Keith McCullagh PhD
Keith McCullagh is an experienced bioscience entrepreneur and is also chairman of Xention, Ario Pharma and Torpedo Factory Group. He was previously chairman of Affitech, Pharmacy 2U and Clavis Pharma and from 2004 to 2008 was Chief Executive of Santaris Pharma, an RNA medicines company sold to Roche in 2014. From 1986 to 1998, Keith was Chief Executive of British Biotech, now Vernalis, a company he founded and built into one of Europe’s first public biopharmaceutical businesses. Prior to British Biotech, he was UK Research Director for GD Searle & Co, Inc., now part of Pfizer. He holds a degree in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Bristol and a PhD in Pathology from the University of Cambridge.
John Ford PhD
John has almost 20 years of fundraising, ion channel, drug discovery and drug development experience. In addition to being Investor Director at Metrion Biosciences, John is CEO of Ario Pharma where he leads programs designed to a develop TRP channel drugs for pain and CEO of Enterprise Therapeutics a company evaluating novel therapies for respiratory disease. Previously, John was a co-founder of Xention Discovery Ltd. Where he was responsible for the Kv1.5 ion channel atrial fibrillation project which was partnered to Servier (up to 120M EUR). Recently, John was a member of the Executive Team at Dezima that developed TA-8995 for dyslipidaemia (The Lancet) and sold the company to Amgen ($300M upfront, potential deal size of US$1.55bn + royalties). Other positions include Team Leader for Receptors and Channel Drug Discovery at BioFocus plc in Cambridge, UK. He obtained his PhD at the University of Leeds where he worked on the structure and function of TRP channels.
Marc Rogers PhD
Founding Director and Chief Scientific Officer
Marc is a trained neuroscientist with 25 years’ experience in the patch clamp technique from a number of prestigious international universities and 12 years of drug discovery on both sides of the Atlantic. He was an early adopter of automated patch clamp platforms for ion channel screening and has an excellent knowledge of this market and connections with many of the commercial vendors. Marc has developed an extensive network of contacts in Europe and the US through his outsourcing activities and presentations at international ion channel drug discovery conferences. He is an experienced project manager and team leader through his work on international pharma and grant-funded collaborations, as well as a successful grant writer in the UK, Europe and the US. Before becoming the founding director of Metrion Biosciences he co-founded the virtual biotech Inovion Pharma to focus on finding therapies for rare disease channelopathies.
Andy Southan PhD
Executive Director and 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.
Finance Director and Company Secretary
Nick graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in Economics in 1993, he then trained with Ernst & Young (EY) in London, becoming a Chartered Accountant in 1998. His many clients at EY included Polygram, Warner Music, Legoland Windsor, BP and Whitbread. He joined Whitbread in 1998, working in the Corporate, Pubs and Bars (where he was a key part of the disposal work to Laurel Pub Company in 2001), and David Lloyd Leisure divisions. In 2002, he co-founded and was Finance Director of The Great Little Pub Company, and during his time there also undertook project assignments at Aviva, Acambis, and SIG Group. He was Head of Finance at Black Trace Group from 2006 to 2012, being instrumental in its expansion overseas to the US, Japan, India and Brazil. He was part of the team that sold Qype to Yelp in 2013, and was CFO of Ranier Technology in Cambridge until 2015, where he oversaw 2 funding rounds and also helped gain Venture Debt funding for the business. He is currently Associate Director of Denovo Partners Ltd., helping Technology and Life Science SMEs set-up, grow and manage their finance, HR and administrative burdens.
Barry Kenny PhD
Barry Kenny joined the Metrion Biosciences Board of Directors in March 2018 and is currently Chief Business Officer of Heptares Therapeutics Ltd, now part of Sosei Group. He was previously Vice President, Drug Discovery at Takeda Cambridge, and Commercial Director at Paradigm Therapeutics. Dr Kenny co-founded Cambridge Drug Discovery (CDD) in 1997, and was Director of Business Development for BioFocus following its merger with CDD in 2001. Before this, Barry was at Pfizer Central Research, and spent eight years at Syntex Research Scotland, where he completed his PhD and post-doctoral studies.