Testimonials

Messages of support from around the world for BELS, our vision, mission and aims

BELS is a very valuable asset.    Sir John Bell, the Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford,  Chair of the UK’s Industrial Strategy Board

Britain gave me a great education I would have struggled to afford in America. The US then gave me great opportunities I would have struggled to find in the UK. In every one of these I have found myself working alongside other Brits with similar experiences. Hopefully, by working together through BELS we can help our counterparts back in the UK create more of these opportunities on home soil.   Dr Vincent Miles, Partner of Abingworth Management, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA

I am delighted to hear that BELS is being reactivated.  As you know, three of my four college degrees were obtained at UK universities and my first professional position was at the MRC Toxicology Unit then based in Carshalton, Greater London. The UK higher education system and the Health and Life Sciences sector were unduly generous to me as I was developing my career. The opportunity to pay back into this sector while strengthening my connections to it is most welcome, and I am certain that many of my expat colleagues feel the same way.   Dr Stephen Naylor, Chairman & CEO, MaiHealth, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

After several decades of life in America, I am still amazed by the influential presence of British expatriates that have made their mark and ascended to very senior positions. BELS promises to be a strong focal organization that will harness and put to use the accumulated insights and experience of this important cross-cultural group.   Dr David U’Prichard, Chairman of Cyclacel, Berkeley Heights NJ and CSO of Biomotiv, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

George Bernard Shaw claimed ‘England and America are two countries separated by a common language.’ As a dual national with over 15 years of biopharmaceutical experience from each nation, I believe the opportunities to learn from each other are immense. We have a common heritage, but we do things differently. Diversity is a source of innovation, and BELS can facilitate an exchange of ideas through its extensive network of experienced, expatriate life science executives, for the benefit of our industry, and the patients we serve.  Dr Stephen Hill, CEO, Faraday Pharmaceuticals, Seattle, Washington, USA

As they say, ‘Home is where the heart is’ and to that point I believe all expats feel an obligation and a duty to contribute something back to the homeland.  BELS will provide the vehicle to concentrate all of our individual efforts into a focused approach to support transatlantic activities that benefit all involved.   John Houghton, Global Medicine Leader, AstraZeneca, Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA

I was fortunate to be able to participate in the original BELS group, based in Cambridge, MA, over the course of several years. This served as an excellent means to network with UK expat Biotech leaders and to keep up to date with established and emerging biotechs from the UK. The discussions at such BELS events were invariably lively, informative and fun…… Nigel’s BELS Xmas party jokes are legendary and underlined the importance of his somewhat larger-than-life personality in making BELS a reality and a forum that everyone eagerly attended.   Dr Ronald Farquhar, Biotech Investor, Morningside, Newton, Massachusetts, USA

BELS is a very attractive concept. I think many expats feel that they can provide a bridgehead to the UK at many levels but lack an organization through which they can contribute.   Dr Geoffrey Cox, Principal, Beacon Street Advisers, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

I strongly endorse the idea behind BELS. After the wonderful education I received in the UK, it’s nice to give something back. I expect that my experience in the healthcare community in the US, both in large pharmaceuticals and especially in the biotechnology sector, is of value to those in the UK that are trying to capitalize on its outstanding scientific talent pool. BELS also provides the opportunity to connect with a new generation of talented scientists, and perhaps help them commercialize their ideas and technologies.   Dr Alan Lewis, Serial board member, San Diego, California, USA

Feedback on BELS inaugural UK event–The Alumni Summit in Oxford, July 2015:

The Alumni Summit assembled a remarkable mix of people… We need to find new ways to talk to each other and work together. This has been a terrific way to start that dialogue.  Sir John Bell, the Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, The Alumni Summit Chair

The conference was very timely and I have had offers of collaborations and business advice already.  Prof Sarah Blagden, University of Oxford Department of Oncology, UK

It was a terrific event. Great networking and I learned a tremendous amount. I would be very interested in participating more in future. We are working on several initiatives in Oxford and the Summit certainly helped to make connections stronger.   Dr Rupert Vessey, President, Research and Early Development, Celgene, USA

Maintain and develop this event.  Simon Russell, Chief Business Officer, Creabilis, Switzerland

What a valuable experience – impressive energy and creativity in our Oxford community, both in ‘the locals’ as well as in the Oxford global diaspora. I know there will be a great deal of interest in your work as well as in the potential business opportunities when we return to the Bay Area.  Dr Theresa Wright, Senior Medical Director, Genentech, USA

Hold more of these events so that connections made may be strengthened.  I found the idea that rather than competing with the USA in terms of therapeutic-focused biotechs the UK is instead focusing upon its strengths in the genetic technologies area. I found this both exciting and fascinating.  Simon Blake, Sr Director, Scientific Licensing for Immunology, Johnson & Johnson, USA

I was inspired to learn about ways in which the NHS sees itself as a catalyst for innovation.   Dr Ronald Farquhar, Biotech Investor, Morningside, USA

The content of the meeting was thought provoking and provided a fascinating insight into how much things are changing within academic research community. I was positively surprised at how much the UK was doing particularly in big data and healthcare records. The US has a lot to learn from these efforts.   Dr John Richards, VP Global Technical Development, The Medicines Company, USA

I’d like to see more meetings with opportunities to meet with UK government, companies, start-ups, entrepreneurs, scientists and academic institutions.  Gordon Wong, Head of New Frontier Science, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, USA

It was great to see you in Oxford and congratulations on the conference which I think was a tremendous success.  I’ve already begun this process (strengthening connections) with introductions to possible collaborations regarding precision drug discovery approaches.  Dr Dominic Behan, CSO, Arena Pharmaceuticals, USA

I really enjoyed the conference – I made some very helpful business connections.   Heather Preston, Managing Director, TPG Biotech, USA

 


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