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Home | Team | The Board

Mrs Jo Parfrey - Chair

Jo is an experienced and successful investment professional with more than 10 years in the private equity industry. A qualified accountant, ACA, by training, she has worked in the corporate finance departments of FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies.

In addition to being Chair of the Babraham Research Campus Board, Jo is a Non Executive Director on Octopus AIM VCT plc, Start Codon and Ieso Digital Health. She is also a mentor on the Accelerate Program at the Judge Business School, Cambridge.

Jo has had significant board exposure, having held a number of non-executive posts. Having been a member of the Investment Committee of a leading private equity house, Jo is experienced in investment appraisal. Skilled in the evaluation of businesses, her strengths include identifying value creation opportunities at both a revenue and profit level. She has supported businesses in growth through investment and cost management, with a wealth of experience of developing business plans and working with businesses to secure appropriate financing.

Passionate about growing businesses, Jo has worked closely with entrepreneurs/management teams. She has a wealth of experience of arranging, working with and managing complicated shareholder structures, including a broad range of stakeholder groups. She has a proven track record of working with businesses to drive strategic initiatives and deliver outstanding financial results. 

Previous non executive roles include Classic Hospitals Ltd, a group of ten private acute hospitals, IDH, the largest provider of NHS dentistry in the UK, and Verna Care, a manufacturer of infection control products.

She has a chemistry degree from Oxford University.

Dr Simon Cook, Interim Director, Babraham Institute

Simon joined the Institute as a tenure-track group leader in 1997 and held a CRUK Senior Cancer Research Fellowship from 2000-2006. His lab investigates how protein kinases orchestrate the cellular response to growth factors, nutrient availability or stress and damage. One focus in the area of nutrient signalling and longevity is understanding the cellular and molecular basis of the lifespan extension observed upon chronic mTOR inhibition. The group also work to define the role of the ERK1/2, JNK and p38 signalling pathways in stress resistance and cell longevity. Simon has collaborated extensively with the biotech and pharma sector to translate his knowledge of signalling pathways, including a long-standing collaboration with AstraZeneca.

From 2013-2021 Simon coordinated Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation activities within the Institute. Since September 2020, he has led the Institute’s Signalling research programme and he was appointed as Interim Director in 2021. Simon has served on BBSRC Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Worldwide Cancer Research (AICR) grants committees and the scientific advisory boards of the Beatson Institute Drug Discovery Unit, the CRUK Therapeutic Discovery Labs and the Northern Institute for Cancer Research Drug Discovery Unit. He currently serves on the Scientific Sub-Committee of PhoreMost, a drug discovery SME based on the Babraham Research Campus

Dr Karen Lewis, Executive Director, Capability and Innovation, BBSRC

 Karen studied for a degree in biology and PhD in microbiology. Before joining BBSRC, she worked in commercial research and development with both a small biotechnology company and a large corporate. Karen has extensive experience withn BBSRC, and the research councils in a broad range of research and innovation strategy areas. She has held a number of senior roles in what is now the BBSRC Capability and Innovation domain, including leading BBSRC business engagement activities, and establishing a knowledge exchange and commercialisation team. More recently, Karen has also been involved in developing the BBSRC research and innovation campus strategy, working on BBSRC’s bioeconomy strategy, and ensuring these enable bioscience research to deliver benefit and impact for the UK.

As Executive Director, Capability and Innovation at, Karen’s responsibilities include:

  • Innovation strategy, particularly through research and innovation campuses and infrastructure
  • Business engagement
  • Programmes supporting and enabling innovation and knowledge exchange including enabling the emergence of bioscience based businesses
  • High level skills developments in the biosciences - studentships and fellowships
  • Representing BBSRC on the Rainbow Seed Fund, NRP Translational Fund and Plant Bioscience Ltd.

Dr Jane Osbourn OBE

Jane was an early employee of Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT), which became MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca.  At CAT she contributed to the development of phage display technology, for which Sir Greg Winter was awarded the Nobel prize for Chemistry in 2018. An expert in biologics discovery and development, she has authored many key publications and patents, and during her time at MedImmune / AstraZeneca, made a significant contribution to the discovery and development of eight marketed drugs and more than 40 clinical candidates. She has recently taken on the role of chair of the Cambridge-based cell therapy company Mogrify and is involved in a number of other biotech start-up initiatives. She is passionate about the development of the UK biotechnology sector and was elected Chair of the Board of Directors of the BioIndustry Association in 2015. She is also a Director of Babraham Research Campus Ltd and a Director of Cambridge Enterprise. Jane has a First Class degree in Natural Sciences (Biochemistry) from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD in plant virology from the John Innes Institute in Norwich. She has presented at a number of parliamentary Select Committees and has previously served as a Member of the UK Medical Research Council Industry Grant Award Assessment Panel, and is a member of the Crick Translational Advisory Group. In 2016 she was recognised in the PharmaVoice 100, and also in Fierce Pharma’s “Fierce Women in Biopharma” – one of 15 women in the global industry noteworthy for their leadership, providing mentorship and helping increase opportunities for women in science. In 2019 she was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours for services to drug discovery, development and biotechnology.

