The Executive Management Team is responsible for the day-to-day running of the charity under authority delegated by the Board of Trustees. The team, under the leadership of the CEO, proposes to the Board where the charity should invest its time, money and expertise. It is also responsible for developing the financial and operational plans for Board approval and monitoring financial performance.
Dr Melanie Lee
LifeArc’s CEO Dr Melanie Lee, PhD, CBE. Prior to joining LifeArc Melanie pursued a 30 year career in healthcare R&D and gained leadership experience both from the biopharmaceutical industry and from the medical research charity sector. Melanie’s previous roles have included Chief Scientific Officer at BTG (most recently) as well as senior positions at GSK, Celltech and UCB. She has previously held Trustee appointments at Cancer Research Technology and Cancer Research UK and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Sanofi.
Dr Edward Bliss is General Counsel and Company Secretary of LifeArc and heads up LifeArc’s Legal division. In this role he is responsible for all governance, licensing, compliance, and in-house legal affairs.
Edward joined from Shire Pharmaceuticals plc, where he was Legal Director and lead counsel for Shire’s European Neuroscience business division, and provided legal support to its product wide Nordic and Russian businesses. Prior to Shire Edward was General Counsel and Company Secretary at Ark Therapeutics Group Plc, a research based, late development stage gene-therapy company listed on the London Stock exchange.
Edward joined Ark from private practice with the international life sciences law firm Covington and Burling LLP working in the firm’s London offices and practiced a wide area of IP licensing, commercial agreements, corporate transactions and regulatory matters relating to the pharma and biotech industries.
A solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales, Edward also holds a Bachelors degree in Physiology, Masters degree in Neuroendocrine Cell Biology and PhD in Neuroscience.
Graham Duce is LifeArc’s Chief Investment Officer (CIO), responsible for managing the proceeds from LifeArc’s monetisation of our royalty interest in Keytruda® (pembrolizumab) and ensuring that we have a sustainable approach to income generation.
Prior to joining LifeArc, Graham was Global Head of Distribution Solutions at Aberdeen Standard Investments, having first started with the company as portfolio manager and progressing to become the holder of a successful career in multi-asset investments with a proven track record in both retail and institutional funds.
Graham works alongside David Zahn, who was appointed in 2019 as Board trustee and Chair of the Investment Management Committee.
Andrew Farquharson, M.Sc., European Patent Attorney, is LifeArc’s Executive Director of Technology Transfer.
Andrew leads the team responsible for identifying, protecting and progressing promising life science research to improve human health. He has many years’ experience of intellectual property law and government affairs in the pharmaceutical industry and private legal practice. He joined LifeArc in 2015, having spent most of his career at AstraZeneca, where he worked in the UK and the USA in his role as Senior Director of Biologics IP and Director of External IP Affairs.
He has also worked independently for the Wellcome Trust and many small biotechs, as well as supported biopharma trade associations EFPIA and IFPMA in the development of their IP and access strategies. Andrew was appointed by the EU Commission to the expert group advising the Commission on EU legislation and its impact on the life sciences sector.
Fiona French is Executive Director of HR at LifeArc, delivering an HR agenda to enable the business to deliver its corporate goals and business strategy.
Fiona has over 20 years’ leadership experience, working as an HR Director in both a permanent and interim capacity across a number of sectors and businesses.
Fiona has a passion for partnering with businesses to release the potential and performance of their people to meet business goals. Her experience includes enabling organisations to be effective, including the development of leaders the management of talent and working to deliver strategic change, she has a relentless focus on brilliant execution and delivery.
As a committed people leader and coach, Fiona delivers results through others via direct leadership, performance coaching, sharing best practice and developing strong partnerships with business leaders.
Dr Dave Powell joined LifeArc as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) in 2022, as the next step in his 25 years in R&D. With cross therapeutic experience in drug discovery and development across big pharma and biotech, Dave is passionate about discovery innovation, breaking down borders between industry and academia and in training the next generation of drug discovery scientists.
Dave’s previous roles include leading preclinical drug discovery and the phase lll antibiotic research programme at Summit Therapeutics. He began his life sciences career at SmithKline Beecham (now GSK), gaining deep platform and project experience across numerous therapeutic areas, including neurosciences, oncology and infectious disease. Dave helped to start and then led the collaboration between GSK and the Francis Crick Institute in London.
Dr Karen Skinner is LifeArc’s Chief Project and Portfolio Officer accountable for shaping and leading our portfolio of Translational Challenges. She is passionate about accelerating the progress of scientific discoveries to create medical breakthroughs through effective project leadership and management.
