Stephen is a Fellow Chartered Accountant with 30 years of financial and corporate experience gained in public practice, the resource sector and investment banking. Stephen has a proven track record in working with growth companies with extensive experience in IPOs, secondary listings, corporate finance, fundraising, investor relations and financial and management reporting. Stephen is currently non-executive director of EnergyPathways Ltd.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Ajan is an experienced biotechnology CEO with a track record in drug development, biotech transactions and commercialisation. Over 20 years, he has served as the Global Head of Emerging Technologies for Roche Group (SWX: ROG), Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer of Novacyt S.A (LON: NCYT) and CEO of Celixir Ltd.
With Prof. Sir Martin Evans, Ajan founded Celixir, and developed a novel cardiac cellular medicine which completed pre-clinical development and won FDA, MHRA and EU regulatory trial approvals. Celixir completed a licensing for the Japan market only with Daiichi Sankyo, a Japanese Big Pharma company which included a £12.5 million upfront payment and an £5 million equity investment which valued Celixir at ~£220M.
Ajan is an alumni of Harvard Business School (AMP) and is recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship. He is also a graduate of the University of Oxford (MSc Experimental Therapeutics), Kellogg Business School (MBA) Northwestern University and University of London (BDS). He has represented England at the Hockey Masters World Cup and European Championships.
PROFESSOR SIR MARTIN EVANS
GROUP CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER
Sir Martin was the first scientist to identify embryonic stem cells, which can be adapted for a wide variety of medical purposes. His discoveries are now being applied in virtually all areas of biomedicine – from basic research to the development of new therapies. In 2007, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine, the most prestigious honour in world science, for these “ground-breaking discoveries concerning embryonic stem cells and DNA recombination in mammals.”
Sir Martin has published more than 120 scientific papers. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1993 and is a founder Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He was awarded the Walter Cottman Fellowship and the William Bate Hardy Prizes in 2003 and in 2001 was awarded the Albert Lasker Medal for Basic Medical Research in the US. In 2002 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, regarded as one of the world’s foremost centres for medical and scientific training. He has also received honorary doctorate awards from the University of Bath, University of Buckinghamshire, University College London, University of Wales and the University of Athens. Sir Martin gained his BA in Biochemistry from Christ College, University of Cambridge in 1963. He received an MA in 1966 and a DSc in 1966. In 1969 he was awarded a PhD from University College, London. He joined the Cardiff University School of Biosciences in 1999. He was knighted in 2004 for his services to medical science and in 2009 was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Medicine in recognition of his valuable contribution to medicine. In 2009 he also received the Baly Medal from the Royal College of Physicians and the Copley Medal, the Royal Society’s oldest award, joining an eminent list of previous recipients including Albert Einstein.
DR GRAHAM ROBERTSON
VICE PRESIDENT – DRUG DISCOVERY
Dr Robertson gained his PhD in molecular virology from Macquarie University, Australia before undertaking Post-Doctoral training in gene regulation and nuclear architecture at Oxford. He returned to Australia as a Post-Doc in the laboratory of Prof. Emma Whitelaw at University of Sydney where he set up a transgenic mouse facility and discovered repeat-induced silencing as an epigenetic process on mammalian transgenes. Dr Robertson then moved to Westmead Hospital Millennium Institute where he pursued studies on the fibrotic liver disease NASH and the impact of inducible xenobiotic/drug interactions on drug clearance pathways. A component of this work involved creating a transgenic mouse model for studying gene regulation of human CYP3A4, the main pathway for drug metabolism. The model was subsequently commercially leveraged as a screening tool for drug development. At the ANZAC and Garvan Institutes in Sydney (2004-2014), Dr Robertson explored the impact of cancer-associated inflammation in repressing drug clearance leading to excessive toxicity. Dr Robertson also explored the link between chronic inflammation and disrupted energy metabolism as the basis for cancer cachexia. A key discovery from this work was the activation of thermogenesis in white & brown fat, linked to body wasting. These findings were published in Cancer Research and Cell Metabolism where it was ranked amongst the 10th highest papers in the latter journal. He has published ~60 papers with >3,000 citations.
PROFESSOR TREVOR M. JONES
STRATEGIC & SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR
Professor Trevor Jones CBE FMedSci has had a distinguished career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry spanning over 45 years, having previously been main Board Director for Research & Development at The Wellcome Foundation (Wellcome plc), where he was responsible for the development of a number of significant products across several therapeutic areas attracting reimbursement, as well as OTC formulations. Prof. Jones also served as a Non-Executive Director of Allergan Inc from 2004 to 2015 during which time the company made a number of key acquisitions.
During Prof. Jones career, he has served on the Boards of a number of other private and publicly listed companies and industry bodies across the UK, USA and Europe. In particular, he was a former Director General of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry where he directed all the activities related to UK pharmaceutical industry government relations on behalf of national and international pharmaceutical companies. For 12 years he was a member of The UK Government Regulatory Agency, The Medicines Commission and Chair of the UK Government Advisory Group on Genetics Research. He was also a member of the Scientific Board of the EU Life Sciences Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). More recently, Prof. Jones joined the Board of Ascension as a Non-Executive Director, helping advise the company on product development and its commercial activities related to haemophilia and osteoarthritis. He also serves as an adviser to the UK Government on public health matters including COVID-19.
DR DARRIN DISLEY
Darrin is a renowned scientist, entrepreneur, angel investor and enterprise champion who has started, grown, or invested in over 40 start-up life science, technology and social enterprises, raising US$600 million in business financing and closing US$700 million in commercial deals. He was CEO of Horizon Discovery Group plc for 11 years, during which he led the company from start-up through a US$113 million IPO, and rapid scale-up powered by multiple acquisitions of US peer companies to become a global market leader in gene editing and gene modulation technologies. He was awarded a lifetime Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2016 for his work in promoting enterprise across the UK and appointed OBE in 2018 for his services to business and enterprise in the healthcare sector.
