BIA regional focus: developing digital skills at Stevenage

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Join us for an online event looking at digital skills and capability development in Stevenage. The importance of operating effectively in the digital space continues to grow for life science companies, and so the skills to do so also increase in their value.

We will hear from a number of organisations who have found successful solutions to acquiring and developing talent and capability in the digital space. All speakers will then come together as a panel to discuss the various solutions that exist for improving the digital skills available to your company, whether this is building your own capability or collaborating with others.

The event will close with the opportunity for networking via the excellent Remo platform, and we look forward to catching up with you.


12:30    Platform opens for networking

13:00    BIA introduction

13:15    Presentations:

  • CGT Catapult – how the Catapult has developed digital skills
  • Applied Exomics – how and when to outsource digital skills to a consultancy
  • Cytiva - how Cytiva has built an in-house digital capability

13:45    Panel discussion and Q&A with all three organisations (chaired by Hugo Villaneuva)

14:15    Networking

15:00    Close


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Lee Larcombe


Applied Exomics

Lee Larcombe (PhD) provides expert bioinformatics and data analytics support to biotech, pharma and FMCG clients through Applied Exomics Ltd (Founded in 2012). He has a research background spanning wet-lab and bioinformatics, with particular expertise in functional genetics, biomolecular modelling and data integration for immunology and oncology. After spending 10 years in academia conducting collaborative industry research projects, he has spent the last decade supporting in silico target discovery and (bio)therapeutic development in industry.

Lee also has broad experience of teaching and training in bioinformatics, including development of training strategy. He led development of the UK Level 7 Bioinformatics Scientist Apprenticeship standard and acted as Higher Education Consultant to the UK Science Industry Partnership. He continues to support skills projects in industry, academia and national institutes, including as an invited organiser of the joint EMBL EBI & Wellcome Trust bioinformatics international summer school, and taking the lead on bioinformatics apprenticeship assessment with the NHS/HEE National School of Health Care Science.

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Ann Potterton

Director of Skills Growth

Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

Ann joined the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in 2021 as Director of Skills Growth having previously been Head of Apprenticeships at BT. Ann is an experienced Learning & Development consultant with expertise in the vocational sector, leadership and facilitation. Prior to BT, Ann was the director of a training provider network and CEO of the Institute of Telecoms Professionals (ITP). Throughout her career Ann has led a number of highly impactful initiatives including steering BT to being ranked the UK’s Fourth Top Apprenticeship Employer (First in the private sector). And, whilst at ITP, setting up an apprenticeship programme to help smaller companies access funding to recruit and train their own telecoms apprentices. Ann is a Chartered Member of the CIPD and holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult’s mission is to grow the UK sector, and the generation of skilled talent is a key component of this growth. Ann leads a team of skills experts who are leading and developing a unique apprenticeship programme (Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC)) to enable organisations to grow their own talent. They are also delivering skills training to the sector by making online, face-to-face and virtual training available through the Advanced Therapy Skills Training Network (ATSTN). ATSTN coordinates and promotes access to programmes delivered by a network of specialist providers.

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Hugo Villaneuva

Innovation and Business Development Director

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst

Hugo is responsible for new enquiries, business and innovation advice and event coordination at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst.

Hugo joined from Revena, a research organisation and consultancy supporting and attracting funding for start-ups, spinouts and growing companies in the life sciences sector. He has worked in the past with Clustermarket, a company that rents and share lab equipment.

He is passionate about life science entrepreneurship and the commercialisation of research. As a founding member of the Science Entrepreneur Club he has great experience of managing events and competitions for entrepreneurs within the “Golden Triangle” in partnership with RebelBio, Merck, Arctoris and others. During his time as President of the London branch of Innovation Forum he was responsible for organising a successful series of lectures, workshops and conferences.

Hugo holds a PhD in Synthetic Biology from UCL and Birkbeck College, an MRes in Systems Biology from Imperial College London and a BSc in Biotechnology from Edinburgh University.

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Dr Stephen Ward

Chief Manufacturing Officer

Cell & Gene Therapy Catapult

Stephen has held the position of CMO of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult since 2018, leading the strategic manufacturing, supply chain, skills and industrial growth programmes, and was CGT Catapult’s founding COO.

As CMO, Stephen has led on the design, build and GMP licensing of the Stevenage CGT Catapult facility, making the facility central to the development of the largest cell and gene therapy cluster outside the US. He also leads set-up of the new CGT Catapult site in Braintree, which supports the national COVID-19 vaccine portfolio, plus the development of large scale manufacturing of cell and gene therapies.

Stephen also works closely with industry stakeholders to develop and deliver impactful and first-of-their-kind national skill programmes, such as the Advanced Therapy Skills Training Network (ATSTN) and the Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC).

He brings to the organisation almost two decades of specialised cell and gene therapy expertise from his career in biological medicine research, development, and manufacturing. Stephen thrives on bringing cutting edge technologies to patients by developing commercially viable products and is passionate about expanding the UK’s cell and gene therapy manufacturing and development supply chain.

He is a current member of the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership leadership team, actively promoting and supporting biomanufacturing in Government as well as at a grass-roots level.

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Nick Whitelock

Sales Specialist


Nick is Technical Sales Specialist at GoSilico, now part of Cytiva. Nick uses his extensive background in DSP development and operations, from microscale to pilot-scale processing of mAbs, fabs and viral vectors to understand the issues facing the industry. His wide expertise in simulating biopharmaceuticals, including developing structural, economic and mechanistic models, helps him bring sophisticated mathematical solutions to bioprocesses. He has studied for a BSc in Chemistry with Pharmacology, a scholarship-funded MRes in Structural Biology and an EngD in Biopharmaceutical Process Development.

Nick lives to accelerate the adoption of mechanistic model-based process development to enable more efficient, robust and scalable processes across the industry, and therefore more accessible medicines.

Event partner