Under the direction of experienced biotech executives, NeoPhore conducts cutting-edge cancer research in collaboration with world-leading scientists, with support from a board of professional investors and directors.
Robert has worked in the commercial exploitation of intellectual property for more than 20 years. He first worked at Cancer Research Campaign Technology (now Cancer Research Technology, the commercialisation and development arm of Cancer Research UK) for seven years before moving to the early stage venture capital company, Prelude Ventures. He was a founding Partner of DFJ Esprit before leaving in 2010 to create Sixth Element Capital. Robert has been involved in many early stage technologies and businesses which in aggregate have raised over £200m in financing and has been involved in raising four VC funds. He played a central role in licensing Temodal to Schering Plough and the PARP inhibitor Rucaparib to Agouron (now Clovis); he has been lead investor in successful life science technologies and businesses in diagnosis, tools and therapeutics such as Oxford Immunotec (Nasdaq:OXFD), Kiadis (Euronext:KDS) and DNA Research Innovations (now owned by ThermoFisher Scientific). Robert has a PhD in Biochemistry and a degree in Genetics.
Chris is a cancer researcher and entrepreneur. In 2007 he founded Horizon Discovery to translate advances in human genome editing into a range of research tools and services to accelerate the discovery of new and improved personalized medicines, including the identification of novel drug targets for pharmaceutical development. By 2014, Dr Torrance and his colleagues had built Horizon into the fastest growing Biotech company in the UK. In the same year, the company listed on the London Stock Exchange with over 100 commercial and scientific staff and significant deal-flow with the pharmaceutical industry, for which Horizon received the Queens Award for International Trade in 2012.
Previously, Dr Torrance was Head of Oncology and Biology at the UK biotechnology company Vernalis PLC (LSE: VER), where he was responsible for progressing several novel kinase oncology programs.
Dr Torrance has a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Technology from Sheffield Polytechnic; a PhD in Biochemistry from East Carolina University (U.S.A) and completed post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Professor Bert Vogelstein at the Johns Hopkins University (U.S.A), where he pioneered the use of X-MAN isogenic disease models in high-throughput screening and drug discovery.
Ian has served as Chief Finance Officer and as Chief Operating Officer in a number of publicly quoted and privately owned healthcare and drug development companies, including Reneuron, KS Biomedix, Microscience, Oxford Immunotec, William Ransom and York Pharma. He was responsible for numerous M&A and licensing transactions and has completed a dozen financing and re-financing transactions, successfully raising in excess of £100m in equity, debt and grant finance. Having spent a short period working as Finance Director in a healthcare fund management business, Ian left in 2010 to establish Sixth Element Capital. Ian was appointed a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 2011.
John Haurum has a long and successful career in the international biotech industry. John was previously Chief Executive Officer of F-star, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of novel bispecific antibodies that target the immune system to fight cancer. Under his leadership, F-star successfully raised €200 million in equity and non-dilutive funding. John also led the formation of several strategic collaborations with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in immune-oncology, including AbbVie and Merck KGaA, and in central nervous system disorders with Denali Therapeutics. John was also instrumental in the development of the next wave of immunotherapies, establishing a substantial pipeline of candidates with the potential to benefit cancer patients. Prior to F-star, John was VP Research at ImClone Systems, prior to this he was the CSO and Co-Founder of Symphogen.
John is currently Executive Chairman of the Board at Synklino. Dr Haurum has a Medical Degree and MSc in Immunology from Aarhus University, and a DPhil in Immunology from the University of Oxford.
Chief Executive Officer
Dr Baker has more than 20 years’ experience developing biologics in biotech and pharma companies and is a research expert in B and T cell immunology, including drug immunogenicity. Matthew has held entrepreneurial and leadership positions across the biotechnology industry including Chief Scientific Officer of Abzena plc and co-founder, Chief Scientific Officer of Denceptor Therapeutics. Prior to this he was co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer of Antitope Ltd. Dr Baker is currently Non-Executive Director at Oxford Genetics Ltd.Prior to co-founding Antitope in 2004, Matthew held a variety leadership positions at Biovation Ltd, Cellular Technologies Limited and Whatman BioSciences. Matthew completed his postdoctoral studies in Cambridge after receiving his Ph.D in cellular immunology from the University of Birmingham.
