The Cell Medica Approach

Cell Medica is committed to transforming the lives of patients with cancer and is leading the development of off-the-shelf engineered CAR-NKT cell therapies.

Our approach combines the highly differentiated, natural biology of a specific subset of cytotoxic T cells, called Natural Killer T cells (NKT cells) and innovative CAR construct engineering. In combination, this delivers a very compelling and unique platform, that we believe has the potential to produce many future therapies targeting both hematological and solid tumors.

The Team

Senior Management Team

Chris Nowers
CEO, Chief Executive Officer
Chris Nowers

Chris joined Cell Medica from the cancer immunotherapy company Kite Pharma (Kite), where he was Head of Europe and responsible for the full commercialisation of the CAR-T therapy axicabtagene ciloleucel.

At Kite, he built the European organisation from the ground up and, post the $12 Bn acquisition by Gilead Sciences in 2017, was subsequently responsible for the continued expansion of the Kite organisation within the Europe, Middle East and Africa structure.

Previous to his role at Kite, he has had a career spanning more than 25 years in the biopharma industry. He has held a number of senior leadership roles that included CEO of Avantogen Oncology, General Management roles at Amgen, and senior global and regional commercial leadership roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS).  Whilst at BMS, he built and led teams that delivered the successful launches of the checkpoint inhibitors ipilimumab and nivolumab.

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Karen Hodgkin
COO, Chief Operating Officer
Karen Hodgkin

Karen has over 35 years of experience in the pharma and biotech industries, which has been invaluable in the creation of Cell Medica’s highly-efficientoperations. After 9 years as SVP ClinicalDevelopment, Karen moved to become Cell Medica’s Chief Operating Officer in September 2016 and now oversees Manufacturing, Quality, Programme Management, Human Resources and Information Technology.

In the past, Karen has worked for Boehringer Ingelheim (UK), ICN Pharmaceuticals (UK) and British Biotech (UK/US) and as a clinical operations consultant in the US. Her experience spans a range of therapeutic applications and has been acquired whilst running single and multicenter studies globally.

Karen has a Diploma in Clinical Science from the University of Wales Institute of Science & Technology, an MSc in Biopharmacy from King’s College London and a BSc in Pharmacology from Leeds University in the UK.

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Kevin Boyle
CFO, Chief Financial Officer
Kevin Boyle

Kevin has over 20 years of diversified finance experience helping companies define and achieve strategic financial objectives. He has broad international experience with both public and private companies and has raised over $2.0 billion in capital over his career.

Before joining Cell Medica, Kevin served as Chief Financial Officer of FloWorks International and had held previous senior finance roles at Sigma Cubed, RecoverCare and SPT.  Kevin graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a B.S. in Industrial Management, and earned his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He is active in the Houston community, serving as Treasurer of The Center for Hearing and Speech and on the Advisory Board of the Hermann Park Conservancy.

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Dr Ross Durland
SVP, Product Development
Dr Ross Durland

Ross has nearly 30 years of experience in the development of innovative therapeutic products and technologies and is responsible for spearheading the product development process at Cell Medica.

His experience includes eight years developing human gene therapies at Valentis, where he became Senior Director Preclinical Development. In this role, he led multisite, multidisciplinary product development teams, advancing two new gene therapy products from animal proof-of-concept to human clinical testing, and supported development of five additional clinical stage products through Phase IIb testing. He was also responsible for Valentis’ manufacturing and quality control functions in manufacturing products for preclinical and clinical testing. Ross also served as Vice President of Product Development at Altea Therapeutics, where he led preclinical and clinical development of two novel human transdermal therapeutic products.

Ross has a PhD in molecular biology from the University of California San Diego and a BS in biology from Texas A&M University.

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Dr Kurt Gunter
CMO, Chief Medical Officer
Dr Kurt Gunter

Kurt has devoted his career to the development of cell and gene therapies and brings significant commercial experience to Cell Medica from his previous positions at Hospira, ViaCell, and Transkaryotic Therapies. At Cell Medica, Kurt is in charge of Clinical Operations, Medical and Scientific Affairs and Regulatory Affairs.

As past President of the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT), Kurt played a worldwide leadership role in promoting understanding of the clinical, regulatory, manufacturing, and marketing requirements for the successful development of cell and gene therapies. Prior to his biotech career, he worked at the United States Food and Drug Administration as a Medical Officer in the Center for Biologics and was appointed Acting Deputy Director of the Division of Cell and Gene Therapy within the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

Kurt earned his MD from the University of Kansas and also has a BS in biological sciences, with distinction, from Stanford University. His postdoctoral training included Johns Hopkins and the US National Institutes of Health.

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Dr Stefanos Theoharis
SVP, Corporate Development and Partnering
Dr Stefanos Theoharis

Stefanos joined Cell Medica to lead our partnering activities, bringing a combination of academic, business development, project management and finance skills.

Following his PhD, Stefanos worked as a post-doctoral researcher at Imperial College, whilst also working for six years in parallel as a paid consultant to the London Technology Network, a government-funded organization bridging the gap between industry and academia. Subsequently, Stefanos joined Lazard, the investment bank, as a member of the life science M&A team and then Roche Partnering, as Director of Emerging Technologies, where he participated in multiple licensing deals, with a focus on novel innovative technologies. He then joined Antisense Pharma as Head of BD. Prior to joining Cell Medica, Stefanos was CBO for apceth in Munich, where he was responsible for business development on the company’s first-in-man engineered cell therapy platform and its GMP manufacturing business, as well as project management, and communications.