Jean is a highly accomplished individual in the biotech and pharma sector, with over 25 years experience in executive roles in the industry. During this time, Jean acted for Ferring Pharmaceuticals, as one of the Executive Board Members who built the company from a US$700 million to US$2 billion in revenue. During her time at Ferring, Jean led or co-led over 10 transactions and had legal oversight on over 25 transactions. Jean has a significant track record in corporate development having led multiple successful M&A, divestment and licensing deals throughout her career. During her time at Elan Corporation, Jean was responsible for the launch and commercialisation of Tysabri, a treatment for multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease, outside of the US in collaboration with Biogen Idec. She previously had the role of General Counsel at Elan and was legal lead, negotiating the divestment of over $2bn in assets.
Additionally, she has co-founded and led biopharma start-ups including Trizell and Amzell, resulting in multiple products having successful phase 2 and 3 clinical studies. Trizell in particular received several multi-billion dollar offers for its lead oncology gene therapy product, Adstiladrin, which is now in the registration phase.
Jean is currently CEO and Co-Founder of ReproNovo, a women’s health and reproductive medicine company focussing on R&D and manufacturing with potential products entering phase 2 and phase 1. Additionally, Jean is a Non Executive Board member of an AIM listed life sciences company, Ondine Biomedical Inc., a company focused on photodisinfection-based therapies to prevent and treat a broad spectrum of infections, including those caused by drug-resistant pathogens.
DR SIMON SINCLAIR
Simon is a commercial physician scientist leader with 20 years’ pharma, medtech and consumer healthcare industry experience in translational medicine, clinical development, medical affairs, evidence-based market access, medical safety, vigilance and real-world evidence in both executive and non-executive roles.
During his career, Simon has held senior roles at Johnson and Johnson and Merck & Co. At Johnson and Johnson, Simon held the role of VP Medical Affairs (CMO) EMEA where he created an integrated Medical Affairs function for Johnson and Johnson Medical Devices across EMEA, a $6bn segment of the business. Prior to that he served as International Clinical Director and WW VP Medical Affairs where he set up and led the Medical Affairs function globally for DePuy Synthes (part of Johnson and Johnson) Joint Reconstruction. He was also responsible for DePuy Orthopaedics’ non-US Clinical research strategy and execution. He guided new product development, registration and post-market strategies from a Clinical Evidence perspective. He also oversaw the company’s global Medical Safety product surveillance.
At Merck & Co, Simon was Head of Global Trial Optimization, where he revolutionised Merck’s approach to the conduct of its clinical trials globally. He developed and installed a new strategy and process to oversee the execution of clinical development programmes from proof of concept onwards. This included ensuring the design of clinical studies was optimised for execution; the definition of geographical and temporal models for clinical programs and individual studies; the development and implementation of impactful patient recruitment and retention strategies; and risk assessment, mitigation and control during study conduct. Simon also served as Senior Director Clinical Research Operations, USA at Merck, where he led clinical research operations in several therapeutic areas, including neuroscience, ophthalmology, respiratory, gastro-intestinal, endocrinology, clinical pharmacology and experimental medicine.
Simon is currently Chief Safety Officer of Reckitt Benckiser Group plc (“Reckitt”) where he is responsible for guiding and evaluating the safety of all its products to protect its consumers, and for building and maintaining consumers’ trust in Reckitt. Simon also holds the role of Executive Director and Chair at the Reckitt Global Hygeine Institute, where using a $25m seed fund from Reckitt, he created and established the new non-profit organisation. Additionally, Simon is a Non-Executive Board member of Ondine Biomedical Inc., an AIM listed life sciences company focused on photodisinfection-based therapies to prevent and treat a broad spectrum of infections, including those caused by drug-resistant pathogens. He is also Non-Executive Director at Renovos Biologics Limited, an orthopaedic biotech company.
Simon is a renowned scientist with a PhD in neural transplantation from Cambridge University, medical degree and numerous publications in scientific journals throughout his career.
DR MICHAEL STEIN
Michael is a business leader and strategic adviser with C-suite experience in healthcare. Michael was the founding CEO of Valo Therapeutics and also of OxStem Ltd, an award-winning biotechnology spin-out from the University of Oxford, which broke the UK record for a seed round fund-raise of over £16m in May 2016.
In addition, Michael has served as founding CEO for Doctor Care Anywhere, acquired by Synergix in 2015. In 2001, he co-founded the Map of Medicine Ltd (the Map) with University College London. As founding CEO (and later CMO), the Map was nationally licensed across NHS England (2005-15) and acquired by Hearst Business Media (HBM) in 2008, after which Michael transitioned to executive vice-president of healthcare innovation.
Michael graduated as a medical doctor (Honours) and biochemist (First Class Honours) from the University of Cape Town (1988) and from the University of Oxford (Rhodes Scholar) with a doctorate in Physiological Sciences (Immunology). He subsequently was appointed as a Junior Research Fellow in Medicine at Trinity College, Oxford (1992-95) having been a part-time lecturer in Immunology and Pathology at Balliol College, Oxford (1988-91). As a medical scientist, Michael first described the alternative pathway of macrophage activation, now known as the M2 phenotype (J Exp Med. 1992 Jul 1;176(1):287-92). In addition, Michael co-authored the best-selling UK medical handbook entitled The Hands on Guide to House Officers, Blackwell Science (1996), until it’s 5th edition as The Hands on Guide to the Foundation Programme in 2014 (Blackwell-Wiley).