Our management team

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult executive team manage the organisation on a day-to-day basis.

Keith Thompson

Chief Executive Officer

Dedicated to building a Cell and Gene Therapy industry in the UK, Keith has built a team of over 180 cell and gene therapy experts in state-of-the-art laboratories in London and a unique large-scale manufacturing centre in Stevenage.

Keith established the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in 2012. Prior to this he was Director of the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, focused on modernising the blood supply from vein-to-vein and expanding into cell therapy. Keith has held various positions in Biotechnology companies, he was Managing Director of Bioscot, one of Scotland’s first Biotechnology companies; at NASDAQ listed Serologicals he was Vice President of Diagnostics Operations, then Vice President of Global Manufacturing. He is currently a Director of the UK Bio Industry Association, a Director Of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine and serves on the ISCT Strategic Advisory Council. 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, he 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.

Matthew Durdy

Chief Business Officer

Part of the team that created the Catapult, he is also an Executive Director. He is responsible for strategy, and finding, funding and transacting the business of the Catapult.

He has been a champion of the early integration of healthcare economics and reimbursement expertise into decision- making and clinical product design in the sector. He began his career in international investment banking and has successfully managed a number of biotechnology SMEs. His first degree was from Oxford University in Biology and he has an MBA (High Honors) from Chicago Booth. He is a non-executive director of an immune-oncology company and periodically assists the UK Government and international organisations in the development of initiatives in healthcare innovation.

Dr Jacqueline Barry

Chief Clinical Officer

Jacqueline joined Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult as Director of Regulatory Affairs and has since been promoted to Chief Clinical Officer.

Prior to this Jacqueline worked at the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service in a number of senior regulatory and quality positions, the responsibility for which included designing the regulatory strategy for the Cellular Therapies developed by the Blood Transfusion Service, acting as Responsible Person for Blood and Qualified Person for medicinal product release. Before that she held a number of post-Doctoral academic posts at the University of Edinburgh studying neuromuscular regeneration. She has considerable experience in the development, translation, clinical trial and approval of cell based medicinal products and therapies.

Dr Stephen Ward

Chief Manufacturing 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.

James Biggins

Manufacturing Centre Director

James was appointed Manufacturing Centre Director of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in March 2016. Working closely with his Quality colleagues he has day to day responsibility for all operational activities within the Manufacturing Centre.

This encompasses managing the support network required by the multiple collaborator teams to produce their products within the segregated modules.  In addition, he plays a strategic role developing the supply chain cluster around the Centre as well as securing its future sustainability. James has over 20 years production and operations management experience within the UK life sciences industry having previously worked for therapeutic monoclonal antibody contract manufacturers and a number of other biotech & service companies. James has been involved in the process development, manufacture, cryo-storage and distribution of numerous biological products.

Jon Halling

Quality Director

Jon Halling was appointed Quality Director of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in April 2016. He has responsibility for the company quality management system.

This includes all quality assurance related activity which ensures the GMP facility and support services are maintained in strict compliance with the governing regulations, assuring our collaborators that their manufacturing environment is maintained fit for purpose. Jon also has responsibility for the Centre’s quality control service provision which includes raw materials, environmental monitoring, microbiology, in-process and final product testing services.

Jon has over 20 years’ GMP quality experience in regulated pharma and biopharma manufacturing environments including working with diagnostic enzymes, monoclonal antibodies, therapeutic proteins and attenuated viral vaccines for both contract manufacturers and internal innovators.

Dr Michael Bennet

Director of Business Development

Michael is Director of Business Development at Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, managing the business development, intellectual property and legal teams.

Michael is an experienced negotiator who has closed tens of multi-million US dollar revenue generating agreements such as in and out licences and settlement agreements. Previously Michael has held a number of executive management positions and was the Vice President of Business Development and Licensing for Oxford Gene Technology Ltd, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Molecular Sensing Plc, Market Manager for Roche Diagnostics and Product Manager for Hybaid after spending four years as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Bristol and the Royal Free Hospital in London.

He is a chartered biologist (CBiol) holds a BSc (Hons) in Biology from the University of Paisley along with a doctorate (D.Phil) from the University of Oxford.

Dr Damian Marshall

Director of Industrialisation, new and enabling technologies

Damian leads the assay development and validation team which underpins a diverse portfolio of cell therapy products at various stages of clinical maturity from pre-FiM to phase II.

Damian has over 15 years of assay development experience in the cell therapy and life sciences fields having previously managed the R&D portfolios for both SMEs and LGC Ltd and has successfully managed a European life sciences business with an annual turnover in excess of £15million.

Damian graduated with a degree in biological sciences and a PhD in developmental biology from Manchester University.

Julie Kerby

Director of Industrialisation, Manufacturing

Julie has more than 20 years’ experience across large pharma, biotech and academic laboratories, including 7 years at Pfizer Ltd as Biology Lead for a cell replacement therapy for Age Related Macular Degeneration which achieved First-in-Human in 2015.

Working closely with our collaborators she is responsible for the development and technical transfer of cell and gene therapy manufacturing processes ensuring they meet quality and regulatory requirements. Julie holds a BSc. Hons degree in Biology from the University of Southampton

Dr Jonathan Appleby

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr Appleby joined CGT Catapult as Chief Scientific Officer in October 2018. He brings decades of industry experience in cell and gene therapies and drug development, having extensive experience in the development of cell and gene therapies as well as across conventional drug modalities.

Prior to joining GSK’s Rare Diseases Unit, Dr Appleby was Project Leader and Portfolio Manager at the GSK Centre of Excellence for External Drug Development. In this role, he discovered, in-licensed and developed new technologies and assets with SME companies across a broad range of therapeutic areas. Dr Appleby graduated from the University of Leeds with an honours degree in Genetics and a PhD from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Stephen Alford

Interim Chief Financial Officer

Stephen was appointed as Interim Chief Finance Officer of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in July 2018.

Stephen is a Chartered Management Accountant and has broad experience from several industries including Telecoms, IT and Insurance working in SMEs, Multinational and International corporations. He was the Interim CFO of Prudential PGDS and has participated in the successful divestment and IPO with Direct Line Group Plc and held senior management roles in Motorola, AOL, and the startup 3, part of the Hutchison Whampoa Group. His experience has covered all aspects of finance including financial planning and strategy, decision support, manufacturing/distribution, IT systems implementations and HR. Stephen has an MBA from the University of Leicester.


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