BIA webinar: seed funding and the Investor/CEO relationship

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Join us for our webinar on 21 April focusing on seed funding and the key factors necessary for building a strong and effective investor-CEO relationship.

We have secured an excellent line up of CEOs with recent successful fundraises under their belts, coupled with some key investors in this space.

Sign up to hear more about their experiences and lessons learned, plus a BIA update from our CEO, Steve Bates. Opportunities also for Q&A. 


Webinar starts at 09:30 BST (London, UK)

Welcome and BIA update, Steve Bates, CEO, BIA

Presentations followed by Q&A
Bernardo Bizzini, Investment Analyst, investiere / Henrik Hagemann, CEO, Puraffinity
Ruth McKernan, Venture Partner, Dementia Discovery Fund / David Reynolds, CEO, AstronauTx
Antoine Espinet, CEO, MicrofluidX

Closing remarks

Venue & cost

This event will now take place as a webinar.

The webinar is free-to-attend for both BIA members and non-members.



Steve Bates

Chief Executive Officer


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.

Henrik Hagemann

CEO and Co-Founder


Henrik completed his MEng at Imperial College London where he co-developed a platform for production of targeted nanocellulose using re-engineered living cells. He completed a prestigious Enterprise Fellowship with the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Previously he co-founded a social enterprise focused on critical infrastructure including water sanitation (BRAP, 2008), a synthetic biology student society, SynBIC (2014) and participated in the iGEM competition as the Imperial College 2014 iGEM team. He has been honoured in MIT TR 35 under 35 and Forbes 30 Under 30.

Bernardo Bizzini

investiere / Verve Capital Partners

Bernardo joined investiere in October 2018, works as an investment analyst and is pursuing in parallel a PhD in Stem Cell Development at the University of Cambridge. He holds a MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise from the University of Cambridge and graduated in Biotechnology from ETH Zürich. Furthermore, he was a research assistant in the Molecular Neuroscience group at the Biozentrum of Basel and held internship positions at Novartis and MedImmune.

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”.

Dr David Reynolds

Chief Scientific Officer

Alzheimer’s Research UK

David joined the DDF as a Venture Partner in 2019 and now leads two seed stage companies created by the DDF. LoQus23 Therapeutics is focussing on DNA damage repair pathways to treat Huntington’s disease and AstronauTx is modulating astrocyte function to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Prior to the DDF, David was CSO at Alzheimer’s Research UK for 3 years. ARUK is Europe’s largest dementia research charity investing in various forms of neurodegenerative research, including academic grants, drug discovery and . Before that David worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 18 years at Merck Sharp & Dohme, Lundbeck and latterly Pfizer, where he was the Cambridge Neuroscience & Pain research site head. He has held a variety of R&D leadership roles with responsibilities ranging from exploratory biology, through drug discovery, early clinical development and business development in multiple disease areas, but with a focus on neuroscience and pain.

Antoine Espinet



Antoine is the founder of MicrofluidX, developing a break-through bioreactor for large-scale cell culture based on the microfluidic technology. He has experience in cell and gene therapy manufacturing and system development. Prior to this, he worked as a engagement manager at McKinsey, in Brussels and Sydney. He graduated in 2012 with PhD in Engineering from Cornell University, USA, as well as from Ecole Centrale Paris in 2009 with a Master in Engineering.


This webinar replaces the BIA Networking Breakfast - London, which sadly is not able to take place as a live event due to the current government guidance and restrictions in place.

Thank you to Marks & Clerk, who would have kindly hosted the original in-person event.


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