Below you will see the biographies for the candidates for this year's BIA Board election - to vote in the election click here.
Jane has over 15 years’ experience in business development gained from roles in both biotech and pharma. Since joining F-star in late 2011 Jane has led a series of significant and innovative transactions with BMS, AbbVie, Denali and Merck (EMD Serono) raising almost $200M in non-dilutive financing and advancing F-star’s drug pipeline. By establishing asset-centric-vehicles as well as more traditional licensing, F-star has been able to realise the value of its individual assets through flexible deal structuring. As well as business development, Jane is responsible for transactional legal matters, IP and Communications at F-star. Earlier this year she was identified by Labiotech as one of the 15 Women Leading in European Biotech.
Prior to F-star, she held business development positions at Cellzome and Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT). At Cellzome she led two significant transactions with GSK; Cellzome was subsequently acquired by GSK in 2012. During her time at CAT she led negotiations on multiple significant transactions, subsequently continuing this work within AstraZeneca following the acquisition of CAT.
She has a first class degree, a PhD and an MBA from the University of Cambridge and spent the first part of her career within the agrochemical industry. She is Vice-Chair of the Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust, a member of the University of Cambridge Careers Service Syndicate and an Associate of Newnham College.
Jane would bring to the BIA her experience of business development, finance, IP, communications and alliance management from the perspective of both large and small companies, including through periods of rapid growth and change. She has an extensive network of contacts in the UK and internationally to draw on. She has been a long-time supporter of the BIA and her team at F-star are currently represented on the Intellectual Property Advisory Committee and the Communications Forum.
Kym Denny has been CEO of hVIVO (formerly Retroscreen Virology), a specialty respiratory biopharma company, since 2010. Kym led the Company’s highly successful IPO on AIM in 2012, and has since raised nearly £100M. Her leadership has guided hVIVO from a research-driven organisation into one of the most successful IPOs in AIM history.
Kym has extensive drug development leadership experience in therapeutic areas including infectious disease, respiratory, CNS, oncology, women’s health and orphan indications in both the US and UK. Kym was also a leading pioneer in site management, having founded one of the first of its kind, InSite Clinical Trials, in 1993 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Kym has a unique talent for converting her vision into an achievable plan and clear path to success -with staff, collaborators and investor support. In the past two years, she orchestrated acquisition of three first-in-class clinical-stage assets, including a new panviral prophylactic with a major pharmaceutical company, a universal flu vaccine, and a mosquito-borne vaccine platform for diseases such as Zika.
Her vision and leadership were recognised repeatedly within the last year, receiving multiple international honors, including “EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 – London and South regional health and life sciences” by Ernst & Young, 2017 PharmaVOICE 100 honoree, Mayor of London’s Business Advisory Board appointment and industry panel member for the Patient Capital Review Initiative, announced by the Prime Minister (UK) and led by HM Treasury.
Kym brings an innate understanding how to work across different cultures when managing staff, clients and contracts around the world. Her unique international insights and inbuilt desire to see UK life sciences success was particularly evidenced by her BIO 2017 Brexit panel participation with BIA CEO, Steve Bates. Kym is an ideal candidate for the BIA Board.
I am currently the Chief Executive Officer of Benevolent Bio and Director of BenevolentAI, using AI to augment the research capabilities of drug scientists, radically changing the way R&D is done. I have 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 I oversaw the entry of over 20 compounds into clinical studies and the conduct of 17 Proofs of Concept. I have 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. I served on the IMI Board and was Chair of the EFPIA Research Directors Group.
I 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 I was the CEO of the BBSRC which distributes approximately £500M p.a for bioscience research and its translation. I hold a personal chair from St George's Hospital Medical School, which was awarded in recognition of her contribution to bioscience research. I was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for Services to the Pharmaceutical Industry (2010); a winner of the 2015 Astra Zeneca Women in Pharmacology Society Prize (BPS); named as one of the 50 Winners and Shakers in Bio-Business (2014,2016) and recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 20 Women Advancing AI Research.
