About Heptares | Management

Malcolm Weir, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive

Malcolm has a BSc and PhD in biochemistry and biophysics from Imperial College, London. He was Head of the Biomolecular Structure Department and then the Molecular Sciences Division of GlaxoWellcome with responsibility for 300 people engaged in target validation and lead discovery. During this time he led the application of structural biology and modelling to drug discovery, resulting in the advancement of clinical candidates to a wide range of diseases. He joined the structural bioinformatics and drug discovery company Inpharmatica Ltd as CEO in 2000, growing it from the spin-out stage to a 100-person company. Inpharmatica was sold to Galapagos NV in 2006. He joined MRC Technology in 2006 in order to establish Heptares Therapeutics Ltd in July 2007, as co-founder and CEO. Malcolm was elected Visiting Professor of Biochemistry at Imperial College, London in 1997 and is on the Chemical Biology Advisory Board at the same university. He served on the Council of the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council from 2004-2011. Malcolm received the Malcolm Campbell Memorial Prize 2015, awarded by the UK Royal Society of Chemistry’s Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector, in recognition of his contribution to GPCR drug discovery. In 2016, he received an honorary DSc from the University of Hertfordshire for services to research.

Malcolm is Executive VP and Chief R&D Officer of Sosei Group Corporation.

Fiona Marshall, Founder, Director, and Chief Scientific Officer

Fiona has a BSc in biochemistry from Bath University and a PhD in neuroscience from Cambridge University. She has more than 25 years' experience in drug discovery with particular expertise on GPCRs. She led the first group to show that GPCRs could form heterodimers and has published more than 80 peer-reviewed papers in the area of GPCRs. She spent 12 years at GlaxoWellcome/GlaxoSmithKline where she held a number of senior positions including Head of the Department of Molecular Pharmacology. She was Director of Discovery Pharmacology, Europe for Millennium Pharmaceuticals and then spent several years as an independent consultant to a variety of venture capital and biotech companies, including Inpharmatica, Merlion, Galapagos, Paradigm, Cancer Research Technology, Shire, CellAura, Bioimage, Chroma, Ablynx and Sentinel. Fiona is currently the chair of the MRC DPFS committee and is on the Translation Advisory Group of the Francis Crick Institute and on the Scientific Advisory board of Open Targets. She is also on the Board of Trustees of Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) and on the ARUK Drug Discovery Alliance Advisory Group. Fiona won the 2012 WISE Women of Outstanding Achievement for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and received the Malcolm Campbell Memorial Prize 2015, awarded by the UK Royal Society of Chemistry’s Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector, in recognition of her contribution to GPCR drug discovery. She was elected a Fellow of The Academy of Medical Sciences in 2016.

Fiona is Executive VP and CSO of Sosei Group Corporation.

Barry Kenny, Chief Business Officer

Barry has over 25 years' research and management experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. He was previously Vice President, Drug Discovery at Takeda Cambridge with overall responsibility for IND discovery. Prior to this, he was Commercial Director at Paradigm Therapeutics where he was responsible for several company transforming deals, including the broad CNS collaboration with Takeda in 2005. He was also instrumental in the subsequent acquisition of Paradigm by Takeda in 2007. Barry co-founded Cambridge Drug Discovery (CDD) in 1997, and was Director of Business Development for Biofocus following its merger with CDD in 2001, establishing a wide range of international deals and collaborations. Before this, he was at Pfizer Central Research and was responsible for the successful discovery and progression of several drug candidates into clinical development. He also spent eight years at Syntex Research Scotland, where he completed his PhD and post-doctoral studies.

Miles Congreve, Vice President of Chemistry

Miles obtained a BSc in biological chemistry from Leicester University and a PhD in synthetic chemistry from Cambridge University, before joining Glaxo in 1993. He worked on a range of GPCR, other receptor and enzyme projects in both Lead Optimisation and Hit-to-Lead phases, a number of which successfully led to clinical candidates. He then moved to Cambridge in 1999 to manage the GlaxoWellcome Chemistry Laboratory in the University Chemistry Department to work on solid phase library technologies. In this role he initiated a number of collaborations with academics across the UK. In 2001 he joined Astex Technology (now Astex Therapeutics) to establish the chemistry team and to develop and validate fragment-based drug discovery as a new approach to structure-based drug design and lead identification. He was promoted to Director of Chemistry in 2006. The platform delivered success against a broad range of projects (collaborative and in-house), including six pre-clinical or clinical candidates. He joined Heptares in 2008. Miles is co-author of over 50 publications and co-inventor on more than 30 patent filings. Miles received the Malcolm Campbell Memorial Prize 2015, awarded by the UK Royal Society of Chemistry’s Biological and Medicinal Chemistry Sector, in recognition of his contribution to GPCR drug discovery.

Tim Tasker, Chief Medical Officer
and VP of Development

Tim is a physician and clinical pharmacologist with more than 30 years of industry experience from both large pharmaceutical and small biotechnology companies. He spent over 20 years at GlaxoSmithKline and led all of its Phase 1 Clinical Research Units (in the US, UK, Europe and Australia), which supported the Centres of Excellence in Drug Discovery across all therapeutic areas. After GSK, he joined Evotec as Executive VP of Clinical Development, at which he was instrumental in advancing novel compounds to Phase 2 proof of concept studies. Dr Tasker then set up his own consulting firm providing high-level, early drug development expertise to companies in Europe, Australia and Japan. Dr Tasker is a Fellow of the UK Royal College of Physicians and of the UK Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine.

Ali Jazayeri, Chief Technology Officer

Ali joined Heptares in 2007 and as one of the first scientists he was involved in the transfer of the receptor stabilisation (StaR®) technology from MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology to Heptares. Following successful implementation and industrialisation of the original technology, he led the development of novel methodologies that significantly increased the efficiency and reach of the StaR® technology. Prior to Heptares, Ali worked as a post-doctoral scientist in Clare Hall Laboratories (a Cancer Research UK institute) and Kudos Pharmaceuticals. In both cases he carried out research on the role of cell cycle checkpoint kinases in DNA damage response pathways. He has a BSc in Genetics from University of Manchester and obtained his PhD in molecular biology with Prof Steve Jackson at the Gurdon Institute from University of Cambridge.

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