Horizon Discovery Leadership

Executive Management

Executive Management

Dr. Darrin Disley

Dr Darrin M Disley
Chief Executive Officer and Commercial Director

Darrin is a successful serial entrepreneur who has been involved in the start-up and growth of a number of business ventures. Since joining Horizon in 2007, Darrin has been instrumental in growing Horizon from a small start-up in Cambridge in the UK into a rapidly growing multinational leader in the life sciences. In this time, he has built a world-class management team, set a highly successful commercial and business strategy, led the company through several financing rounds including the Company’s highly successful IPO in 2014 (a new record for a life science company on the AIM market), and driven the acquisitions of CombinatoRx, Sage Labs, Haplogen Genomics and Avvinity Therapeutics.

In 2012, he was named Business Leader of the Year at the European Life Science Awards, in 2014 was named biotech and pharma Executive of the Year by Scrip, in 2015 was named UK Quoted Company Entrepreneur of the Year, Cambridge Business Person of the Year and one of the 175 Faces of Chemistry by the Royal Society of Chemistry, and in 2016 was conferred with a lifetime-held Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion in the 2016 birthday honours list in recognition of his contribution to Life Science entrepreneurship.

Darrin sits on the Boards of several companies and organizations and is currently Director and co-founder of Avvinity Therapeutics Ltd and GeoSpock Ltd, Chairman of Desktop Genetics Ltd, Director of Celixir Ltd and HealX Ltd, Board Member of the UK Bioindustry Association, Chairman of Trustees at Footprint Cafes CIO and serves on the advisory boards of Axol Bioscience Ltd, Biotech and Money, the Cambridge Science Centre, the Cambridge Phenomenon, GeneAdviser Ltd and SimPrints.

Richard Vellacott

Mr. Richard Vellacott
Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Richard has advised companies from start-ups in the life sciences sector to global pharmaceutical businesses. He is an experienced chartered accountant and has a first class degree in biological sciences from Durham University. His past roles include Vice President, Finance at CSR plc, where he had worldwide responsibility for finance and as Director in Deloitte’s life sciences practice. Beyond corporate responsibilities, Richard advised the European Committee on funding for life science companies and provides thought leadership on issues facing the life science industry. Richard joined Horizon in July 2012, and has since steered the company through a public listing on the AIM markets, and four separate acquisitions.

Heather Hayes

Mrs. Heather Hayes
Vice President, Global Head of HR

Heather Hayes VP, Global Head of HR brings significant experience, both operationally and strategically across a range of sectors. The last 8 years being spent in the pharmaceutical industry. Heather led an HR team at Roche responsible for the Development part of the business, she had responsibility for a global workforce, partnering business unit leaders worldwide. Following Roche's purchase of Genentech she was asked to take a global HR role based in San Francisco, where she was responsible for creating alignment, and implementing shared HR strategies for the integrated companies. Heather returned to the UK taking a UK role with R&D in GSK, Stevenage. Prior to Roche and GSK, Heather managed HR strategies and acquisitions in the IT Consultancy, Imaging, Aerospace and Oil industries. Heather graduated from Aberdeen University with an MA in History, and completed her formal qualifications with a postgraduate diploma in Human Resource Management with CIPD membership at Manchester Metropolitan University. Heather joined Horizon in September 2015 and will focus on engagement, development, talent acquisition and recognition.

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Dr Ian Gilham

Dr. Ian Gilham
Chairman

Ian is currently Non-Executive Chairman of Multiplicom NV, focused on the development and commercialisation of DNA sequencing products; and Biosurfit SA, focused on development and commercialisation of point-of-care diagnostic products. He is also Director of Stowheath Ltd., which offers advisory services to private equity companies and corporate finance organisations investing in clinical diagnostics and medical device companies, is Non-executive Chairman and Interim CEO at Epistem Holdings plc, and is on the Board of Vernalis. Ian has previously been Chief Executive Officer of Axis-Shield plc and Vice President, Pharmacogenetics and Diagnostics at GSK, as well as holding various positions within Abbott Laboratories.

Darrin Disley

Dr Darrin M Disley
Chief Executive Officer and President

Darrin is a successful serial entrepreneur who has been involved in the start-up and growth of a number of business ventures. Since joining in 2007, he has been instrumental in growing Horizon from a small start-up in Cambridge in the UK into a rapidly growing multinational leader in the life sciences. During this time, Darrin has built a world-class management team, set the commercial and business strategy, led the company through multiple financing rounds including the Company’s highly successful IPO in 2014, and driven the acquisitions of CombinatoRx, Sage Labs, Haplogen Genomics and Avvinity Therapeutics.