Kyriacos is the CSO of Oxford BioMedica. Oxford BioMedica is a leading Gene and Cell therapy company that focuses on developing novel treatments in the areas of CNS, Ocular and Oncology. Kyriacos’ focus has been the research and development of lentiviral vectors for clinical applications including neurological disorders comprising Parkinson’s disease and Motor neuron disease; ophthalmic disorders including wet-AMD, Usher syndrome and Stargardt disease; and in oncology. This work has been extensively published in leading peer reviewed journals. He was appointed Chief Scientific Officer at Oxford BioMedica Plc in 2014 and is a member of the British, European and American gene therapy associations (BSGCT, ESGCT, ASGCT) and of the BIA Cell Therapy and Regen Med Advisory Committee.
Kyriacos obtained his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of London in 1996. Following this he moved to the Department of Biochemistry, Oxford University where he conducted postdoctoral research into the development of viral based vectors for gene therapy. He joined Oxford BioMedica in 1997, following its spinout from Oxford University.
This is an exciting time for the life sciences with gene and cell therapy at the forefront of medical innovation. In the last few years a number of such therapies have received market authorisation with the latest being Novartis’ Kymriah™ (CTL019) for the treatment of B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukaemia approved by the FDA in August 2017. Oxford BioMedica is sole manufacturer of the vector for this product.
There are a number of challenges ahead to ensure that such therapies reach their full potential both for patients and commercially including regulatory and reimbursement issues. The UK is well positioned to establish a leading position in these technologies and help set the standards for the future of this industry.
I would bring to the board extensive knowledge of the key players in the field of gene and cell therapy. I have first-hand experience of the challenges in establishing and developing an SME in the UK bioindustry and have been involved in, and able to influence, many critical decisions in progressing both the scientific direction and business strategy. In developing treatments which have not fitted the conventional industry paradigm for drug development my colleagues and I have necessarily maintained a close dialogue with regulators and market leaders in order to propose and develop innovative analytical packages, optimal preclinical and clinical study designs. I continue to advocate for the invention, adoption and development of new technologies within the company and would welcome the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with others in the bioindustry.
Dedicated to building the Cell and Gene Therapy industry in the UK, I have established a team of over 140 cell and gene therapy experts, in state-of-the-art laboratories in London, and a unique large-scale manufacturing Centre in Stevenage, to accelerate industry growth.
Starting out in the new field of monoclonal antibodies in 1979, I soon moved into the new Bio-industry at GD Searle. I was Managing Director of Bioscot, Scotland’s first Biotechnology company, manufacturing monoclonal antibodies for transfusion medicine and, in 1993 received the Queen’s Award for export; at NASDAQ-listed Serologicals I was Vice President of Diagnostics Operations where I grew the business to over $100m sales of reagents and cell culture media components before becoming Vice President of Global Manufacturing. Serologicals sold to Millipore for $1.4bn in 2006. I joined the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult from the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service, where I was National Director, focusing on modernising the blood supply and expanding into cell therapy. During that period, I formed and privatised the NHS diagnostics company Alba Bioscience, now NASDAQ-listed Quotient. I also steered SNBTS through the challenge of vCJD in the blood supply, and a public inquiry into historical HIV and Hepatitis C infections.
Over the last three years I have been pleased to bring significant manufacturing and commercial experience to the BIA Board. In addition, experience of running a part of the NHS and working with the highest levels of Government has given me valuable insights that have helped inform BIA policy and strategy. These have contributed to achieving significant government support for the cell and gene therapy and manufacturing within the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy. I would be delighted to be re-elected and will continue to enthusiastically promote the BIA agenda to advance the growth of the UK biotechnology industry, especially cell and gene therapy sector.
My name is Becky Upton and I have been studying, undertaking research and selling science for over 20 years. Based in the UK I currently work for VWR International as VP for Business Development and Strategic Marketing. VWR is a strong supporter of the BIA cost saving programme and have supported numerous organisations through this programme.
My prior and present roles have required me to represent the organisation at a senior level. I consider myself to be a self-confident communicator with high levels of emotional intelligence and political awareness, able to quickly adapt to different situations, also under pressure, and work cultures. I believe that my broad skill set in operational laboratory management, marketing and communications, project management and people leadership would benefit BIA and help to support your goals.
