The BIA’s Board is drawn from a wide range of member companies. The Board currently comprises 11 Members, each of whom has been elected for a three-year term, after which they are invited to put themselves forward for re-election.
Dr Ruth McKernan
Dr Ruth McKernan CBE joined Innovate UK as Chief Executive in May 2015. Ruth has 25 years of research and commercial experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including heading up research units in the UK and the US. She is a member of the Science, Industry and Translation Committee of the Royal Society and was a Council Member for the Medical Research Council for 5 years. Ruth’s previous roles include Senior Vice President at Pfizer and Head of the Merck Neuroscience Research Centre.
Ruth’s awards and achievements include a CBE in 2013 for services to Business, Innovation and Skills, a Fulbright Scholarship and a Glaxo/ABSW Science Writers’ Award. Ruth is the author of a book for non-scientists, “Billy’s Halo”.
Lisa Anson is Chief Executive Officer of Redx Pharma plc, appointed 1 June 2018.
Lisa has been President of AstraZeneca UK since 2012 and has significant leadership experience in pharmaceuticals. Over a 20 year career at AstraZeneca plc, Lisa has held a number of senior management roles in both the US and the UK including Global Vice President, Oncology and as Vice President of emerging brands where she worked closely with the Research and Development teams.
Lisa holds an MBA (awarded with distinction) from INSEAD, France and a First Class honours degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University in the UK. Upon graduating she joined KPMG in London as a management consultant and then moved to California where she worked for Salick Health Care (now Aptium), a California based cancer disease management company, prior to joining Zeneca Pharmaceuticals (USA) in 1998 as a business development manager.
Lisa was President of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) a position from which she will stepped down in July 2018. She has been a Board member of the ABPI since 2012 where she has chaired a number of UK industry committees and worked closely with Government and a wide range of industry stakeholders.
Dr Atkins has over 25 years’ experience as a global leader in a broad range of diagnostics and healthcare businesses. He has held senior positions in R&D, business development, operations and sales and marketing. He has extensive commercial experience in markets in North America, EMEA, Asia and Latin America.
Prior to joining Congenica in 2018, Dr Atkins was CEO of Synevo, a clinical diagnostic laboratory service business operating across Germany and Eastern Europe. Past roles also include global head of the Advanced Staining pathology business unit for Leica Biosystems, a Danaher Company. Dr Atkins has over 20 years’ experience with Johnson & in R&D, business development and in senior international commercial roles.
Charlotte believes in equitable access to effective therapies. She is the CEO and Co-founder of Theolytics - a pre-clinical biotech company harnessing viruses to fight cancer - and has been a BIA Board Member since January 2019. This has included audit committee responsibilities, and the ongoing role of Vice Chair of the BIA's Skills, People and Talent Working Party.
Previously Co-founder and Director of New Medicine Partners, Charlotte has worked with organisations spanning three continents to support the early translation of novel life science technologies. She has taken leadership roles including Curator of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers network, Managing Director of HealthTech Women London, and HelloTomorrow’s London Chair for Healthcare and Medical Technologies.
Charlotte graduated as a University of Cambridge Bioscience Enterprise M.Phil Scholar and was a shortlisted finalist for Cambridge Entrepreneur of the Year. She was most recently named one of Forbes 30 Under 30, and In Vivo’s 30 Rising Leaders in Life Sciences.
Olivia is a biotechnology executive and former academic clinician experienced in supporting international pharmaceutical, biotech and med tech companies across strategic, business and operational activities. Olivia heads up business at Alchemab Therapeutics, an advanced-analytics enabled therapeutics company which she helped to build from inception having been a Principal at SV Health Investors. Prior to that, she was a Partner at McKinsey where she led healthcare private equity and global R&D restructuring efforts, and a Partner at QuantumBlack, focused on advanced-analytics projects for pharmacos. Olivia is also a Non-Executive Director at the BIA and a member of the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Seed investment committee. She's passionate about innovation and regularly advises start-ups on company creation and financing topics.
Oliver is seeking re-election to the BIA Board for a second term to continue supporting the BIA in securing the UK's position as a global hub in life sciences, by supporting company inception, scaling and value creation, built on the backbone of leading innovative research & development.
In 2013 Oliver founded Puridify, a biotech tools company, based at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst. In 2017, after leading the company through two rounds of venture capital funding, rapid growth, and preparing for product commercialisation, it was acquired GE Healthcare (now Cytiva). The disruptive purification technology platform was based on Oliver’s doctoral research at UCL in the department of Biochemical Engineering, where he remains as an honorary lecturer and regards industry-academia links as critical for the development of our industry.
Oliver has been fortunate to participate in the BIA’s manufacturing advisory committee for 8 years, seeing that community grow and provide a pivotal contribution to the BIA’s mission. While continuing to support MAC he has also been fortunate to Co-Chair the BIA Skill Working Party which has a crucial role to play in supporting the BIA through membership engagement & strategic initiative planning, to ensure we are able to find, train and support the people that will be required to deliver the growth vision for the UK’s life science sector.
Professor Jackie Hunter
Benevolent Bio and BenevolentAI use AI to augment the research capabilities of drug scientists, radically changing the way R&D is done. She has over thirty years of experience in the bioscience research sector, working across academia and industry including leading neurology and gastrointestinal drug discovery and early clinical development for GlaxoSmithKline. In that role she oversaw the entry of over 20 compounds into clinical studies and the conduct of 17 Proofs of Concept. She has served on numerous academic, industry and government Boards and panels in both Europe and America e.g. in the establishment of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a 2B euro public-private partnership between the pharmaceutical industry and the European Commission. She served on the IMI Board and was Chair of the EFPIA Research Directors Group.
She founded OI Pharma Partners in 2010 to support the life science sector in harnessing the power of open innovation working with a variety of organizations, including the establishment of an Open Innovation Strategy for the Cyprus Presidency of the EU. For 3 years she was the CEO of the BBSRC which distributes approximately £500M p.a for bioscience research and its translation. She holds a personal chair from St George's Hospital Medical School, which was awarded in recognition of her contribution to bioscience research. She was also awarded a CBE in 2010 for Services to the Pharmaceutical Industry.
Deborah would like to build on previous work with the BIA on ensuring Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) moves back up, and stays on, the UK’s policy agenda at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the consequences of pandemic unpreparedness and underinvesting in infectious diseases. She believes it’s important for a representative from the Scottish biotech cluster to be involved with the BIA board.
Deborah is a biotechnology entrepreneur and immunologist by training with over two decades of experience in the field of antimicrobials research & drug development. She studied at University College London and then worked in postdoctoral positions in internationally acclaimed laboratories in San Diego and Ghent before moving to Aberdeen where, she formed NovaBiotics; successfully spinning the business out of the University of Aberdeen’s Rowett Research Institute in 2004.
She has grown NovaBiotics to a leading global biotechnology business developing a portfolio of first-in-class antimicrobial drug candidates. NovaBiotics’ technology addresses the urgent, unmet need for safe and effective antimicrobial therapies for difficult to treat and drug resistant infections, rare and respiratory diseases. She is an elected Director and founding member of the BEAM Alliance, was a member of the Scottish Life Sciences Industry Leadership Group and sit on the Boards of the Scottish Life Sciences Association and Opportunity North East Life Science/BioAberdeen.
Dr Mike Romanos
Mike is a biopharmaceutical industry leader with a passion for translating new science into novel medicines, and for managing groups of people to deliver them.
He is currently co-founder and CEO of Microbiotica, a Sanger Institute microbiome spinout. The company achieved rapid success, signing a $534m collaboration with Genentech in its first 18 months, and a year later is a thriving group of 40 with a pipeline of microbiome therapeutics and biomarkers.
Since his first industry role in Wellcome Biotech and later in GlaxoWellcome, he led efforts in novel vaccines, antivirals, novel targets from the genome, gene therapy, ion channels, GPCRs and antibodies. Subsequently, in GSK he held global VP roles over 10 years, building major new trans-national divisions which helped shape the company’s platforms and pipelines across therapeutic areas and modalities. In his last GSK role he led an international group of 300 engaged in Genomics/Platform Biology for target and biomarker discovery across therapy areas. Mike left GSK in 2009 to build Crescendo Biologics, where he was the founding CEO/CSO over 6 years, developing the Humabody fragment platform and a pipeline in oncology and inflammation.
Since 2015, he has served as a Non-Exec Director of LifeArc, the leading biomedical charity. Previously he was Translator in Residence at Imperial College, and Venture Partner to UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund.
Nerida oversees the EMEA IC portfolio of co-investments and collaborations to construct, prioritize and advance the early external innovation portfolio of Johnson & Johnson. She identifies and accelerates science and technology outside the company in areas of strategic value to consumer health, medical devices and pharmaceuticals, exploring new models to support external R&D collaboration and grow early stage innovation networks.
Nerida has been an integral part of the Johnson & Johnson Innovation team since 2015. She was Vice President New Ventures & Transactions, and she led a senior team to identify, develop and execute early-stage transactions with diverse partners in the life sciences ecosystem, including academia, venture capital, entrepreneurs, NGOs and governmental organizations.
Before joining Johnson & Johnson, Nerida was Director for Business Development & Licensing and Executive Team member at Vernalis PLC, a UK biotech company with US commercial activities, responsible for transactions from evaluation through negotiation to closing. Before that, Nerida worked in business development at RiboTargets, a biotech building on Nobel Prize-winning science from the lab of Venki Ramakrishnan. Her experience also includes The Boston Consulting Group in London, where she was a project leader providing strategic counsel to clients on M&A opportunities, R&D, manufacturing and business strategies.
In 2013, bucking a pattern of UK Science going to the USA for funding, Sunil acted quickly to lead an academic spin-out from the USA with promising data in brain cancer and proceeded to run, externally fund and locate that company, Opal Oncology, in the UK. It provided direct hands-on experience of making scientific decisions and managing the operations of a therapeutics company. Through the leadership at Opal Oncology, Sunil has been an active member of the BIA.
