Four more leading figures from the life sciences sector have joined the Medicines Discovery Catapult to complete the Senior Management line-up.

John Overington (CIO), Marcus Harrison (COO), Mark Samuels (CBSO) and Peter Simpson (CSO), join CEO Chris Molloy, as work begins in earnest on a number of technology projects that support and promote collaborative, fast-to-patient drug discovery.

Dr John P Overington has joined the Catapult as Chief Informatics Officer. John will lead his expert team to help the UK community make better use of data in the complex process of medicines discovery. These initiatives will include improving the flow of data into and between predictive analytics and modelling systems, and improving collaborative platforms that can share and interpret data to improve the speed and predictability of medicines discovery.

John joins the Catapult from technology company Benevolent AI, where he was involved in the development of novel data extraction and integration strategies, integrating deep learning and other Artificial Intelligence approaches to drug target validation and drug optimisation. Prior to this John held senior leadership roles in academic (EMBL-EBI), SME (Inpharmatica), and large Pharma (Pfizer) sectors.

Dr Marcus Harrison has joined the Catapult as Chief Operating Officer. Marcus comes from a strong technical and commercial background, having previously worked in diagnostics, genomics and med tech, and with many years’ experience working with start-up organisations.

He assumes overall responsibility for the operational functions of the Catapult, including Finance, HR, Programme Management, Facilities, Procurement, IT, Legal & IP.

Mark Samuels will take up the role of Chief Business and Strategy Officer in May. He will oversee a team responsible for syndicate engagement, licensing, commercial and collaborative R&D income, marketing and communications, as well as managing an external advisory board.

Mark joins the Catapult after six years as Managing Director for the UK’s National Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI), playing a vital role in establishing a cohesive and robust framework for health research in the UK.

Mark has a thorough understanding of the sector, having worked with central government and national institutions to shape and deliver the recent Life Science strategy. He was also responsible for leading the transformational change that established the Government’s Translational Research Collaborations. Mark co-chaired the ‘Evaluation Pathway’ programme which established a method for NICE to evaluate medical devices and diagnostics, and holds a Policy Fellowship at the University of Cambridge.

Dr Peter Simpson will become Chief Scientific Officer in June. He will be responsible for the scientific strategy of the Catapult as well as managing and delivering collaborative medicines discovery science projects. He will take the lead on building scientific collaborations, establishing laboratory facilities and building a team of expert scientists that will provide a unique applied R&D resource for the UK community.

He joins the team from the N8 Research Partnership where he was the Director, responsible for developing collaborations across the research-intensive universities of Northern England and increasing the productivity and impact of academic research.

Prior to that, Peter spent 16 years in leadership roles in global pharmaceutical companies, most recently as Director of Discovery Sciences at AstraZeneca, which included strategic responsibility for innovative efficacy and safety assays in discovery projects across multiple therapeutic areas. At AstraZeneca he also established their Open Innovation strategy for early discovery partnerships. Previously Peter was Head of Automated Cell Imaging, working in the field of neuroscience, at Merck Sharp & Dohme.

Medicines Discovery Catapult CEO Chris Molloy says,

“I am delighted to welcome this talented team to the Catapult. It provides a unique combination of expertise which the broad UK community large and small can draw on, and work with, to help secure a solid future for the sector. We are already active and our new staff will enable us to deliver even more, and provide a broader applied R&D platform. Everything we do is focused on making the UK the place to move safe potential medicines faster to proof in patients. The recognised expertise of our new colleagues is a vital part of that mission.”

Follow the Medicines Discovery Catapult on Twitter @MedDiscCat
Sign up to receive updates on job opportunities, projects, partnerships and funding here

Connect with us