Mike Westby PhD, CEO
Mike has 15 years' experience in Pharma R&D, having worked for both Roche and Pfizer. Mike has worked across the Research and Development spectrum and whilst at Pfizer he helped successfully develop a novel therapy for treatment of HIV infection. Mike also headed up Pfizer's Opportunities for Partnership in Medicine (OPM) Research Unit and was a member of the Research Leadership Team at Pfizer's R&D UK Laboratories. Mike trained in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at University of Durham, obtained his PhD at Warwick University and then completed a postdoctoral research fellow at St George's Hospital Medical School.
Chris Pickford PhD, Research Director
Chris is currently the Head of Drug Discovery at Centauri Therapeutics. He leads the scientific team to deliver drug candidates into the clinic, responsible for the pre-clinical labs at Discovery Park, Sandwich, UK. Before joining Centauri Therapeutics, Chris was a Research Director at Agalimmune, an immuno-oncology biotech and a project leader for Salvensis, a neglected diseases drug discovery company. In addition Chris worked for 12 years as part of Pfizer’s Research and Development organization, leading infectious diseases projects from new target identification to first-in-human trials. Chris studied for a biochemistry degree at the University of Birmingham and obtained a PhD from the National Institute of Medical Research, London.
Jessica Boyle PhD, Business Manager
Jessica is responsible for project management and business operations. Prior to joining Centauri Therapeutics, she worked for Pfizer UK as a Research Project Manager supporting the Antivirals research teams working across the spectrum from early hit identification through to Phase II studies. Before moving to project management, she was a medicinal chemistry team leader within Pfizer Animal Health Discovery Chemistry.
Jessica holds an honours degree in Chemistry from Durham University, a PhD in Solid Phase Combinatorial Chemistry from the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nottingham, UK and has undertaken the Prince2® Practitioner qualification.
Nick Higgins MSc
Nick Higgins is an independent consultant advising life science companies on all aspects of business and corporate development. He has a first degree in Biochemistry, an MSc in Biochemical Engineering and an MSc in the Management of Intellectual Property. His most recent position was Corporate Development Director of Consort Medical plc which he left in February 2013. Before joining Consort he was Chief Executive of Intercytex Group plc – a company focused on regenerative medicine, from 2005 to 2010. Prior to Intercytex he was Chief Business Officer at Acambis plc, a vaccines company, for 11 years. His early career was with Unilever Research, PA Consulting Group and Porton Developments.
Manjit Rahelu PhD, Chief Business Officer
Manjit is a senior executive, with a strong science background (B.Sc Biohemistry, Ph. D. Immunology) and broad based technical, commercial and financial experience gained over two decades in the industry. He was the VP Business Development of Convergence Pharmaceuticals Ltd, where he led the deal team which culminated in the sale of the business by Biogen.
His multifunctional, international expertise was gained in blue chip (Pfizer, Sanofi, Novartis), mid-sized (UCB., Allergy Therapeutics) and Biotech companies (Calchan, Convergence) with leadership and functional experience in HQ and country affiliate roles. He brings business development expertise in M&A and product focused licensing on both the buy and sell side.