Meet the team
Dr Jelena Aleksic
Jelena is a geneticist and serial entrepreneur, passionate about the potential of biotechnology to improve patients’ lives. She brings significant commercial and business development experience and is leading PharmEnable’s business efforts. She was the founder and CEO of GeneAdviser, an online marketplace for clinical genetic tests (now owned by the UK NHS). She also founded a life science and business strategy consultancy, SparkBio Ltd. She completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge in Genomics and Computational Biology and has an academic background in genome regulation and rare diseases.
As a senior computational chemist, Marta is responsible for PharmEnable’s drug discovery computational pipeline. She brings expertise and experience in ligand-based and structure-based methods, as well as in the application of ML/AI techniques for drug design and discovery. She has five years of academic research experience in computer-aided drug design and structural biology. Marta is completing a Ph.D. at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam focusing on in silico drug discovery.
Dr Andreas Bender
Andreas is a life science data analyst who is committed to developing new methods in the field (using AI/ML) and their application, primarily related to chemical biology, drug discovery and in silico toxicology. He is an Associate Director of Computational ADME and Safety within Clinical Pharmacology and Safety Science at AstraZeneca Cambridge, as well as a Reader in Molecular Informatics at University of Cambridge, with a successful history of spin-outs. He completed a Ph.D. in Cheminformatics at the University of Cambridge, followed by a postdoctoral stay with Novartis in Cambridge/MA.
Dr James Dale
James has over 18 years experience in drug discovery, with expertise in synthetic and medicinal chemistry. At PharmEnable, he is leading the drug discovery and pipeline strategy, focusing on candidate progression to develop novel therapeutics. In his previous roles at Nanna Therapeutics, Benevolent AI and Novartis, James was responsible for leading teams to successfully generate pipelines of novel medicines. He completed his Ph.D in synthetic organic chemistry at Cardiff University.
Dr Jane Dancer
A highly experienced CBO, Jane brings a wealth of knowledge about business development and driving company growth. As the PharmEnable company Chair, she has an active role in advising on business strategy and governance processes. Her past roles include Chief Business Officer at F-star, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. Prior to this, she was Vice President of Business Development at Cellzome Ltd and Director of Business Development at Cambridge AntibodyTechnology, later acquired by AstraZeneca. She holds an MA and Ph.D. in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from The Cambridge Judge Business School.
David is an Oxford-based life sciences angel investor, with a passion for working with early-stage companies to realise an ambitious idea and attract investment capital for growth. He has over 20 years’ experience in asset management globally and across a range of asset classes. Since 2016, David has been focused on early-stage investing, managing the Arrowfield Capital syndicate.
As a PharmEnable NED, Gaynor brings significant experience in business development across both the private and public sectors. Her previous work has spanned across biologics and small molecules, medicines, diagnostics and devices, in-licensing, out-licensing, company acquisition, and sale. Gaynor was previously VP of Business Development at AstraZeneca where her UK and US teams were responsible for identifying, evaluating, and negotiating opportunities across different disease fields. Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Gaynor was the VP of Business Development at Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT). She holds an MBA from the University of Manchester.
Dr Sarah Kidd
Sarah is a medicinal chemist with wide experience in diversity-generating methodologies, as well as in the identification and optimization of novel small molecules for drug discovery. Sarah joined PharmEnable from the University of Leeds where she worked as a postdoctoral researcher developing novel inhibitors of an RNA helicase. She undertook a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Cambridge which was funded by AstraZeneca and involved collaborative projects with Diamond Light Source and the Structural Genomics Consortium.
As computational chemist, Anika is contributing to PharmEnable’s database growth efforts. She has completed BSc and MSc degrees at the University of Heidelberg in Molecular Biotechnology, with a focus on Bioinformatics, and research experience across multiple experimental and computational research groups. Currently, Anika is undertaking a GSK-funded PhD in Computational Toxicology at the University of Cambridge, trying to understand the mechanisms behind drug side effects better in order to help to identify them earlier in drug development.