Vice President, Drug Discovery
Dr Julian Blagg joined NeoPhore in October 2018; he is an experienced medicinal chemist and oncology drug discovery scientist. Prior to joining NeoPhore, he was Deputy Director, Professor and Head of Chemistry at the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, UK. From 1988 to 2007, Julian practiced medicinal chemistry and drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry (Pfizer), both in the US and UK, where he was responsible for the successful progression of multiple preclinical development candidates into clinical trials across 4 therapeutic areas. With colleagues from the ICR, Julian was recipient of the 2012 American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Team Science Award for achievements in drug discovery and served as Chair of the Chemistry in Cancer Research section of the AACR from 2018-2019. He has authored over 200 publications and patents.
Chief Scientific Officer
Martin has over 30 years’ experience in drug discovery across large pharma and biotech as well as charity funded and not-for-profit institutes in both the UK and US. After an Industrial post-doc with Parke-Davis at the PD site in Cambridge, UK, Martin spent time at Wellcome and GlaxoWellcome before leaving to become Head of Chemistry at RiboTargets (Cambridge, UK). Through a series of mergers and acquisitions RiboTargets became Vernalis, where Martin was ultimately Director of Chemistry & Structural Biology (as well as Deputy Research Director). More recently, Martin has worked in the Drug Discovery Unit within the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Beatson Institute in Glasgow, Scotland, and was Director of the Center for the Development of Therapeutics (CDoT) at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Professor Alberto Bardelli Ph.D. is a founding scientist of NeoPhore and Professor in the Department of Oncology at the University of Torino. Professor Bardelli’s research includes ground-breaking mechanistic insights into dynamic neoantigen evolution and cancer immunology, complemented by his long history of impactful studies in the genetics translational biology of personalised cancer therapy. In addition to his role in founding NeoPhore, Professor Bardelli also co-founded Horizon Discovery, Plc and he is also the President Elect of the European Association for Cancer Research (EACR).
Giovanni Germano is a founding scientist of NeoPhore and researcher in the Department of Oncology at the University of Torino. Along with his key inventive findings that underpin the scientific premise of NeoPhore, Dr. Germano has lead and contributed to numerous research publications in the fields of cancer immunology and pharmacology. Giovanni’s continuing research aims to further establish the full scope of dynamic neoantigen creation in cancer formation, and to translate these findings into effective new cancer therapeutic strategies.
Luis Alberto Diaz Jr
An internationally recognized physician-scientist, Dr. Diaz is the Head of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital. Dr. Diaz was the senior clinical investigator on pivotal clinical studies that led to the FDA approval of the PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab) as indicated for any cancer with defective DNA mismatch repair. Dr. Diaz's breakthrough clinical studies underpin NeoPhore's therapeutic concept, which aims to induce neoantigen creation and cancer immunity using small-molecule inhibitors of mismatch repair, particularly in combination with other immunotherapy approaches. In addition to his research and clinical practice, Dr. Diaz is a founder of Personal Genome Diagnostics, Sysmex Inostics, Papgene Inc and PagerBox.
A landmark figure in cancer research, Dr. Vogelstein is the Clayton Professor of Oncology and Pathology and Co-Director of the Ludwig Cancer at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Over 40 years, Dr. Vogelstein's research has defined multiple paradigms in cancer biology and genetics, including the first contemporary molecular model of carcinogenesis and deciphering the first cancer genomes and computational models of cancer. Dr. Vogelstein is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Founder of Papgene Inc.
Josep Tabernero holds MD and PhD degrees from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain, and he is currently Head of the Medical Oncology Department at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Director of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) and Professor of Medicine at UVic-UCC. He has been Principal Investigator of several Phase I pharmacodynamic studies and translational projects with tumor-directed targeted therapies and immune therapies.
His research aims at potentiating molecular therapies targeting specific oncoproteins and accelerating more effective personalized cancer medicines for patients displaying genetic lesions or pathway disregulation.
Dr. Tabernero serves on the Editorial Boards of various top tier journals including Annals of Oncology, ESMO Open, Cancer Discovery, Clinical Cancer Research, Cancer Treatment Reviews and Nature Reviews in Clinical Oncology. He has (co) authored approximately 500 peer-reviewed papers.
He was the President (2018 – 2019) and is currently the Past President (2020-2021) of the European Society for Medical Oncology´s (ESMO), and is also member of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). He has also been a member of the Educational and Scientific Committees of the ESMO, ECCO, ASCO, AACR, AACR/NCI/EORTC, ASCO Gastrointestinal, TAT and WCGIC meetings