Derek Jones, Chief Executive

Derek has brought a wealth of experience to the Babraham Research Campus - over 25 years' in the life-science industry as both a scientist and in business development and corporate development, with first-hand experience of establishing biomedical ventures.

Initially a medicinal chemist with Merck, Derek moved into business and corporate development at Chiroscience, (one of the UK first biotech companies which grew from 17 staff to a FTSE 100 company), successfully negotiating and managing several multi-million pound licensing agreements, (Bristol-Myers Squibb, Purdue Pharma, Mariushi) including being part of the team that licensed the UK’s first biotech product, Chirocaine. 

In 2000, he co-founded his first company, BioWisdom, an IT/Drug discovery company. Derek was appointed COO at DanioLabs in 2002, a therapeutics company using zebrafish as a model organism for drug discovery, where he grew the company from 4 to 34 employees and raised around £10 million for VC backed companies, before selling DanioLabs to Vastox, (now Summit Plc), for £15 million in 2007. 

He joined Babraham Research Campus Ltd (formerly BBT) in 2008 as Chief Business Officer with responsibility for the knowledge exchange and commercialisation (KEC) of the Babraham Institute’s intellectual property portfolio.  During that time he spun out Crescendo Biologics whose business is focussed around intellectual property from the Babraham Institute.   

Derek has been a member of the Babraham Research Campus board since October 2008 and became CEO of Babraham Research Campus Ltd in 2010. Following restructuring of the business in 2013, Babraham Research Campus Ltd’s primary focus has been on the development and management of the campus, with KEC responsibilities returning to the Babraham Institute.

Derek has a 1st degree in Chemistry, a Master in Information Technology, and an MBA as the first cohort of the Cambridge University Judge Business School MBA programme, and is a Chartered Director. He is a non-executive director at Rothamsted Enterprises. He also sits on the Cambridge University Enterprise Investment Committee and is a Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College Cambridge University.

BECKY PAXTON, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Becky is responsible for the finance, HR and health & safety functions of Babraham Research Campus Ltd (formerly BBT). She first joined Babraham Research Campus Ltd in February 2002, as the 2nd full time employee. Having completed CIMA qualification training within Babraham Research Campus Ltd, Becky qualified in 2008 and was promoted to Chief Financial Officer in November 2017. Becky sits on the Babraham Research Campus Ltd Board.

Prior to joining Babraham Research Campus Ltd, Becky worked and studied for an advanced modern apprenticeship and gained the Association of Accounting Technicians qualification, completing the final stages of her apprenticeship at Nexan, a start-up VC backed company, in 2001. This gave her an initial insight into the world of R&D start-up businesses.

Clive Stanway

Clive is an independent cancer drug discovery and development advisor. In addition to Babraham Research Campus, Clive holds non-executive director positions at Atelerix Ltd and CytoSeek Ltd and serves on the scientific advisory boards of 4Bio Capital and ANGLE plc.

Clive trained as a scientist in cell and molecular biology at Imperial College and Oxford University, rising to junior faculty status. He transitioned into cancer drug discovery and development firstly at Xenova and Prolifix and subsequently at Cancer Research UK where he established and led a team operating to pharmaceutical company standards. During the course of his career Clive has been involved in projects which have matured from discovery status into clinical development.  For many years, he was part of the executive team in the commercial arm of Cancer Research UK, during which time it grew to have an interest in four drugs on the market and multimillion pound revenues. It was also the intellectual property contributor to many cancer therapeutic and diagnostic start-up companies. Clive was a significant driver in both the initiation and the completion of various deals in the pharmaceutical sector, including companies such as Celgene and FORMA Therapeutics. 

Alexander Hewitson AstraZeneca - Head of Operations BioPharmaceuticals R&D

Alex is a highly experienced Chartered Engineer and Chartered Surveyor with over 20 years’ experience working in a variety of environments successfully delivering business critical projects and programmes; the last 13 years of which have been specialising within the life-sciences sector.

In 2015 Alex joined AstraZeneca and has held a number of senior roles within the business including that of Programme Executive, providing the business lead role on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer and Senior Leadership Team with respect to the organisations transition to Cambridge. More recently Alex has held the position of Head of Operations BioPharmaceuticals R&D, both ensuring business operations are maintained during the transitional move to Cambridge as well as establishing the future operational strategy.    

Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Alex led the delivery of the UKs National Capability Asset, in the form of the high containment laboratories at The Pirbright Institute in Surrey. Initially this was as Project Director for the delivery of the National Virology Centre and then as Programme Director for the broader Development Programme on behalf of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). In addition, Alex was responsible for the delivery of BBSRCs strategic priorities in the development of the UK Research and Innovation Campuses, through the delivery of key specialist national assets across the Estate Portfolio.

As well as senior roles in consultancy and in both the Public and Private sectors, Alex also spent time with the Ministry of Defence providing specialist advice as a subject matter expert on the delivery of projects and programmes across the Global Crown Estate. Alex is passionate about developing best practice and in achieving delivery excellence and acts as both a coach and mentor across his professional network.

Contact us

BABRAHAM RESEARCH
CAMPUS

(+44) 1223 496 000
info@babraham.co.uk

Babraham Research Campus Ltd
Babraham Research Campus
Cambridge
CB22 3AT, United Kingdom

Press Enquiries

Limewash
01223 813 557
info@limewash.co.uk

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