Drug Discovery and Development
Dr Rachel Grimley
Senior Vice President, Drug Discovery at Cancer Research UK
Rachel has over 20 years’ experience in pre-clinical Drug Discovery, incorporating target
identification through to drug candidate nomination, across several companies, and most recently, Cancer Research UK. She has contributed to the discovery and characterisation of numerous drug candidates, and 3 marketed medicines, across a diverse range of disease areas including Oncology, Neuroscience, Respiratory, Cardiovascular and Anti-Infectives. Rachel gained her PhD in Mechanistic Enzymology from the University of Birmingham and completed post-doctoral studies at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, before joining the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining CRUK in 2021, Rachel was Executive Director and Head of Mechanistic Biology & Profiling at AstraZeneca, with global responsibility for in vitro mechanism of action studies, SAR biology profiling, Wave1 DMPK and pre-clinical safety screening across the UK, US and Sweden. Previously, Rachel held roles of increasing responsibility at Pfizer in Sandwich, GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage and Pfizer Neusentis in Cambridge. Rachel’s particular skillsets and passion are in mechanistic biology, ensuring that the interactions between drug targets and their ligands are characterised as quantitatively as possible from the molecular to the cellular level; such characterisation leads to a deeper understanding of how these drugs will translate to Patient therapies, including being able to predict dose regimens more accurately.
Rachel can advise on:
- Drug discovery and development projects
- Mechanistic biology & enzymology
- Routes to develop translational research projects
Professor Simon Hollingsworth
VP, Global Medicine Leader, AstraZeneca
Simon is Vice President and Global Medicine Leader at AstraZeneca accountable for the global life-cycle development and commercialisation of Lynparza. He has >20 years’ experience in drug/therapeutics development across industry and academic careers focused in clinical drug development, clinical and translational science, and precision medicine (oncology, inflammation, cardio-/vascular). His broad clinical development experience from early candidate nomination to Ph.1 – Ph.3, through registration to commercialisation (including small molecules, biologics, gene/cell therapies) is coupled with varied commercial experience (industry, biotech, commercialised own IP). Simon also maintains an academic profile as Visiting Professor Division Cancer Studies King’s College London, Fellow Royal College Pathologists, and serves on numerous National and International review panels and advisory boards.
Simon can advise on:
Clinical drug development
Clinical and translational science
Industry / Academia partnerships – collaborating and working in Alliances
Drug discovery; target validation through to early clinical development
Routes to progress drug discovery and translational projects
Career development for early career researchers
Dr Rachel Hemsley
Business Development Director, Sygnature Discovery
Rachel is the Business Development Director at Sygnature Discovery. Rachel was previously the Senior Business Manager at UCL Business plc and has 12 years’ experience in business development involving early stage technology development, securing investment funding, licensing early stage healthcare technology and setting up new companies. Her experience spans across stem cell therapies, gene therapies, diagnostics and medical devices. She was also a director of an ocular gene therapy company, Athena Vision Ltd, which was acquired by its investors MeiraGTX who following this acquisition IPO’d on NASDAQ in 2017 for $75m. Prior to this she worked in senior roles at the University of Leicester, including Intellectual Property Manager and Research and Business Development Officer. Rachel completed her PhD in Protein Biochemistry at the University of Wales Aberystwyth, researching the protein phosphorylation cascades and cell signalling. She has since spent 6 years of post-doctoral research experience at the John Innes centre as well as over 12 years’ experience in translating new technologies into products, including 8 years of drug discovery and development experience.