Darrin is the holder of multiple business awards including Scrip Executive of the Year in 2014, a global award recognising leadership in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, UK quoted company entrepreneur of the Year in 2015, and was recently conferred with a lifetime held Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the II in recognition of his contribution to Life Science entrepreneurship. He is a strong supporter of numerous academic, entrepreneurship and mentoring programs across the UK.

Darrin also sits on the Boards of several companies and organizations including Cell Therapy Ltd, Desktop Genetics Ltd, GeoSpock Ltd and the UK Bioindustry Association, and is an Angel investor in over 30 UK companies in the technology and life science sectors. He holds a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Cambridge.

Richard Vellacott

Richard Vellacott
Chief Financial Officer

Richard has advised companies from start-ups in the life sciences sector to global pharmaceutical businesses. He is an experienced chartered accountant and has a first class degree in biological sciences from Durham University. His past roles include Vice President, Finance at CSR plc, where he had worldwide responsibility for finance and as Director in Deloitte’s life sciences practice. Beyond corporate responsibilities, Richard advised the European Committee on funding for life science companies and provides thought leadership on issues facing the life science industry.

Richard joined Horizon in July 2012, and has since steered the company through a public listing on the AIM markets, and four separate acquisitions.

Jonathan Milner

Dr Jonathan Milner
Non-Executive Director

Jonathan is an experienced entrepreneur and business leader with a background in genetic research. He is an active supporter of the Cambridge business community, is a founder of Abcam Plc, the 2013 AIM business of the year with a recent market capitalisation in excess of £1bn. Jonathan gained his doctorate in Molecular Genetics at Leicester University after graduating in Applied Biology at Bath University.

Susan Searle

Mrs Susan Searle
Non-Executive Director

Susan has over 20 years’ commercial experience as an entrepreneur and innovator. She co-founded Imperial Innovations Group plc, now one of the world’s leading technology venture investment businesses, leading as CEO from 2002 to 2013. During this time the company invested over £120m which included several bioscience companies: Abingdon Health, Circassia, CellMedica, Psioxus and Respivert. Susan also holds non-executive director positions for a range of technology, engineering and healthcare companies; Woodford Patient Capital plc (chair); Mercia Technologies plc (chair); Benchmark Holdings plc (chair of the remuneration committee); and QinetiQ Group plc (audit, risk and nominations committees).

Susan Galbraith

Dr Susan Galbraith
Non-Executive Director

Dr. Susan Galbraith, currently Senior Vice President and Head of Oncology Innovative Medicines at AstraZeneca, trained as a clinical oncologist, after studying medicine at Manchester and Cambridge Universities, and joins with over 20 years’ combined academic and industry experience.

Susan was previously at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where she was Vice President of Oncology and Clinical Biomarkers from 2008 to 2010. In her roles at both Bristol- Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca, Susan has successfully developed and delivered strategies for the oncology and biomarker groups, resulting in increased success rates, enhanced scientific reputation and high value collaborations. She has also delivered major reorganisations, redesigned governance processes, and contributed to discussions on drug and diagnostic development with regulatory agencies in North America and Europe.

Vishal Gulati

Dr Vishal Gulati
Non-Executive Director

Dr. Vishal Gulati is a specialist healthcare investor in diagnostics, digital healthcare and biotechnology and has served on the boards of companies across Europe, the USA and in India for over a decade. Vishal gained investment management and industry experience at Draper Esprit (formerly DFJ Esprit), Atlas Venture, the Wellcome Trust. Having been a practising physician prior to that, Vishal is able to combine the insights from a technical as well as a financial perspective.

Vishal qualified in medicine in India and received his postgraduate training in Oxford and London as a Rhodes Scholar. In addition to several company boards, Vishal has served on the BioCatalyst awards committee (a UK Government backed £180 million fund for emerging technology companies) an advisor to the Mayor of London’s health commission.

Grahame Cook

Mr. Grahame Cook
Non-Executive Director

Grahame is an experienced FTSE and AIM non-executive, with extensive experience as an audit committee chairman. With a background in banking,where he has specialised in the life sciences, pharma and biotech sectors, Grahame has over 20 years’ experience of M&A, equity capital markets and investor relations.Grahame started his career at Arthur Andersen, where he qualified as a chartered accountant and worked within audit and corporate investigations. Subsequent positions include UBS, where he was a member of the global investment banking management committee and global head of equity advisory, and WestLB Panmure, where he was joint Chief Executive Officer. Grahame currently sits on a number of boards, chairing four, including Sinclair Pharma plc and Morphogenesis Inc.Grahame is a graduate of the University of Oxford and remains a member of the ICAEW.