Sunil Shah is a serial entrepreneur having begun his career in the Life Sciences team at PA Consulting group followed by co-founding two companies in the information technology and life sciences sector. The second of these companies, Oxygen Healthcare Ltd was acquired by Piramal Enterprises Ltd (BSE: PEL). Sunil has a degree in Biochemistry and an MBA from Cambridge University. Although, through the BIA Sunil is known for leading Opal Oncology, he is better known in biotech circles for being one of two co-founders behind the o2h Group.
Sunil is also the CEO of the o2h Group. The o2h Group has developed an engine for seeding a pipeline of early stage life science assets through research collaborations, in-licensing, spin-outs & investments. The DNA of o2h is centred around the nurturing of its people, values and culture, it reflects this in the way we work with each other, as well as our collaborators and partners.
Dr Avi Spier
Dr. Spier has over 15 years of experience at Novartis, having joined the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation as its Head of Business Development in 2004. In 2012, Avi moved into Novartis BD&L where he is now Executive Director and Head of Search and Evaluation activities for a range of therapeutic areas and disciplines, and with a particular focus on the United Kingdom.
Having trained as a postdoc at The Scripps Research Institute in California, in 2001, Avi co-founded La Jolla based Allon Therapeutics, Inc. There he led the peptide therapeutic neurodegenerative disease focused company as its President and CEO through two financing rounds and up to its entry onto the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Avi was educated in Biological Sciences at Oxford University and received his Ph.D. in molecular neuroscience from Cambridge University at the MRC-Laboratory of Molecular Biology.
Daniel joined Polar Capital to set up the healthcare team in 2007. He has 29 years of industry experience, comprising more than 23 years’ investment experience in the healthcare sector. Prior to joining Polar Capital, he was head of the European healthcare research team at Morgan Stanley. He also previously worked for ING Barings Furman Selz in New York following the US biotechnology sector. Before working in the investment field, Daniel worked as a research scientist for seven years with the majority of his time at Schering Plough Corporation in California. Daniel received his PhD from Cambridge University in 1995 and a first class honours degree in Biochemistry from Oxford University in 1991.
Clare is an experienced life sciences corporate finance and investment specialist, with significant expertise in growth funding for innovative life sciences companies in the private and public markets. Clare has been on the BIA board since January 2019 and is now seeking re-election. Clare joined LifeArc in July 2020 as Head of LifeArc Ventures, responsible for developing and implementing a strategy for LifeArc’s investments across the life sciences sector, enhancing LifeArc’s commitment to funding the translation of promising life sciences research. LifeArc’s strategic investments in innovation are a key component of its charitable model, supporting both the ability to create impact for the benefit of patients and aims to contribute to its long-term sustainability.
Clare was recently at FTSE250 listed healthcare investment company Syncona Investment Management, where she was Head of Corporate Development. She also has over 15 years’ experience in healthcare investment banking and was Managing Director and Co-Head of Healthcare and Life Sciences at Numis Securities, specialising in equity capital markets and M&A for London listed companies. Clare is also a Non-Executive Director at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst.
Clare has been an enthusiastic supporter of the life sciences sector and understands the opportunities and challenges that funding growing companies in the sector brings. She is currently a member of the BIA Audit Committee and intends to continue in that role.
Steve Bates has been the CEO of the UK Bioindustry Association since 2012. He currently chairs the International Council of Biotech Associations and has been a Board member of Europabio since 2015. Steve is the visible face of the vibrant UK life sciences industry to government and media. He sits on the UK’s Life Sciences Council and Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Implementation Board. Steve has championed with government effective industrial incentives like the Biomedical Cataylst which have crowded-in private sector investment into UK SMES. He has forged links for the sector across the USA, Europe and in China. In his time at the BIA Steve has developed new member groups focused on cell and gene therapy, genomics and engineered biology. A strong advocate of partnership working, Steve champions sector collaboration with research charities and academia. Proud to lead an organisation with a diverse Board with over 40% female representation, Steve is committed to next generation talent and developing the skills needed for the sector to flourish. Before the BIA, Steve worked for Genzyme and as an advisor to the UK Government of Tony Blair. He was made OBE for services to innovation in 2017.
Nick is responsible for overseeing the BIA’s operations, ensuring that all activities are professionally delivered to the highest standard. He will be providing an organisation-wide operational perspective to, and support for, activities and projects.
He has specific responsibility for office management/facilities, financial systems/processes and credit control, company secretariat, human resources and IT/telecoms. Nick joined the BIA in October 2014, bringing with him extensive industry and not-for-profit management experience.
Prior to this role he ran the Clinical Laboratory Division of Lab21. This involved providing specialist laboratory services to the healthcare, pharmaceutical and clinical trials markets. He had management responsibility for all operations, income, laboratory and customer services and client liaison across the Group. He also has specific experience of diagnostic testing within the HIV and HCV disease areas. This was gained through building Delphic Diagnostics into a one-stop-shop for clinicians, enabling more effective patient monitoring and subsequent treatment options.
Nick also has extensive management experience within the not-for-profit sector, working for a trade body representing and building the profile of the business communication industry.