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Welcome to our new Advisory Board members

    This month we welcome the new membership of our Advisory Board.

    New members Dr Virginia Acha, Dr Annalisa Jenkins, Dr Pearse Keane, Dr Raj Mehta and Hak Salih join our existing members Prof Alan Barrell, Kate Bingham, Sir Paul Nurse and Prof Sir Robert Lechler.

    The MedCity Advisory Board advise us on matters of strategic importance and take on an important role in promoting life sciences, both domestically and internationally. They are crucial to us delivering our vision and help ensure we’re listening to the full range of key stakeholders in London’s life sciences sector.

    “As MedCity takes stock of the positive learnings from the last 18 months, and we accelerate initiatives targeted to recovery and growth post-pandemic, I am really delighted to have the wisdom of our new advisory board to ensure that we strengthen London’s role in keeping the UK at the forefront of life sciences globally”. Neelam Patel, MedCity CEO.

    “Our Advisory Board members bring an exceptional breadth of knowledge and experience to MedCity. They are experts in their field; they are outspoken in their desire to advance healthcare; and they are diverse. I cannot think of a better combination to help deliver MedCity’s mission of supercharging innovation, driving investment and informing infrastructure for life sciences in London.” Ian Campbell, MedCity Non-Exec Chair.  

    Please join us in welcoming our new Advisory Board members, and find out more about the members below:

    Prof Alan Barrell

    Alan has worked in health care and medical research, as Chairman and Chief Executive of large multi-national companies and smaller technology start-ups. He teaches in universities in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia, with Professorships in European and Chinese Universities. His Honorary Doctoral Degrees have been awarded by Anglia Ruskin University and University of Bedfordshire, and he is appointed Professor of Practice by Hong Kong Management Association.

    He has raised and managed a venture capital fund, is a business angel investor and trustee of charities. He has been honoured with both The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in the UK and membership as Knight First Class of the Order of the White Rose of Finland for services to education.

    His current work is focused on the commercialisation of research, technology start-ups and the development of UK-China trade and educational relationships, promoting the vision of “a world without borders”.

    Dr Annalisa Jenkins
    CEO, PlaqueTec Ltd.

    A biopharma thought-leader with nearly 20 years of industry experience, Dr Jenkins has built and led teams advancing programs from scientific research through to clinical development, regulatory approval and deployment into healthcare systems globally.

    Before joining PlaqueTec as CEO, Dr Jenkins led Dimension Therapeutics, and served as Executive Vice President, Head of Global Research and Development for Merck Serono.

    Hak Salih
    Health Start-Ups & Venture Capital Business Development Leader, EMEA at Amazon Web Services (AWS)

    We’re pleased to welcome a former colleague to the board. Prior to joining AWS, Hak was our Digital Health Lead and board member for the Digital Health.London Accelerator programme.

    Hak is a passionate supporter of innovation and entrepreneurs, leveraging his twenty years’ experience of investing across industries by evaluating the impacts of disruptive business models and technologies across economic cycles. He is also an award-winning pro bono mentor to entrepreneurs and not for profit entities.

    Kate Bingham
    Managing Partner of SV Health Investors

    During her three decades at SV, Kate’s biotech investments have resulted in the launch of six drugs for the treatment of patients with inflammatory and autoimmune disease and cancer. Kate played an active role in setting up the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), an SV managed fund, and serves on the DDF Investment Committee.

    Kate serves on the Board of the Francis Crick Institute, and in 2017 won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the BioIndustry Association UK. In May 2020 Kate was appointed Chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce reporting to the Prime Minster to lead UK efforts to find and manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine on a six month engagement.

    Sir Paul Nurse

    Paul Nurse is a geneticist and cell biologist. His major work has been on the cyclin dependent protein kinases and how they regulate cell reproduction.

    He is Director of the Francis Crick Institute in London, Chancellor of the University of Bristol, and has served as President of the Royal Society, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK and President of Rockefeller University.

    Paul shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and has received the Albert Lasker Award, the Gairdner Award, the Louis Jeantet Prize and the Royal Society’s Royal and Copley Medals. He was knighted by The Queen in 1999, received the Legion d’honneur in 2003 from France, and the Order of the Rising Sun in 2018 from Japan.