Scientific Advisory Board

Scientific Advisory Board

Prof Alberto Bardelli

Prof. Alberto Bardelli
SAB Chairman, Horizon Founder

Alberto is Professor of Oncological Sciences at the University of Torino School of Medicine and Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at the Institute for Cancer research and Treatment in Turin, Italy.

Recent work from Alberto’s lab has had a transforming effect on current clinical practice in the field of personalized medicine, with the discovery that K-Ras mutations impart both primary and secondary resistance to EGFR-targeted therapies in colon cancer and that the mutations can be detected not only in the tumor but also in the blood of the patients. A future focus of his lab is to find appropriately tailored drug combinations to overcome resistance to targeted therapies.

Chris Torrance

Dr. Chris Torrance
SAB Member, Horizon Founder

Chris has significant oncology research and development experience, including six years as a senior manager at Cambridge-based pharmaceutical company, Vernalis. His principle expertise lies in cancer cell biology and drug discovery. In this field, he has led project teams taking drug targets from inception through to hit identification, lead optimisation and into preclinical studies.

Chris holds a PhD from East Carolina University and completed a Post-Doctoral position in the world renowned oncology laboratory of Professor Bert Vogelstein (Johns Hopkins University) where he pioneered the use of X-MAN® cancer models in high-throughput screening and drug discovery.

Prof David Russell

Prof. David Russell
SAB Member, Gene Targeting, Stem Cells

David is Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is as a Special Member of the SAB with responsibility for leading Horizon’s future thinking in human gene-targeting.

David pioneered the use of adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors to introduce precise sequence changes at any endogenous chromosomal locus. This approach has revolutionized the speed at which human isogenic cell lines with defined genetic properties can be generated. David is also leading Horizon in developing strategies for the application of AAV technology in the in-vitro stem-cell field.

David has published over 60 peer-review publications in the field of gene-targeting and gene therapy, and is on the editorial board of four international peer-reviewed journals.

Prof Eric Hendrickson

Prof. Eric Hendrickson
SAB Member, DNA Repair, Gene Targeting

Eric is a Full Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. For the past 25 years he has pioneered studies in human somatic cells to investigate areas related to DNA double-strand break repair, including telomeres, DNA recombination and gene targeting.

His laboratory has made extensive use of rAAV technology to investigate telomere maintenance, V(D)J recombination, chemotherapeutic drug efficacy and gene targeting in human cancer cells.

Eric attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and received his Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1987. He then conducted postdoctoral research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, before embarking in 1992 on a career as an independent principal investigator. He has published 45 primary research articles, two book chapters and seven reviews. Eric is very active as a reviewer for a large number of journals and as an ad hoc reviewer for NIH grant panels.

Eric Rhodes

Mr. Eric Rhodes
CTO & Senior Vice President, R&D

Eric has a strong background in gene regulation and gene editing. Prior to joining the Company, he was director of Business Development at Sigma-Aldrich Corp. where he helped Sigma in launching its nuclease based gene editing platform, and served for 10 years as vice-president of Business Development and Alliance Management at Sangamo BioSciences. At Sangamo he was responsible for securing and coordinating large target validation and technology licensing projects with many of the top pharma and biotech companies in North America, Europe, and Asia. Eric also has broad experience in growing small companies having participated in the successful launch of several start-ups in the San Francisco Bay Area. Eric earned his degree in Microbiology and Immunology from UC Berkeley.

Prof Daniel Von Hoff

Prof. Daniel Von Hoff
SAB Member, Clinical Advisor, Translational Medicine

Daniel is Physician in Chief, Senior Investigator, Director, Translational Research Division, Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and a pioneer in the development of new anticancer agents, both in the clinic and in the laboratory.

He and his colleagues were involved in the early stages of the development of many of the anticancer agents that are now routinely used, including: mitoxantrone, fludarabine, paclitaxel, docetaxel, gemcitabine, irinotecan, nelarabine, capecitabine, lapatinib and others.

Daniel is leading the way in the areas of in vitro drug sensitivity testing and patient-stratified clinical trials to individualize treatment for cancer patients.

He is Editor in Chief of the world renowned scientific Journal, Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, and has published over 542 papers, 133 book chapters, and 950 abstracts.

