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Nicholas duggan

Partner at ViadynamicsNicholas Duggan

Nicholas is an innovation and marketing professional with extensive experience across the medical technology sector. He is a Partner at Viadynamics, a leading innovation and venturing agency. Nicholas is also a founder and former CEO of Cellesce, a start-up company that aims to transform drug discovery and personalised medicine in the fight against cancer. As CEO, he led the company through successful technology development, IP protection, building out the team, raising seed funding and two subsequent equity raising rounds, to the winning of first customers.

Nicholas has also worked to build innovation capability and performance across the humanitarian sector, with UNICEF and the Humanitarian Innovation Fund. Prior to joining Viadynamics, Nicholas was a strategy consultant at PIMS and a business strategist in the consumer products and electronics industries. He has a business studies degree and a master’s degree in business strategy, both from University College Dublin.

Nicholas can advise on:

  • Defining and building the commercial opportunity
  • Market validation and industry engagement
  • Business plan preparation
  • Career development for early career researchers

Joanne Hackett 

IZY Capital 

Joanne M. Hackett leads the Healthcare Practice at IZY Capital where she works withJoanne Hackett, incubates and grows the next generation of world leading innovators. Prior to joining IZY, Joanne was the Chief Commercial Officer at Genomics England, where she was responsible for building and commercialising the Trusted Research Environment.

Professor Hackett is a clinical academic, entrepreneur, investor, and a strategic, creative visionair with global experience spanning successful start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Aside from her curious passion for life and positivity, Joanne is known for building innovation, driving personalised medicine and leading through fast paced, complex changing ecosystems and integrations. Joanne's goal is to contribute in bringing the world novel, cost effective and simple health care solutions, and she is particularly keen on building the case for prevention, open science and citizen genomics. She has extensive global experience across academic, business and clinical institutions, and enjoys sharing her experiences with the Boards she sits on as well as companies she provides strategic advice to.  

Joanne has been publicly recognised for her relentless pursuit of revolutionising healthcare and has recently been named one of the top six Influential Leaders in Healthcare by CIO Look, the Accenture Life Science Leader of the year 2019, Freshfields Top 100 Most Influential Women 2019, One HealthTech 2018 Top 70 Women in the NHS, Pharmaceutical Market Europe’s  2018 30 women leaders in UK healthcare and BioBeat 2017 Top 50 Women in Biotech Award. Joanne believes in human courage and perseverance against the odds, and demonstrates that positive change, whether in a company or in one’s personal life, can be carved out from even the greatest of trials. As a believer of ‘health = wealth’, Joanne is an internationally known yoga instructor.

Joanne is available to have non-confidential discussions and offer advice on:

  • Market need and appetite for innovations
  • Routes to progress translational projects
  • Career development for early career researchers

Laura Ferguson

Associate Director, AstraZeneca

Laura works in the Enabling Platform Technologies team of the Business Development and Licensing team group Laura Fergusonfor AZ R&D. Her role involves facilitating external alliances and building relationships between AZ and the wider UK life science ecosystem. Laura supports search, evaluation,  transactions and contracting for in-licensing and out-licensing early stage assets, with an emphasis on supporting the biologic R&D and Emerging Innovations teams within AZ.

Laura works extensively with start-up incubators and accelerators both in her role with AZ and through personal mentoring of start-up companies.

Before joining AstraZeneca Laura worked for the Cambridge Enterprise Seed Fund helping to spin out and finance life science companies from the University of Cambridge. Prior to that Laura ran the UK operations of a life science focused equity crowdfunding platform for two years, during which time she led activities in business development, marketing and fundraising. Laura has a background as an academic biologist at Oxford and Cambridge in molecular evolutionary genetics.

Laura is available to have non-confidential discussions and offer advice on:

  • Start-up financing options
  • Partnering with big pharma
  • Career development for early career researchers 

Karen Wai

Karen Wai.PNGKW Health Advisory

Dr Wai obtained her primary medical degree from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and subsequently obtained an MBA specializing in Health Services Management from University College Dublin. She is a proven Medical Business Leader with over 20 years of expertise in clinical practice and the pharmaceutical & Medtech industry.
While in clinical practice she worked in both the public and private settings. She subsequently moved to a career in research and development to be able to contribute to getting effective and safe therapies and technologies to patients. During her time at Quintiles (now IQVIA), she worked on a number of pharmaceutical products from large cardiovascular blockbusters to niche solid tumor oncology therapies. Her experience spans all phases of drug development (phase I-IV), real-world evidence, and all stages of medical device
studies. She personally contributed to more than 80 studies. Utilizing her considerable medical knowledge and business expertise she has extended her reach to assist healthcare startups to navigate the complex healthcare ecosystem and bring innovative technologies to the patient. She has worked both in an operational and advisory capacity with startups in remote patient monitoring, digital therapeutics, medical device product development and commercialization, diagnostics (especially in the area of infectious disease detection) and real-world research and data usage.

Karen can advise on:

  • Fundraising
  • Business Plan - market sizing, go-to-market strategy, value chain 
  • Clinical Strategy - alignment with business plan, current clinical pathways, advisory board formation
  • Clinical trial operations
  • Asia-Pacific MedTech and pharmaceutical market
  • Career development for early career researchers 


Please contact the Translational Research Office if you would like to arrange a meeting.