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National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) (British Technology Group (BTG), 1952-1995, n.d.


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In 1949 the NRDC became involved in the research on Cephalosporin, helping to coordinate the results of the work done at Oxford and Clevedon. Following the isolation of Cephalosporin C in 1953, the NRDC persuaded Glaxo Research Laboratories to join the collaboration. After the elucidation of the chemical structure of Cephalosporin C in 1959 the NRDC took steps to exploit the commercial value of the antibiotic by devising a worldwide patenting and licensing strategy. With the subsequent granting of extensions to some of the patents, sales of cephalosporin antibiotics earned the corporation a total of £152 million in royalties which was shared with inventors.

In order to find methods of producing the Cephalosporin C nucleus (7-ACA) in quantity, the NRDC granted options on licences to the pharmaceutical companies Glaxo, Eli Lilly, Squibb, Smith Kline and French, Merck and Pfizer (USA), Ciba and Farmitalia (Europe) and, later, Fujisawa (Japan). With funding from the Corporation new methods were discovered for the large-scale production of 7-ACA and for the conversion of the penicillin to the cephalosporin ring system, enabling a number of different cephalosporins to be produced.

In 1958 Abraham accepted a consultancy position with the NRDC.

The NRDC later combined with the National Enterprise Board to form the British Technology Group.


  • Creation: 1952-1995, n.d.

Language of Materials

  • English

Full range of shelfmarks:

MS. Abraham 64/C.358 - MS. Abraham 81/C.605

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom