Keith Davies has made Chemical Design a world leader in molecular modeling

LONDON—By now we’ve all seen the numbers and heard the gloomy forecasts. Science in the United Kingdom is suffering from a dearth of funding, incentives, and political clout. The lack of commitment to R&D on the part of both the private and public sectors in Britain has sparked an alarming emigration of scientists and high-tech entrepreneurs.

But for every rule there is an exception, and Keith Davies is the man to prove that even in luck, England, the age-old recipe for entrepreneurial success remains a constant. With a good idea, a little funding, a lot of commitment, and an indeterminate amount of luck, the “little guy”—yes, even a chemist—can build a company and make a mark in the world.

Davies, just 29 years old,is CEO and founder of Chemical Design Ltd., the small company that in five short...

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