Keith Joung

Dr. Keith Joung
SAB Member, CRISPR Gene Editing

J. Keith Joung is a leading innovator in the field of genome editing. He currently serves as associate chief of pathology for research and the Jim and Ann Orr Research Scholar at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and is an associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School. He also is director of the Molecular Pathology Unit and is a member of the Center for Cancer Research and Center for Computational and Integrative Biology at MGH. Dr. Joung has been a pioneer in the development of important technologies for targeted genome editing and epigenome editing of human cells. He has received numerous awards including an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, an NIH Director’s Transformative Research Project R01 Award, the Jim and Ann Orr MGH Research Scholar Award, and election into the American Association of University Pathologists. He is a scientific co-founder of Editas Medicine, a company dedicated to the translation of genome editing technologies for therapy of human diseases.

Dr. Joung holds a Ph.D. in genetics from Harvard University, an M.D. from Harvard Medical School and an A.B. in biochemical sciences from Harvard College.

Feng Zhang

Dr. Feng Zhang
SAB Member, CRISPR Gene Editing

Dr. Zhang, Ph.D., is currently serving as W.M. Keck Career Development Professor with joint appointment in Biological Engineering and also Brain and Cognitive Sciences departments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is also one of the 11 core members of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and an Investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research.

Dr. Zhang successfully engineered the CRISPR-Cas9 system for genome editing in mammalian cells as published online January 3, 2013 in Science. Dr. Zhang has been extremely active in publishing a range of articles on the optimal use and design of the technology. More recently Dr. Zhang has published compelling results indicating CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing can be employed in high-throughput genome-wide screens. Dr. Zhang is a co-founder of Editas Medicine and is the 2014 recipient of the prestigious NSF Waterman award from the National Science Foundation for his work on the CRISPR-Cas9 system.

Emmanuelle Charpentier

Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier
SAB Member, CRISPR Gene Editing

Dr. Charpentier is currently serving as head of the Department of Regulation in Infection Biology at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig and Hannover Medical School. Dr. Charpentier is known worldwide for her work on bacterial immunity and uncovering key functional components of the bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 system. Dr. Charpentier was principal co-author on a seminal publication1 suggesting how the CRISPR-Cas9 system could be adapted from use in bacteria for broad application in mammalian genome editing. Dr. Charpentier is also a co-founder of ERS Genomics and CRISPR Therapeutics and was recently awarded the highly prestigious Alexander von Humboldt professorship and Dr Paul Janssen Award.

Prof Alan Ashworth

Prof. Alan Ashworth (FRS)
Translational Medicine & Synthetic Lethality

Alan is Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). He is also Professor of Molecular Biology and Leader of the Gene Function team in the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the ICR.

After completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry at Imperial College, Alan achieved his PhD in Biochemistry at University College London. He joined the ICR in 1986 as a Post-Doctoral Scientist in the Section of Cell and Molecular Biology and in 1999 he was appointed the first Director of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre. The Centre is now recognised internationally and has more than 120 scientists and researchers working on aspects of the disease ranging from basic molecular and cellular biology through to translational research and clinical trials. Professor Ashworth’s Directorship ended in January 2011 when he took up the position of Chief Executive of the ICR.

Prof Sabine Tejpar

Prof. Sabine Tejpar
SAB Member, Translational Medicine

After training in Internal medicine and Gastro Enterology and a Ph.D in the program of Molecular Oncology at the Center for Human Genetics, KULeuven, Sabine became an Associate Professor in the Dept of Gastro Enterology, Digestive Oncology Unit, UZ Leuven.

Sabine works as a part time clinician, part time researcher (Senior Clinical Investigator of the Fund for Scientific Research- Flanders,Belgium), with a focus on basic and translational research in colorectal cancer. Her main research projects involve prognostic markers in adjuvant colorectal cancer and predictive markers for efficacy of EGFR inhibition.

Sabine has published over 50 peer-reviewed publications. She is also a member of the EORTC, is active in the Board Gastrointestinal Group, a Member of the EORTC NOCI Steering Committee, member of the Executive Committee of NOCI, member of the EORTC PAMM and Laboratory Research Division, Co-Chair of the EORTC-NCI-ASCO tutorial sessions, and a member of the AACR-NCI-EORTC planning committee. She is a member of advisory board of several pharmaceutical companies in relation to new drug development and translational research in gastrointestinal cancer.

Prof Ben Ho Park

Prof. Ben Ho Park
SAB Member, Clinical Advisor, Translational Medicine

Ben is Associate Professor of Oncology and Associate Director of the Medical Oncology Fellowship Training Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Center at Johns Hopkins University.

His career includes both basic and translational research in the field of cancer genetics, and he also plays an active role in patient care that is having a dramatic effect in the search for novel targeted and personalized cancer treatments.

The focus of his laboratory is to define mutated or altered genes responsible for breast cancer initiation and progression, as well as mutant genes that lead to chemo- and hormonal drug resistance.

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