    He served for 15 years on the Council of Science and Technology, advising the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and is presently a Chief Scientific Advisor for the European Union. In 2020 he wrote ‘What is Life’, which has been published in 22 countries.

    Dr Pearse Keane

    Pearse is a consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London and an associate professor at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. He is originally from Ireland and received his medical degree from University College Dublin (UCD), graduating in 2002.

    In 2016, he initiated a formal collaboration between Moorfields and Google DeepMind, with the aim of developing artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms for the earlier detection and treatment of retinal disease. In August 2018, the first results of this collaboration were published in the journal, Nature Medicine. In May 2020, he jointly led work, again published in Nature Medicine, to develop an early warning system for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), by far the commonest cause of blindness in many countries.

    In 2019 he was included on the Evening Standard Progress1000 list of most influential Londoners. In 2020, he was profiled in The Economist and included on the The Power List by The Ophthalmologist magazine (a ranking of the Top 100 most influential people in the world of ophthalmology).

    Dr Raj Mehta

    Raj, an entrepreneur-in-residence at Apple Tree Partners, has identified, nurtured, raised funds for, and launched multiple immunology- and oncology-focused spinoffs.

    As co-founder, interim CEO, board member and director of business development at GammaDelta Therapeutics, he led a $100-million fundraising effort, established a partnership with Takeda Pharmaceuticals, managed the acquisition of Lymphact, and spearheaded the spinoff of Adaptate Biotherapeutics.

    Prior to GammaDelta, Raj spent nearly 18 years at Cancer Research Technology (CRT), where he served as co-founder, interim CEO, and board member of BliNK Therapeutics and Revitope Oncology; established Fastbase Solutions; and led more than 25 licensing and collaborative partnerships. Raj joined CRT from MRC Collaborative Centre, where he led the Merck KGaA Group.

    Raj grew up in Tanzania, earned a natural sciences degree from University of Cambridge and completed his doctoral research at the National Institute for Medical Research, now part of Francis Crick Institute, in London.

    Prof Sir Robert Lechler

    Sir Robert has recently stepped down from his roles as Senior Vice-President (Health) at King’s College London, Executive Director of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre and President of the Academy of Medical Science.

    He is a strong advocate of the Academic Health Science Centre model of university-healthcare partnerships. He is currently Emeritus Senior Vice President (Health) at King’s College London, Non-Executive Director on the Board of Quell Therapeutics Limited, Senior Medical Adviser to Babylon Health, and chairs an external advisory board for Birmingham Health Partners.

    His clinical and research career have been focused on the pursuit of clinical transplantation tolerance. His work in in vitro and in vivo rodent models has led to the first in man trials of cell therapy to promote immune tolerance in recipients of kidney and liver organ transplants.

    In 2012 he was awarded a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday honours for Services to Academic Medicine and, in 2015, he was elected as the President of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. Sir Robert was also a Founding Board Member of MedCity, was a Board Member of the Crick Institute, and is still leading a project for the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology.

    Dr. Virginia Acha
    Associate Vice President, Global Lead, Global Regulatory Policy, MSD

    Virginia (Ginny) has worked in industry and academia throughout her career, combining interests in science policy research and innovation performance within and across organizations.

    She joined MSD in 2017 to lead regulatory policy efforts outside of the US for innovation that will lead to better treatment for patients globally. Since January 2020, this scope has expanded, as Ginny was given responsibility for leading the Global Regulatory Policy team. Currently, Ginny is leading regulatory policy initiatives within industry and in MSD to address the COVID-19 imperatives, and to explore how this experience may prove a watershed for development and regulation of medicines for the future.

    Before joining MSD, Ginny was the senior spokesperson for the industry in the UK for research, medical and innovation policy (notably for BREXIT) at the UK trade association, ABPI. Previously, Ginny worked for Amgen in global regulatory policy and for Pfizer working on policy development in science and innovation in healthcare. She joined the pharmaceutical industry from Imperial College Business School, concluding over ten years as an innovation policy academic.

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