Management

Dr Arron Tolley

Chief Executive Officer

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Arron holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biophysics from the University of Leeds and has a B.Sc. in Molecular Medicine. Arron has several years’ experience raising aptamers against complex cellular targets and model disease systems. He has developed several aptamer panels against model cell lines associated with oesophageal adenocarcinoma. These have shown promise for use as cell imaging reagents, biomarker discovery tools and as novel therapeutics. Arron still plays an active role in the R&D side of the group and is credited with the invention and development of a new aptamer based biomarker discovery platform (Aptasort) to be offered to the life sciences industry through the aptamer group.

Dr David Bunka

Chief Technical Officer

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Dave holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Leeds and is a Geneticist by training. He spent 12 years developing high throughput automated aptamer selection methods at the University of Leeds. David has built up a solid international reputation in the field. Since 2003 David has isolated ~200 aptamers against a wide variety of targets including: small molecule antibiotics, food contaminants, disease associated proteins, several cancer associated cell-lines, viruses and patient tissue samples. Since joining the group officially in 2012 David had developed over 50 aptamers to various targets and has development several patentable process variations. David has authored several aptamer papers in peer reviewed journals, including 2 invited review articles and a book chapter in 2012 for the Royal Society of Chemistry entitled “therapeutic uses of nucleic acid aptamer conjugates”.

David Collins

Chief  Commercial Officer

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David started in contract research as a Study Director and Project Co-ordinator in regulatory preclinical toxicology. His first commercial role provided an internal business support service to the Safety Assessment Division of Inveresk Research (now Charles River). Subsequent roles in sales and marketing set him up to manage a team helping customers establish integrated drug development testing programmes. Responsibility expanded to support biosafety testing, agrochemical and veterinary product testing, laboratory sciences (bioanalysis and DMPK), Phase I clinical and discovery services. David has collaborated with virtual, biotech, academia and big Pharma customers globally. His focus on customer service and relationship management was utilised specifically for Key Strategic Account management at Charles River. David joined the Aptamer Group from a niche high expertise discovery group focused on oncology.

Professor Paul Townsend

Non Executive Director

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Paul is a HEFCE funded group leader and Full Professor in Institute of Cancer Sciences at the University of Manchester. He is also Associate Dean of Business Engagement in the Faculty of Medical & Human Sciences. Previously Paul held the position of Chair of Molecular Cell Biology at the University of Southampton, where he was also Associate Director of Enterprise & Innovation for the Faculty of Medicine and Deputy Director of Cancer Sciences within the Cancer Research UK Clinical Centre and Lymphoma and Leukaemia Research Centre of Excellence. Paul has spent time on the board of several start-up companies and held a position of Business Fellow with the London Technology Network. Paul co-founded Karus Therapeutics in July 2005, a biotechnology spinout company. Karus recently relocated to Milton Science Park, Oxford following significant Series B fund raising. Paul relocated to Manchester 2013 and is highly active in research, generating >£3.5million in research income and maintaining a strong track record of recent publications. The reputation of Paul’s research is reflected in continued invitations to present in the UK and international conferences. Paul helps coordinate and chair the “apoptosis” session at the American Heart Association annual conference.

Steve Hull

Non Executive Director

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Steve is a highly experienced Investor and Non-Exec Director and has enjoyed great prior success in the Information Technology sector. From humble beginnings, having started up Online Computer Services in 1981 writing software in his back bedroom, Steve built up the business to become a major business solutions provider to the Drinks and Logistics sector employing over 120 people. Online was acquired by Alphameric Plc in 2000 where Steve sat on the Operational board until 2003.Steve subsequently bought Sawfish Software Ltd from Receivership. He brought focus to the business and provided expert software for the Debt industry early 2004. The business was successfully grown to a point where it was acquired by TDX Group in October 2011. Steve brings a wealth of business and commercial experience.

Andrew Skinn

Non Executive Director

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Andrew has 30 years of experience in the medical device industry during which time he has set up joint manufacturing ventures in India and is currently engaged in setting up a manufacturing venture in China. He has also set up distribution to ‘globalise’ his innovations in 36 countries and has particularly strong knowledge of the Asian markets. Andrew has exited from 3 businesses he set up and also worked for 5 years with Biotrace PLC as Business development advisor to the CEO during which time the share price rose from 26p (2001) to 130p on exit to 3M 5 years later. Andrew still consults for the US business (Baker Inc) who acquired his cell biology business and currently has a diverse range of interests. Andrew is an experienced Entrepreneur with a track record of pioneering innovations which include the innovation of the world’s first instant hygiene test now used extensively in food safety applications around the world – technology now in the hands of 3M following a series of acquisitions, innovation of precision low oxygen tissue culture systems for cell biology and regenerative medicine, innovation of an integrated ‘Womb’ environment used in IVF to improve clinical pregnancy rate, the development of a range of jewellery that features integrated technology and the set up an operation of Yorkshire most awarded ‘Boutique holiday resort’ (Faweather Grange).