The Technology Strategy Board has announced the appointment of Dr John Brown CBE, FRSE as Chairman of the Cell Therapy Catapult centre. The new Cell Therapy Catapult will work to grow a viable and sustainable cell therapy industry in the UK with access to finance, clinical and technical expertise to allow the rapid exploitation of cell therapies. The Catapult will enable the UK to be a global leader in the development and commercial exploitation of cell therapies and encourage inward investment to support the growth of the commercial sector. It will also work with UK companies to help turn innovations in cell therapies into commercial products capable of transforming the lives of people with serious or chronic illnesses.
Dr Brown brings with him over 30 years experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector. During his career Dr Brown has held a variety of positions that will be relevant to the Catapult including CEO and Finance Director of UK vaccine company Acambis plc, Chairman of medical diagnostics company Axis-Shield plc and Chairman of specialist healthcare company, BTG plc.
Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, said: “Innovation and technology are an important part of our emerging industrial strategy, and the Catapult programme is central to making sure we are delivering the long term support and development that sectors like Cell Therapy require.
“This is an exciting time for the Cell Therapy Catapult, as it is only weeks away from opening its doors. John Brown has a wealth of experience in running businesses in the life sciences sector, and the skills he can bring to the table are exactly what we need to help get this latest Catapult off the ground.”
Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: “We are delighted that John Brown has joined the Cell Therapy Catapult team as they prepare to open for business. His experience chairing and participating in bio-technology boardrooms and knowledge of the healthcare sector will help steer the team through this crucial period.”
Keith Thompson, CEO of the Cell Therapy Catapult said: “John has consistently guided life science companies and organisations to deliver value to patients, investors and other stakeholders. His extensive experience and connections will be invaluable to the Catapult as we strive to help grow a cell therapy industry that brings health and wealth to the UK.”
Commenting on his appointment, Dr John Brown said: “The Cell Therapy Catapult will position the UK as the leader in this new area of medicine. Translating great science into products will deliver benefits both for patients but also our economy and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to build on the great foundation of work that the Technology Strategy Board has already done.”
The Cell Therapy Catapult is part of a network of world-leading technology and innovation centres being established and overseen by the Technology Strategy Board as a long-term investment that will open up global opportunities for the UK and generate economic growth for the future.
The Cell Therapy Catapult is located in the Tower wing, Guy’s Hospital. The High Value Manufacturing Catapult is already open and the centres for offshore renewable energy, satellite applications and connect digital economy, will open later this year. Catapults for future cities and transport systems have also been announced.