Dr Colin T Dourish
Director and Co-Owner of P1vital and P1vital products
Colin has a successful track record in CNS drug discovery and drug development in both major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Prior to co-founding P1vital and P1vital Products, he was Senior Vice President Research and CSO of Vernalis Group plc, Research Director and co-founder of Cerebrus Limited, Director of Neuropharmacology at Wyeth Research and Section Head at Merck.Colin has over 450 publications in scientific and medical journals and has edited four books in the areas of Psychopharmacology, Neuroscience, Neurology and Psychiatry. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford and formerly a William Pitt Fellow of Pembroke College Cambridge, Visiting Professor of Psychopharmacology at the University of Durham and Visiting Professor of Neuroscience and Psychological Medicine at Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. Dr Dourish received his BSc in Psychology and his PhD and DSc in Psychopharmacology from the Queen’s University of Belfast and carried out postdoctoral research at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Saskatchewan in Canada and at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology in London.
Colin can advise on:
- Drug discovery in CNS disorders, eating disorders and obesity
- Routes to progress drug discovery and translational projects
- Clinical development strategy and operational delivery of projects/products
- Career development for early career researchers
Dr Anthony brown
VP Business Development & Scientific Liaison, Carrick Therapeutics
Over 30 years of experience leading small molecule & biological drug discovery programmes. Primary focus in oncology, immune-oncology, inflammation and fibrosis - covering target identification & validation, R&D, clinical studies (Ph1/2/3), manufacturing and companion diagnostics. Direct experience of and leading M&As, in-licensing, financing through IPOs, private investment and industry/academic grants and founded a number of start-up Biotechs. Director level roles in Biotech, Pharma, academic tech transfer and Not-For-Profit organisations. Founder and owner of Drug Discovery Limited, providing consultancy services to several UK/EU Biotechs, defining and implementing research, clinical and commercialisation plans, developing and leading funding and investment strategies.
Anthony can advise on:
- Drug discovery of small molecules, biologicals and cell-based therapies
- Routes to progress drug discovery and translational projects
- Career development for early career researchers
Please contact the Translational Research Office to arrange a meeting.
Dr Holger Hess-Stumpp
Former Director, Strategic Alliance Manager Oncology, Bayer
Holger Hess-Stumpp studied biology at the Johannes-Gutenberg-University of Mainz, Germany and received its Ph.D. from the Ruprecht-Karls-University of Heidelberg, Germany. He worked as a molecular and cellular biologist at the German Cancer Research Center Heidelberg in the division of Cell Biology with Professor Werner W. Franke and is now 25 years with Bayer AG. He has a long-term expertise in drug discovery, mainly for oncology targets. In this regard he was responsible as a lab head and later as a department head for in vivo experimental tumor models and many different topics such as chromatin modulation, cell cycle, anti-angiogenesis and tumor metabolism. Since a couple of years, he is responsible for large academic collaborations in the field of Oncology within Business Development & Licensing. In the last few years, he acted also as chair of the so-called Strategic Governance Group Oncology within the Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI).
Professor David Reynolds
CEO at AstronauTx and LoQus23
David is the CEO of two Dementia Discovery Fund-created companies AstronauTx and LoQus23 Therapeutics. AstronauTx is focused on modulating the function the most abundant support cells in the brain, astrocytes, to treat Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. LoQus23 is targeting DNA damage repair processes which are a driving force of the pathophysiology in triple repeat disease like Huntington’s disease. David also provides his neuroscience expertise to the DDF team as a part-time Venture Partner.
David joined the DDF after 3 years as the CSO of Alzheimer’s Research UK, Europe’s largest dementia research charity investing in both academic research and translational drug discovery, as well as a significant voice in public communication of dementia issues. Previously 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.
David can advise on:
- Small molecules drug discovery projects
- Therapeutic areas of pain and neuroscience
- Routes to progress translational projects
- Careers development for early careers researchers
Somerville Development Partners
Tom has a BSc from Manchester and a DPhil from Oxford – the latter studying mechanisms of genomic stability in the development of cancer. Tom has worked in EU regulatory affairs for 20years, supporting the development of new medicines, mostly for the treatment of cancer or orphan (rare) diseases. Currently Tom heads up a development consulting group, where he supports innovator biotech companies with everything they need in order to achieve EU and UK regulatory objectives.
Tom can advise on:
- Clinical development requirements and gaining authorisation for clinical trials
- Scientific advice
- Paediatric requirements
- Orphan designation
- PRIME and ILAP
- Accelerated, conditional and exceptional circumstances marketing authorisation
- Regulatory strategy and planning
Dr Andrew Teasdale
Senior Principal Scientist Impurity Management and External Advocacy, AstraZeneca
Andrew Teasdale PhD has 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry as an analytical chemist and within quality assurance and regulatory roles. In his current role he chairs AstraZeneca’s Impurity Advisory Group. Dr Teasdale has published a number of papers relating to mutagenic impurities, extractables and leachables, mutagenic impurities and other impurity related matters. Andrew has also represented EFPIA in ICH Q3C, Q3D and Q3E Expert working groups. He has also advanced a number of key scientific advancements in the control of impurities as the inventor of the purge factor concept and the instigator of the development of Elemental Impurities database for excipients. With over 50 scientific papers, he has also written 3 books:
Genotoxic Impurities – Strategies for Identification and control. Editor A Teasdale. Publisher Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-49919-1
ICH Quality Guidelines – An Implementation Guide. Editors A Teasdale, D Elder, R W Nims. Publisher Wiley. ISBN 978-1-118-97111-6.
Mutagenic Impurities – Strategies for Identification and Control Second Edition. Editor A Teasdale. Publisher Wiley. ISBN 978-1-119-55121-8
Dr Yatish Lad
Vice President, Head of Early Development, Oxford Biomedica (UK) Ltd.
Yatish has over 14 years of experience in developing gene and cell therapies at Oxford Biomedica (OXB) a company based in Oxford. Yatish gained his PhD in cell biology and signalling pathways at the University of Edinburgh and continued his research at Yale University prior to joining OXB.
Yatish’s role at OXB is to drive the preclinical development of new gene and cell therapies that can transition into clinical development. This includes therapeutic area and indication identification, development of preclinical assets and generation of data packages for regulatory filings to initiate clinical trials. Current focus areas for OXB are gene and cell therapies for oncology and liver indications, previous interests also ophthalmology and neurology
Yatish can advise on:
- Preclinical development
- Gene and cell therapies
- Lentiviral vectors
Dr Andy Pearce
Senior Director and Global Project Leader, AstraZeneca
Andy has over 15 years’ experience in leading preclinical and early clinical drug discovery teams ranging from target identification and validation; through hit finding, lead optimisation and clinical candidate selection; to IND enabling and clinical testing to Proof of Concept. He has worked in multiple big pharmas (Novartis, GSK, AstraZeneca), and pre-clinical and clinical biotech (Mission Therapeutics), where he served as VP Translational Science. He is currently Senior Director and Global Project Leader to the early Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolic Therapy Area at AstraZeneca, leading projects from drug Candidate Identification through to the end of Ph2b. Andy worked as a Discovery Partnership Leader at GSK identifying drug discovery partnership opportunities with world leading academics across Europe and leading the resulting drug discovery projects in integrated academic-industrial teams. At GSK Andy also chaired the Global Biology Council, a body representing the global biology community with an advocacy and policy advisory remit, in addition to the goal of providing development opportunities for biologists leveraging the full breadth of the GSK biology community.
Andy is a non-clinical scientist by training receiving an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and a DPhil in Pharmacology from the University of Oxford, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Birmingham, studying signalling pathways and discovering new signalling proteins and potential drug targets in platelets. Andy has experience leading projects across a broad range of therapeutic areas ranging from cardiovascular disease, rare diseases, fibrotic disease of liver and lung, aswell as oncology and neurodegeneration. Andy’s particular expertise is in target selection and validation and identification of drug candidates and the translational research to progress potential medicines into the clinic.
Andy is passionate about mentoring in drug discovery and life sciences.
Andy can advise on:
- Target discovery and validation
- Drug Discovery and Development
- Pre-clinical to clinical translation
- Academic-Industry partnerships
- Career paths in industry and mentorship of early career researchers.