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

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.

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.

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.

Maggie Payne

Director of Corporate Services

Maggie was appointed as Director of Corporate Services of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in September 2014.

Maggie is a Chartered Accountant and has broad experience from a wide variety of companies including both SMEs and International corporations. She was the CFO of Provensis and has participated in several rights issues, acquisitions and divestments. Her experience has largely been in the specialty and agro chemicals space or in medical devices and pharma, in a range of roles including decision support, strategy, manufacturing, systems implementations and reporting. Maggie has a BA in Economics from the University of York.

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


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