I am an avid supporter of women in science and business and have attended the superb, informative BIA women in biotech events. I passionately believe that collaboration and cooperation in a pre-competitive environment are keystones of a successful BioIndustry future.
It would be an honour for me to join the board of BIA to utilise my skills for the benefit of the industry and continue to support, lobby and drive British biotech and associated industry growth as we make our way through the Brexit negotiations. I would particularly like to leverage my operational, influencing and change management skills to make a positive impact on the organisation and secure the UK's position as a global hub for Biotechnology.
On a personal level, I lived in Germany for more than 3 years, returning to the UK in April 2017. I run a local book club and have recently taken up golf lessons and hope to be able to win against my partner Simon soon!
I’ve been working in the Pharmaceutical industry for over 30 years, directly involved in all aspects of drug discovery and development working towards providing treatments for many diseases including new drugs marketed for infectious disease and cancer. I was originally in banking, but following a passion to make new medicines, retrained as a scientist, originally as a pharmacologist, going on to develop expertise in signal transduction and structural biology research having authored or co-authored over 70 significant publications and patents. As well as co-founding the successful Antibiotics Company, Discuva, in 2009, I also co-founded the disruptive therapeutics company, Bactevo and the AIM-listed Oncology drug discovery company Sareum and as part of the senior management steered Summit plc back to financial and scientific viability. Other major roles in UK/US senior management and research were performed at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Medivir, Acambis and Roche. In terms of commercial success, I’ve been instrumental in bringing £10s of millions of direct cash into UK companies with £billions of potential milestones and royalties.
I can bring to the Board views and current experience from many different parts of the Biotechnology ecosystem to help inform on the best strategies to continue growth of this vibrant sector in the UK. This experience not only covers knowledge of cutting-edge technologies being used across the industry, but also the different commercial environments across the varied sectors of Biotech and Pharma. All of my qualifications, including my PhD (performed with the Imperial Cancer Research Fund) were carried out by part-time study, so I put high value on vocational training in our industry and see this as potentially major opportunity to fill our current skills gap.
I have been actively involved with the biotech sector for my entire career, since the mid-eighties, which was an exciting time when molecular biology was starting to drive a new industry. I gained a First Class degree in Biochemistry from Oxford, followed by PhD research at Leicester. My passion for the emerging biotech sector led me into PR consultancy, working with many pioneering companies.
After gaining an MBA from Cranfield Business School, I founded De Facto, the UK’s first dedicated life sciences communications consultancy. Notable clients included the DTI’s £13m Biotech Means Business initiative and the global media launch of Dolly the Sheep. After a period working with venture capital companies and as an interim CEO of a biotech spin-out I founded Northbank Communications steering it through growth and M&A to become the global life sciences practice of College Hill (now re-branded as Instinctif Partners).
My global experience spans advising early stage private to large multinational companies, seeing clients through periods of celebration and challenge, and supporting successful financings both privately and on public markets. I have also provided communications counsel to academic and not-for-profit organisations as well as numerous venture funds. I have contributed to initiatives to encourage the development of talent including as a supporter of BiotechYES and as founder of the ‘Career Alternatives for Scientists’ initiative.
As an active supporter of the BIA over many years, I am passionate about helping the UK’s strengths in bioscience innovation translate into commercial and investor success. I would bring my wide experience as an entrepreneur, creative thinker and communications professional to the Board, to help the BIA continue expanding its reach and impact, and in steering a successful future for UK biotech, as we navigate the unchartered waters of a post-Brexit environment and beyond.
I graduated as a Pharmacist and completed a PhD and Post-Doctoral Fellowship in pharmaceutical technology and achieved MBA a few years later.
I have worked in three large Pharma organisations over 26 years including both of the UKs largest companies; Glaxo in Canada/UK in Development and Production roles before moving to Roche to be Head of Pharmacy R&D for the UK. I moved to AstraZeneca in 1997 to lead an international pharmaceutical sciences group. This was followed by broader experience running R&D/commercial/clinical teams for late phase development projects in oncology as well as a site leadership role at Alderley Park.
