Marc Rogers PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Marc has extensive experience managing screening projects and outsourcing preclinical drug discovery work, and leads our biology teams for international pharma collaborations and UK and European grant projects. Trained as a physiologist (NZ) and neuroscientist (Australia), Marc undertook an extensive postdoctoral career in the US (Baylor College of Medicine, University of Hawaii, UCSF) training in ion channel biophysics, neurosecretion, and synaptic physiology using a range of patch clamp electrophysiology and fluorescence imaging techniques. He carried out ion channel assay development and automated patch clamp screening at Exelixis in the Bay area before moving to the UK in 2005 to  develop ion channel assays on various automated patch clamp platforms (AutoPatch, Patchliner, QPatch) at Xention, specialising in Nav, Cav and TRP channels for pain, Kv channels in auto-immune disease, and cardiac safety panels.

Andrew Southan PhD

Chief Operating Officer

Andy has over 25 years’ experience in life science research, including 14 years in the CRO sector.  In 1991 he received his PhD in Pharmacology from the University of London (UK), investigating the effects of anaesthetics and high pressure on CNS potassium channels.  Following a move to industry Andy worked as a brain slice electrophysiologist supporting ion channel-based CNS programmes at Wyeth (UK), before moving to Imperial College London where he published the first patch-clamp recordings from cerebellar inhibitory nerve terminals.  At CeNeS Pharmaceuticals he performed CRO services (hERG, nAChR) and internal research on HCN and two-pore channels.  He subsequently established the electrophysiology laboratory for Ionix Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on identifying novel pain therapeutics, where he worked on Nav, Cav and mechanosenstive ion channels.  Before joining Metrion Andy spent 12 years in leadership roles at BioFocus and Charles River managing stand-alone projects, multi-year collaborations and fully integrated drug discovery programmes.

James Beaumont MSc

Head of Business Development

James brings to Metrion over 20 years ‘experience within sales, marketing and business development roles; including seven years within the CRO sector. James studied at the University of Sheffield, receiving his BSc (Hons) in Chemistry in 1986 and MSc investigating the generation of naphthalene sulfonamides as inhibitors of calmodulin action in 1989. Following his university studies James held a variety of chemical development and sales positions at Genzyme Pharmaceuticals before he moved to Evotec (Abingdon) in 2003 where, in his role as Vice President Business Development, he secured significant new business for the company and managed multimillion Euro sales budgets. He helped drive the growth of Dextra Laboratories (Reading) and PhosphonicS (Abingdon) in roles as Sales Director and Business Development Director. As Sales Director at Aptuit (Abingdon), James directed a team of account managers and was responsible for a multimillion dollar sales account across Europe and North America. Before joining Metrion James was business Development Director, NZP-Dextra (Reading) where he established e-commerce portals for NZP and Dextra subsidiaries and expanded the companies fee-for-service custom synthesis business.

Kathy Sutton PhD

Principal Scientist (Project Manager)

Kathy has worked in the ion channel field for over 24 years, and has extensive experience in managing and outsourcing ion channel drug discovery projects within both large pharma and the biotech industry. She received her Ph.D. from the University of London (UK) in 1995, characterising voltage gated calcium channels in DRG neurons using the manual patch-clamp technique. Kathy continued her interest in Cav channels during postdoctoral research with Terry Snutch at the University of British Columbia (Canada). In 2001, she returned to the UK to work on a number of preclinical pain targets at Parke-Davis (Pfizer) and Merck Sharp and Dohme (Terlings Park). Before joining Metrion, Kathy led internal and external ion channel drug discovery projects at Xention (FLEXStation, FLIPR, Patchliner, QPatch) and was also responsible for managing grant-funded assay development activities (MEA).

Robert Kirby PhD

Group Leader (CRO Services)

Robert is a skilled pharmacologist with over 10 years’ experience in ion channel drug discovery. At Metrion Robert leads the team working on a major collaborative drug discovery project with an international pharma company. He also co-ordinates screening activities for CRO work including Metrion’s panel of CiPA cardiac assays. Prior to his role at Metrion Robert was a Principal Scientist at Xention Ltd (UK) where he lead screening campaigns on behalf of clients for a variety of ion channel targets (Nav1.x, Cav1.x, Cav2.x, Kv1.x, TRPx, Kirx, gIRK, ICrac, HCN and hERG) using automated patch clamp electrophysiology (QPatch, PatchLiner) and fluorescence-based screening platforms (FLIPR, FLEXStation). Prior to this Robert obtained his PhD (Sheffield Hallam, UK) investigating a novel pharmacophore for BK potassium channel openers and spent a year at Drexel University (USA) researching the role of GPCR’s in autoimmune disease.

Louise Webdale

Principal Scientist (Cell Culture Manager)

Louise has worked in the ion channel field for over 25 years, within both large pharma and biotech industry positions.  After obtaining a Biology degree specialising in Mammalian Physiology she started her career developing diagnostic ELISA kits for the veterinary industry within Cambridge Life Sciences. Following this, she joined the Assay Development group at Parke-Davis Neuroscience Research Centre (Pfizer), Cambridge, where she was a founder member of the Cell Culture Department and over a period of 11 years supplied reagents to support projects within the Cambridge and Sandwich sites. She then moved to Cytomyx (Millipore) to create the Cell Culture Department and was fundamental in the developing of over 120 ion channel and GPCR cell lines, sold worldwide under the PrecisION trademark.  Since 2009, Louise has continued her interest in ion channel biology, initially at Xention Discovery and more recently at Metrion Biosciences where she is Cell Culture Manager. Current responsibilities include supplying cell reagents to support all internal and CRO based projects using recombinant expression systems, primary cell lines and Induced Pluripotent Stem cells (iPSCs).

Tony Rush PhD

Senior Scientist (Neuroscience and Translational Assays)

Tony has been an ion channel researcher for over 20 years across academia and industry and is widely published in the area. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Dundee (UK) characterising sodium channels of DRG neurons using the patch-clamp technique. He then studied hippocampal synaptic plasticity at Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) , before continuing sodium channel research with Stephen Waxman at Yale University (USA). Subsequently, Tony co-ordinated ion channel contracts at NeuroSolutions Ltd (UK), taking projects on multiple targets from initial discussions through to completion for a wide variety of clients in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. He moved to AstraZeneca (Sweden) to work on preclinical pain targets where he was lead biologist for a number of ion channel programmes and large scale screens (IonWorks, QPatch, manual patch). Tony returned to the UK where he worked on ion channel screening projects (Patchliner) and translational neuroscience assays (MEA, manual patch) for external partners and grant-based projects firstly at Xention, and now at Metrion.

John Ridley PhD

Business Manager

John has a dual role at Metrion that involves business development activities and performing electrophysiology studies in the lab. He has 10 years’ experience working in ion channel drug discovery. This experience was obtained firstly as a Senior Scientist at Xention, where he was involved in the discovery of ion channel blockers for atrial fibrillation, neuropathic pain and autoimmune diseases, and then as the Business Development Manager at Xention. John is also the Business Development Director for Cambridge Animal Health, which is a company that is dedicated to developing a non-surgical technology to neuter cats and dogs of both sexes. Additionally, he co-founded Inovion Pharma, which is focused on finding therapies for rare disease channelopathies. John holds a PhD in cardiac electrophysiology from the University of Bristol and an MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise from the University of Cambridge.