Stefanos holds a PhD in gene therapy and immunology and a MSc in Molecular Medicine both from Imperial College.

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Zafar Qadir
Vice President and Legal Counsel
Zafar Qadir

Zafar joined Cell Medica in 2015 and manages Cell Medica’s legal and IP functions. Zafar also serves as Cell Medica’s Company Secretary. Before joining Cell Medica Zafar was an associate in the Life Sciences team at Covington & Burling LLP. At Covington Zafar advised a large range of life sciences clients, including biotech, mid-cap and big pharma.

Zafar holds a Graduate Diploma in Law from City University, London, and an Mbiol (hons) in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Bath. Zafar is qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales.

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Board of Directors

Chris Nowers
CEO, Chief Executive Officer
Chris Nowers

Chris joined Cell Medica from the cancer immunotherapy company Kite Pharma (Kite), where he was Head of Europe and responsible for the full commercialisation of the CAR-T therapy axicabtagene ciloleucel.

At Kite he built the European organisation from the ground up and, post the $12 Bn acquisition by Gilead Sciences in 2017, was subsequently responsible for the continued expansion of the Kite organisation within the Europe, Middle East and Africa structure.

Previous to his role at Kite, he has had a career spanning more than 25 years in the biopharma industry. He has held a number of senior leadership roles that included CEO of Avantogen Oncology, General Management roles at Amgen, and senior global and regional commercial leadership roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS).  Whilst at BMS, he built and led teams that delivered the successful launches of the checkpoint inhibitors ipilimumab and nivolumab.

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Dr Annalisa Jenkins
Chair of the Board of Directors
Dr Annalisa Jenkins

Annalisa Jenkins, MBBS, FRCP, joined the Board of Directors as Chairperson in December 2017. Prior to joining Cell Medica, Dr. Jenkins served as President and CEO of Dimension Therapeutics and held multiple leadership positions, including Executive Vice President, Head of Global Research and Development for Merck Serono, where she led global medical affairs and quality and was a member the Pharmaceutical Executive Committee.

Prior to this, Dr. Jenkins had a successful 14-year career at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), attaining the role of Senior Vice President and Head of Global Medical Affairs. Dr. Jenkins graduated with a degree in medicine from St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, University of London and subsequently trained in cardiovascular medicine in the U.K. National Health Service. Dr. Jenkins is a board member of several growing companies and a member of the Science Board to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  She also serves on the board of the Center for Talent Innovation in the U.K.

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Dr Thomas Hecht
Non-Executive Director
Dr Thomas Hecht

Thomas has been on the Cell Medica Board since 2012 and he was Chairman until December 2017. He was previously Vice President Marketing at Amgen Europe, Lucerne, Switzerland. Following his academic career, he held various positions of increasing responsibility in clinical development, medical affairs and marketing at Amgen between 1989 and 2002. Prior to joining the biopharmaceutical industry, he served as Co-Head of the Program for Bone Marrow Transplantation, University of Freiburg, Germany.

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Julia P. Gregory
Non-Executive Director and Audit Chair
Julia P. Gregory

Julia P. Gregory, Chairman and CEO of Isometry Advisors, Inc., a biotechnology financial and management advisory firm, has 16 years of executive management experience and 20 years of investment banking experience. As an executive, she successfully raised more than $1.5 billion for her companies through initial public offerings, public and private offerings and creative strategic alliances including GlaxoSmithKline, BristolMyers Squibb, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Genentech, (Roche) and Human Genome Sciences (GSK), among others.

She was formerly CEO of the novel antibiotics company, ContraFect Corporation, CEO of FivePrime Therapeutics, an immuno-oncology company, and EVP, Head of Corporate Development and CFO of Lexicon Pharmaceuticals where she lead the Company’s $220 million IPO.  She is currently on the board of directors of Iconic Therapeutics, IMV Corporation, the Sosei Group and Biohaven Therapeutics. Ms. Gregory attained a Masters of Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and earned her B.A. at the George Washington University.

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Dr Allan Marchington
Non-Executive Director
Dr Allan Marchington

Allan Marchington is an experienced investor with a strong track record of success. In 2006 Allan and his Partners founded Apposite Capital, an international healthcare investment company based in London. While at Apposite, Allan has served on the Board of a number of companies including Calchan Ltd., Birdrock Bio Inc., Ambrx Inc., Ambit Biosciences Inc., Convergence Pharmaceuticals Ltd, and Sotera Wireless. Prior to establishing Apposite, Allan worked in a number of senior roles, including Entrepreneur in Residence, Abingworth Management and Senior Vice President, Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. based in Cambridge Mass. Prior to Millennium, Allan was principal founder and CEO of Cambridge Combinatorial, a combinatorial chemistry company which was successfully sold to Millennium in 2000. Allan has a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Liverpool and after leaving University, worked for seven years in a range of therapeutic areas at Pfizer.

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Dr Sam Williams
Non-Executive Director
Dr Sam Williams

Sam is Managing Partner, Life Sciences, at IP Group plc. He has 20 years’ experience in the biotech sector, both as a top-ranked equity analyst in the City of London and, subsequently, as a chief executive and non-executive director. He currently serves as Executive Chairman of Istesso Ltd, Chairman of Glythera Ltd and Microbiotica Ltd, and as a director of Diurnal Group plc. Sam has a PhD in molecular biology from Cambridge and a degree in biology from Oxford. 

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