The next phase of my career began with the decision to exit Alderley Park and I was asked to lead the regeneration and sale project. I lead the team that started the BioHub incubator and the site sale was completed in 2014 after which I left AstraZeneca to lead the site for the new owners. I am now the Managing Director, Alderley Park for Manchester Science Partnerships, the owners of Alderley Park, and am responsible for the Science park, C-Level company engagement and investment fund aspects. I am proud of the progress we have made at the site as it emerges from single Pharma ownership. There are 58 established companies at the site and circa 94 companies have been incorporated at the site, many working through the pre-start incubation programme. All are in the Biotech sector or associated with it.
Given my background in large Pharma and my role and current interest in biotech regeneration I believe I can bring a fairly unique set of skills and interests to the BIA Board. I would be keen to be involved in regeneration, ecosystem, strategic policy direction, SME formation and growth and investment related activity.
In 2010 I left IPSO Ventures PLC, the AIM listed company that I had cofounded, to search the world for new markets and sources of funding for biotechnology and medtech. My previous experience provided easy access to Boston and New York, reasonable access on the West Coast, and family access in Vancouver. However a number of friends and former colleagues suggested that I look at the emerging opportunities in China – though none of them had actually tried it, and most had never even visited. Nor had I but at the end of 2011, after much research and relationship building, I took on the CEO role for a Nottingham bioinformatics company in order to maximise shareholder value through development in China. We established a wholly owned subsidiary in Wuhan, China in 2012, working with a Chinese CRO.
In the period that followed I was able to experience all the joys of business in China – setting up the company, business license and bank account, raising millions of pounds of Chinese royalty-based funding with which to progress our programs, working through the R&D tax implications with HMRC and establishing collaborations with Chinese partners.
I also set up and invested in Dynasty Biotechnology to in-license UK products for commercialisation in China and, whilst the concept proved viable, I soon found out that not everything goes right: attempting to manage China-based product development remotely from the UK turned out to be a painful learning experience.
But good progress was made. More recently I have received a number of awards for our engagement in China and begun to understand the power of personal profile there. We are now establishing a significant new growth capital fund using Chinese capital to invest in UK innovation and the latest Chinese Award has already enabled us to solve many issues related to fund setup. The new Sino-UK fund will enter the UK market before the end of 2017.
I started life managing the family farm but went on to do an Economics PhD (“The growth of firms”) at Reading University as a way of developing my career. Since then I have founded or co-founded more than 10 technology-related companies in the UK, US and China and hope to fund the growth of many more.
I am passionate about ensuring the UK continues to be a global centre of life sciences innovation. It is vital the UK remains competitive and the BIA remains pro-active in promoting this and seeking as much clarity as possible about the implications of Brexit for its members. The continuing trend for innovative collaborations provides significant potential for BIA members to achieve more, faster, than many single participants can do. I am well able to represent a broad cross-section of the BIA membership. My knowledge of the sector and business perspective enable me to contribute to the BIA Board by understanding and anticipating the concerns and views of a wide range of stakeholders, whether a start-up, SME, university, multi-national, service provider or other BIA member. I have a wealth of knowledge about the varied research and development activities being undertaken and the innovative ways in which the industry can come together and collaborate effectively. My legal background enables me also to provide a different perspective and valuable contribution on issues surrounding government policy and statutory proposals.
By way of background I am a senior associate at leading international law firm Simmons & Simmons and specialise in commercial IP transactions and regulatory compliance in the life sciences sector. I studied Law and French Law at University College London and Université Aix-Marseille II. I teach on the Oxford University Postgraduate Diploma in IP Law and Practice. I have advised clients in industry, academia, technology transfer offices and governments on a whole range of life sciences transactions including drug discovery, development and commercialisation arrangements. I recently advised on the Apollo Therapeutics joint venture fund, a collaboration between GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson Innovation and AstraZeneca with the technology transfer offices of Imperial College London, University College London and the University of Cambridge.