Karen has more than 25 years’ experience within life sciences, from early exploratory to launch in a variety of therapeutic areas, having held numerous global leadership roles in portfolio management, pre-clinical and clinical development, R&D operations, product development and alliance management.
Prior to LifeArc, Karen held the role of VP Immuno-Oncology at the high-growth biotech BTG, where she was accountable for building their immunotherapy research portfolio through in-house research and collaborative partnerships. She began her R&D career within the pharmaceutical industry at Merck where she gained a strong grounding in drug discovery and has a DPhil in Pharmacology from the University of Oxford.
Early Ventures Funding
Clare Terlouw is Head of LifeArc Ventures, responsible for LifeArc’s investments across the life science sector.
She is the head of the investment team and a member of the Early Ventures Investment Committee. Clare oversees the Early Ventures strategy at LifeArc, which is a seed to Series A investment strategy, with the ability to further fund select companies into later rounds of funding. LifeArc’s investment strategy is to seek to generate positive impact on patients and financial returns by investing in early translational sciences and technologies in areas of high unmet patient need.
Clare was previously at Syncona Investment Management Ltd, a FTSE250 healthcare investment trust, where she was Head of Corporate Development. Syncona founds and builds life sciences companies to deliver transformational treatments to patients. She has 15 years of biotech and healthcare financing experience as an investment banker in the City of London, previously a Managing Director at Numis Securities, with significant expertise in growth funding for innovative life sciences companies in the private and public markets.
Clare is also a board member of the BioIndustry Association, a non-executive director of Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, and an investor director on a number of private venture backed companies.
Imran Hamid is Senior Investment Principal, responsible for both leading new investments and managing existing portfolio companies.
Imran has over 15 years of biopharma, digital health and med tech experience with a career spanning clinical practice, strategy, entrepreneurship, M&A, R&D and venture investing.
Prior to joining LifeArc, Imran was Senior Director of New Ventures and Transactions at Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Director of Business Development and Licensing at Mallinckrodt and Director of Commercial Discovery at Merck & Co.
Imran received his medical degree from Imperial College London, where he graduated with joint honours from the Imperial College Business School. He is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.
Sohaib Mir is a Senior Investment Principal at LifeArc.
Most recently he was an Investment Director with ALSA Ventures, focused on therapeutics investing. Prior to that he was a Principal at Cambridge Innovation Capital and he has also worked at Perella Weinberg Partners.
Sohaib qualified in Medicine at the University of Birmingham where he also completed a PhD in CNS regeneration. He practised medicine at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and gained an MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise from the University of Cambridge.
Chris is an Investment Principal.
He was most recently an Associate at the trans-Atlantic venture investor Advent Life Sciences, leading the diligence on a range of therapeutic and medical device opportunities, and supporting the growth of several portfolio companies.
Prior to that, Chris worked for ten years in the University technology transfer sector with UCL Business and Cancer Research Technology. He successfully supported and commercialised a number of oncology and gene and cell therapy opportunities, and in addition, he was involved in executing a number of strategic initiatives such as the CRUK Stratified Medicine Programme and Grand Challenge awards.
Chris received his M.Biochem from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Genetics from the University of Cambridge in the lab of Prof. Fiona Watt.
Enrique joined LifeArc as Investment Principal in March 2019.
Prior to LifeArc, Enrique was corporate development associate at Mereo BioPharma, where he was involved in new product acquisitions of clinical programmes in rare diseases and niche specialty indications. He also worked as a life sciences strategic consultant and held business development positions at Vernalis and CellCentric.
Earlier, he carried out postdoctoral research in stem cell biology at Universities of Cambridge and Chicago. Enrique holds a PhD in Molecular Medicine from Manchester University, and an MBA from Cambridge Judge Business School.
Business Development (BD)
Identifies and acquires projects and seeks commercial partners.
Dr Linda Bradley is LifeArc’s Head of Business Development, responsible for leading LifeArc’s commercial partnerships and alliance management activities. She will work on the delivery of business development to ensure that assets partnered, created or developed by LifeArc will have the best chance of success to reach patients. She reports into LifeArc’s Chief Business Officer, Dr Ian Campbell.
With over 25 years of business development experience in the pharmaceutical industry, most recently at GSK, Linda has a strong track record of leading teams to in-license, divest and establish collaborative alliances for both technology platforms and development assets, as well as the ability to meet strategic and financial goals. She has worked and led teams in both the US and UK, and has led deals in Asia, US, and Europe.
Linda has a scientific background in genetics and a PhD in molecular immunology.
