BELS Forum #1

Why the UK should strategically strengthen connections with British-trained health & life science talent around the world

The first BELS Forum was held in London, with support from Polar Capital.

This virtual event features a progress report on BELS and a panel discussion with current and former expats. Topics include:

  • Progress being made by BELS as we collect and connect British-trained talent globally to access the resources that entrepreneurs, investors and growing companies need most—talent, capital and technology
  • Plans for a BELS UK Summit
  • How UK entities can tap into this prominent community to attract collaborations, capital and customers
  • Prevailing perceptions of expats currently working overseas
  • Perspectives of others who have chosen to return to the UK

BELS Forum Panelists:

Dr Simon Blake – Senior Director Scientific Licensing for Immunology, Johnson & Johnson
Simon is the Scientific Licensing lead for the Immunology Therapeutic Area (ITA) at Janssen Research and Development.  In this role he scouts, identifies and leads due diligence activities on assets of high strategic interest to the ITA.  Simon joined J&J in 2004 as head of the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases group within the Centocor organization.  He then transitioned to a role in the Biopharmaceuticals group leading the external innovation efforts for that area prior to joining the BD team.  Simon has spent over 20 years in various roles in drug discovery and development mainly focused on the role of cytokines in connective tissue disorders.   Simon holds a BSc (Hons) from Oxford Brookes and obtained his PhD in Biochemistry while working at the Kennedy Institite of Rheumatology in London.

Dr Gary Clements – VP Business Development, Kymab
Gary is a transaction-orientated business development professional with experience in pharma and smaller biotech businesses.  His current role is VP of Business Development at Kymab Limited (Cambridge UK), a biotech focussed on antibody-based therapeutics applied to immunotherapy and anti-infective drug candidates.  Prior to this he was Head of Research Collaborations and Divestments within the Business Development leadership team at Shire Pharmaceuticals where he spent 13 years including a two-year secondment to their Massachusetts offices. Gary entered the biotech industry when he joined Celltech in 1986 upon completing his a PhD research at Warwick University.

Dr Ronald Farquhar – Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Morningside Ventures
After a brief stint of working in the energy industry, Ronnie Farquhar has gained over 25 years of experience that spans pharma, biotech and CRO companies.  He is currently engaged with Morningside Group, which was founded in 1986 by the Chan family in Hong Kong to make private equity and venture capital investments.  Ronnie is focused on new investments in the infectious disease space.  Previously, he has worked extensively towards discovery of new anti-infectives through his work at Pfizer, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, ActivBiotics and latterly at Cubist, taking a combination of first-in-class and best-in-class approaches.  He served as SVP, Discovery and Pharmaceutical Research at Cubist Pharmaceuticals and as such helped to guide the company’s significant investments in the discovery and development of new antibacterials.  Ronnie gained his BS and PhD training in microbiology at Edinburgh University and Oxford University, respectively.

Dr Daniel Mahony – Partner, Polar Capital Partners
Daniel joined Polar Capital to set up the Healthcare team in 2007.  Prior to joining Polar Capital, he was head of the European healthcare research team at Morgan Stanley, covering the European biotechnology, medical technology and healthcare services sectors.  Previously, Daniel worked in New York for ING Barings Furman Selz following the US biotechnology sector.  Before working in the investment field, Daniel worked as a research scientist for seven years with the majority of his time at Schering Plough Corporation in California.  Daniel graduated with a BA (1st Class Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Developmental Biology from the University of Cambridge.

Dr Mathew Wintle – Director Industry and Business Development, NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure
Matthew Wintle is currently Director of Industry & Business Development at the National Office of Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI) where he is responsible for fostering industry collaboration and delivering investment to the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR).  He believes early patient access to innovation coupled with systems adaption will improve the health and wealth of people in the United Kingdom.  Over the last 20 years Matthew has worked across the translational research and commercialization continuum, built global development and medical capabilities as Global Medical Director for a dynamic San Diego company, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, which was sold to Bristol-Myers Squibb for $5.3 billion in 2012, delivered four first-in-class medicines to patients with rare and more common diseases and established early Translational Research Partnerships from within a UK Biomedical Research Unit.  In addition to his role with NOCRI, he is Managing Director of his own company that supports the strategic development and medical capabilities of emerging domestic and international companies.  Matthew received his medical degree from Cardiff and was elected to the Royal College of Physicians in 2002 before moving to San Diego.  He was a top class rugby player and was capped for Wales.