R & D facility acquired by Astra then Astra-Zeneca. Sadly, Astra-Zeneca later decided to close the Loughborough (Charnwood) facility in 2011 with the loss of 1200 jobs, but Sanofi-Adventist continues manufacturing at Holmes Chapel in new adjacent premises.

Very sadly the old Holmes Chapel original building was run down and demolished after 2015. I have attached a separate report obtained from the internet about its demise.

However, on a more-positive note, the blockbuster Sodium Cromoglycate continued in popularity and is still used nowadays but mainly in nasal and eye-drop formulations.




Fisons Pharmaceuticals Phase 1 R & D labs in 1968 prior to site expansion.

In April 1972 Dr Roger Altounyan received the prestigious


Update on Roger Altounyan

There is a very good account of Roger Altounyan written by Emeritus Prof Jack Howell. The link is
Roger Altounyan

Update from Wikipedia

The latest update link is . The structure is: