Our board

Find out about the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult board members

Our board currently has nine members and exists to jointly oversee the activities of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult.

Dr John Brown, CBE, FRSE

Chairman

John has extensive experience in the life sciences sector. He is Chairman of ProStrakan Group plc, Touch Bionics, CXR Biosciences and Synpromics, a Non-executive Director of Vectura Group plc and BioCity Nottingham and previously was Chairman of BTG plc and Axis-Shield plc.

In the public sector, he is also Chairman of The Roslin Foundation and the Easter Bush Development Board, co-Chairs the Life Sciences Industry Advisory Board for the Scottish Government and has recently retired as a member of the Scottish Science Advisory Council. He is an advisor to private equity and venture capital funds, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Honorary Professor of the University of Edinburgh. John was Chief Executive of Acambis plc, a leading producer of vaccines to treat and prevent infectious disease, from 1997-2004.

Keith Thompson

CEO

Keith has established a team of over 120 cell and gene therapy experts in state-of-the-art laboratories in London and is now building a large-scale manufacturing centre. 

Keith joined the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult from the Scottish Blood Transfusion Service where he was National Director, and focused on modernising the blood supply from vein-to-vein and expanding into cell and gene therapy. Prior to this he held various positions in Biotechnology companies. He was at various times, Managing Director of Bioscot, one of Scotland’s first Biotechnology companies, Vice President of Serologicals Diagnostics Operations, then Vice President of Global Manufacturing. He has been Chairman of the UK Blood Forum, a Director of the European Blood Alliance and Treasurer of the International Plasma Fractionators Association.  In 1993 when at Bioscot, Keith received the Queen’s Award for export.

Keith holds first and second degrees in biological sciences and applied genetics from Birmingham University along with an MBA from Edinburgh University.

Nick Higgins

Non-Executive Director

Nick is an independent consultant advising life science companies on all aspects of business and corporate development. He has a first degree in biochemistry and MScs in biochemical engineering and the management of intellectual property.

Until the beginning of 2013, Nick was Corporate Development Director of Consort Medical. Before joining Consort, he was Chief Executive of Intercytex Group plc, a company focused on regenerative medicine, from 2005 to 2010. Prior to Intercytex, Nick was Chief Business Officer at Acambis plc, a vaccines company, for 11 years. His early career was with Unilever Research, PA Consulting Group and Porton Developments.

Professor Marc Turner

Non-Executive Director

Marc is Professor of Cellular Therapy at the University of Edinburgh and Medical Director at the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service. He qualified in Medicine from the University of Manchester in 1982 and trained in General Medicine and Haematology.

He obtained his PhD in human haematopoietic stem cell biology from the University of Edinburgh in 1995, and an MBA in Life Sciences from the Open University in 2007. Marc is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London, a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Marc’s research interests include immunohaematology, variant CJD transmission by blood and tissues, and translational research in stem cell therapy and adoptive immunotherapy. He has 130 publications and has held 35 research grants.

Professor Michael Whitaker

Non-Executive Director

Michael is Professor of Physiology and Dean of Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle. He is widely published in the areas of reproductive and developmental biology and cell cycle control. He has been instrumental in developing the research strategy of the Medical Faculty at Newcastle University whose research now ranks among the top ten in the UK.

Michael has been closely involved in forming and delivering the North East regional strategy in the Healthcare and Life Science areas, particularly in the areas of ageing, stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. He coordinates the regional pharma manufacturing initiative, FirstforPharma. He has been active nationally at the Wellcome Trust and has acted as secretary of the British Society for Cell Biology. He is a Fellow of the Society of Biology and of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

Dr Steven Chatfield

Non-Executive Director

Steve has spent more than 35 years working in the field of research and development within the Biopharma industry and now works as an independent consultant. His career has focussed on leading the development of new healthcare interventions with a particular emphasis on vaccines and immunotherapy products to combat infectious disease, including experience in the biodefense sector. 

His previous roles include Executive positions at Medeva plc, Microscience Ltd, and Emergent Biosolutions.  Steve also served as an Executive Director of the Health Protection Agency where he was responsible for emergency preparedness and response.  Steve is also the Chairman of Prokarium Ltd, a private UK vaccines company. Steve is passionate about translational research – driving new technologies and products towards commercialisation and has a thorough understanding of the product development process, from research to product launch.  Steve holds a PhD in microbiology and has published more than 100 papers in the field of biotechnology.

Dr Susan Foden

Non-Executive Director

Susan has over 15 years' experience as a Non-Executive Director in biotech and life science companies. Presently she is a non-executive board member of BTG plc, Vectura plc, Evgen Pharma plc and BerGenBio AS, and a member of the Investment Committee for CD3 the joint initiative in drug discovery between the University of Leuven and the European Investment Fund.

Susan was CEO of Cancer Research Campaign Technology Ltd 1987 - 2000 and an Investment Director with Merlin Biosciences from 2000 to 2003.

Professor Fiona Watt

Non-Executive Director

Fiona obtained her first degree from Cambridge University and her DPhil, in cell biology, from the University of Oxford. She was a postdoc at MIT, where she first began studying differentiation and tissue organisation in mammalian epidermis.

She established her first research group at the Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology and then spent 20 years at the CRUK London Research Institute (now part of the Francis Crick Institute). She helped to establish the CRUK Cambridge Research Institute and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research and in 2012 she moved to King's College London to found the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine.

Fiona is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She is internationally recognised for her work on stem cells and their interactions with the niche in healthy and diseased skin.

Stuart Henderson

Non-Executive Director

Stuart is a senior audit partner at Deloitte. Based in Cambridge since 1985, firstly with Andersen, before moving to Deloitte in 2002, he has served clients in the life sciences sector for over 30 years from start up to IPO and beyond and has extensive transaction experience.

He led the European Healthcare and Life Sciences practice for Deloitte for seven years from 2004 during which time served on the firm’s Global sector industry team. He is a former board member of the Babraham Institute.

Matthew Durdy

Chief Business Officer

Matthew joined the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in 2012, from the novel therapeutics company Aqix, where he was Chief Executive.

He has broad experience in the biotechnology industry leading SMEs, raising finance and commercialising diagnostics, medical devices, and therapeutics for regulated use in the EU. He was also an expert advisor to the World Health Organisation on medical innovation strategy.

Matthew was also a Director at the venture capital firm CDC, where he was responsible for due diligence and new investment in their $3.5bn international portfolio. He completed his training in corporate finance and international investment banking at Bank of America Hoare Govett and Prudential Bache in New York and London. He has a BA in pure and applied biology from Christ Church, University of Oxford, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, where he also assists in teaching new venture strategy on their MBA programme.

Dr Stephen Ward

Chief Operating Officer

Stephen was appointed as Chief Operating Officer of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in January 2013. He brings over 17 years of biological medicine research, development, and manufacturing experience to the organisation. 

Prior to joining the Catapult, Stephen worked for Stabilitech, Onyvax, and Medeva. At Stabilitech he led the exploitation of the company’s vaccine and biopharmaceutical stabilisation platform, and expanding it into the cell and gene therapy arena. At Onyvax he played a key executive role in the whole-cell cancer vaccine programme and at Medeva he worked on the hepatitis immunotherapy and antigen delivery platform. Prior to this he worked with Prof. Wren at Bart’s Medical School and Prof. Dougan at Imperial College developing novel bacterial vaccines.

Stephen is chair of the BIA’s Manufacturing Advisory Committee and also sits on various academic advisory boards. Stephen has a degree in infection and immunity from University of Birmingham, and a PhD in vaccinology.

Professor Johan Hyllner

Chief Scientific Officer

Johan was appointed Chief Scientific Officer of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in May 2013. As Chief Scientific Officer, he is responsible for external scientific relations, assessment of candidate projects and technical oversight of preclinical programmes.

Johan has extensive experience of the life sciences industry, having worked in cell and tissue companies in Europe and the US for over 15 years. Johan has been involved in numerous transactions and collaborations, establishment of scientific facilities, and the management of scientific programmes in industry and academia.

Johan has a PhD from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and is currently adjunct professor at Linköping University in Sweden.

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