Kevin is responsible for identifying early stage targets, small molecules and monoclonal antibodies for our drug discovery group and the licensing of mature programmes to industry.
Dr Niall McLaren is Business Development Manager, responsible mainly for diagnostic opportunities, commercial partnerships, and collaboration activities.
Reporting to Linda Bradley, Head of Business Development, Niall works to ensure opportunities provide the maximum impact for patients.
Niall originally trained as a Molecular Biologist and is a Saltire Fellow with over 15 years’ experience within the Life Sciences industry, working across a number of areas including: Preclinical, Clinical Trial Supply and diagnostic software.
Derek is responsible for identifying early stage targets, small molecules and monoclonal antibodies for our drug discovery group and the licensing of mature programmes to industry.
Bouran is responsible for sourcing new partnerships and collaboration activities, along with licensing of programmes to industry. She holds a PhD in Biotechnology and a BSc in Biochemistry, both from University College London.
Zhang is responsible for identifying early stage targets, small molecules and monoclonal antibodies for our drug discovery group and the licensing of mature programmes to industry, particularly in China.
Diagnostics and Therapeutics
Translating cutting-edge science into therapeutic and diagnostic assets that will transform the lives of patients
Jeff joined LifeArc in 2010 and leads a team of multidisciplinary biologists supporting early-phase preclinical drug discovery and target validation. The teams are involved in reagent generation, assay development, hit ID, iterative profiling, later stage optimisation and bespoke in-depth mechanistic interrogation for small molecules and therapeutic antibodies, as well as non-traditional modalities.
Jeff has a passion for delivering safe and efficacious medicines, not least through reducing late-stage drug attrition.
He is a pharmacologist and prior to joining LifeArc spent 20 years as a neuroscientist with GSK, where he supported the development of therapeutics for both psychiatric and neurodegenerative disease.
Andy manages a team of medicinal, analytical and computational chemists who carry out early stage drug discovery, including hit-to-lead development at our Centre for Therapeutics Discovery.
Tech Transfer and Philanthropic Funding
Technology transfer expertise and strategic translation advice for our partners. Advice and funding for charities and rare disease projects.
Associate Director, Technology Transfer and Philanthropic Fund
Rachael works as part of the team delivering the LifeArc Philanthropic Fund, is Development Gap Fund Manager and provides technology transfer services to the LMB PNAC (shared).
Sandra is part of a team that provides technology transfer services to MRC researchers at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences.
Sandra also leads the management of the MRC’s research reagent catalogue and LifeArc’s expert advice service Advise & Connect. After completing a PhD at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and post-doctoral training at Stanford, Sandra transitioned into a career in technology transfer and academia-industry partnerships first at Imperial College London and now at LifeArc.
Georgia leads a team of LifeArc Business Managers who provide technology transfer support to the Medical Research Council.
Georgia also leads the LifeArc Technology Transfer Fellows Programme. Georgia holds a PhD from University College London in Cardiovascular Medicine. After completing post-doctoral training at the CRUK London Research Institute, Georgia joined GSK as a Principal Scientist before starting her career in technology transfer at Cancer Research Technology.
Kieran provides technology transfer services to the Mary Lyon Centre at MRC Harwell and is part of the team that supports scientists at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB). He also leads the management of MRC’s Reagents Catalogue, a portfolio of research tools and reagents that are made available for use and licensing by the wider scientific community.
Kieran has a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Oxford and a PhD in chemical biology from the University in Bristol. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, before joining adMare BioInnovations, a Canadian leader in the translation and commercialisation of life science research. Prior to joining LifeArc, Kieran supported industry partnerships for Queen Mary University of London’s Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry.
Elliott is part of a team that provides technology transfer services to MRC researchers at the MRC Harwell Institute, the MRC Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology.
Previously, Elliott was a Technology Transfer Fellow on the LifeArc Technology Transfer Fellows Programme, a one-year training programme where he received technology transfer training from LifeArc, UCL Business, Imperial College Innovations and Queen Mary Innovation. Elliott holds a PhD from Imperial College London in Molecular and Cellular Microbiology.
Madhu looks after IP issues for our charity partners.
Anji manages all IP, contractual and technology transfer matters arising from the MRC Prion Unit.
François-Xavier is part of a team that provides technology transfer services to MRC researchers at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology.
Prior to joining LifeArc in 2015, François-Xavier was an Intellectual Property Analyst at GALVmed, a charity supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development, where he was responsible for the management of their IP portfolio and legal matters. François-Xavier holds a MSc in Biotechnology and Enterprise from the University of Exeter.
Steven covers Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (MMC & HGU) and MRC Clincal Sciences Centre (shared).