Dr Christine Martin
Christine joins PharmEnable as the Investor Director from Cambridge Enterprise. As Head of Life Science investment at Cambridge Enterprise, Christine works to help create companies across the breadth of the life sciences, with a focus on drug discovery. She has a background managing technology transfer at Cambridge University and has also managed the University of Cambridge-GSK open innovation drug discovery initiative. She also enjoyed 11 years working at Biotica, a University spin-out. Christine has an MA and DPhil from the University of Oxford, has authored over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles and is an inventor on over 20 patents.
Dr Natalia Mateu
Natalia is an organic and medicinal chemist leading the development of the PharmEnable scientific portfolio. Her strong chemistry background, with a particular focus on diversity generating methodologies, has shaped the scientific methods that form the foundation of PharmEnable’s unique offering. She brings over 14 years or organic and medicinal chemistry research within the pharmaceutical sector and academia, from the University of Cambridge and Janssen/J&J. She has a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Valencia.
Peter joins PharmEnable as the board appointee of the non-Cambridge Enterprise seed round investors. He brings significant expertise in venture capital investment, finance, and governance, having been involved with over 30 start-up and early-stage life science businesses – with a majority of those at board level. Peter has focused principally on the drug discovery and development sector, covering a wide variety of therapeutic areas. Formerly a co-founder and General Partner with SV Health Investors, he is currently a life sciences consultant with Martlet Capital.
Dr Dragana Mitic Potkrajac
Dragana has extensive experience in managing research activities and projects, market analysis and competitive intelligence, and scientific knowledge extraction and data integration. Her role at PharmEnable focuses on boosting the company’s business development efforts. She has over 10 years of experience working in biotechnology, including at Cambridge Cell Networks and Metisox Ltd, collaborating on projects with academics and industrial partners, in the field of toxicology across a range of different diseases. She completed a PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Düsseldorf.
Dr Hannah Sore
A medicinal chemist by training, Hannah is recognised for championing innovative methods for discovering much needed new drugs. She brings over 20 years of research expertise within the life sciences and drug discovery sector at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Astex Therapeutics and at the University of Cambridge, including 10 years consulting and business experience across healthcare sectors at Frost & Sullivan and HFS Scientific Ltd. She completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge in Organic Chemistry and has authored over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and is an inventor on 13 patents.
Prof David Spring
Dave Spring is a world-leading expert with decades of experience in methodologies for diversity-oriented synthesis, leading a large and active academic research group in this space. He is a Professor at the University of Cambridge within the Chemistry Department and a Fellow of Trinity College. His research interests originate from a desire to understand and exploit biological systems using organic synthesis. He holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford for work on the biosynthesis of manzamine alkaloids under the supervision of Sir Jack Baldwin. He also worked at Harvard University with Stuart Schreiber before joining the faculty at Cambridge.
Dr Ian Tomlinson
Ian brings over 25 years of experience in the life sciences sector from academic research to biotech startup to big pharma. He is Chairman of the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, UK’s first open innovation biomedical campus, Chairman of the Investment Committee for Apollo Therapeutics and Chairman of Start Codon, the Cambridge-based life sciences accelerator. Ian co-founded Domantis Ltd with Sir Gregory Winter (acquired by GSK). He then served as SVP, Head of Worldwide Business Development and Head of Biopharm R&D at GSK. Ian holds a PhD from Cambridge University, and spent 11 years at the MRC LMB working on antibody technologies.
Dr David Vidal
David is a chemist by background, with over a decade of experience in developing methods for computational drug discovery. At PharmEnable, he is leading the technology development, focusing on implementing innovative modelling techniques and algorithms as part of our drug discovery platform. In his previous role at Mind the Byte, he led the R&D department; a multidisciplinary team of scientists and software engineers developing new modelling technologies for in silico drug discovery. He completed his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Barcelona.
A Cambridge story
Our story emerges out of the research and the collaborative ecosystem that is typical of Cambridge University. Cambridge brings together scientific expertise and commercial experience, to produce innovations with global impact.