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ELRIG UK establishes Scientific Advisory Board
The European Laboratory Research & Innovation Group (ELRIG) UK has announced the formation of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) with the appointment of senior drug discovery experts
Dr Chas Bountra OBE, Dr Richard Eglen, Steve Rees OBE, Dr Cathy Tralau-Stewart, and Dr Ian Waddell. The SAB will help the organisation continue to deliver reliable, cutting-edge content to the life science and drug discovery communities, driving collaboration and knowledge exchange between academic and biopharma industry thought-leaders.
The newly formed SAB will be chaired by Dr Catherine Kettleborough, Science Strategy Work Group Leader at ELRIG UK and Head of Biology at LifeArc, and supported by Melanie Leveridge, Chair of ELRIG UK and Head of Screening, Profiling and Mechanistic Biology, and Global Compound Management at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Sanj Kumar, General Manager at ELRIG UK, and Dr Saleha Patel, Networking Work Group Leader at ELRIG UK and Senior Scientist at AstraZeneca.
Dr Catherine Kettleborough has over 25 years’ experience working at the interface of academic research and biopharma. As Head of Biology at LifeArc’s Centre for Translational Sciences, Dr Kettleborough oversees reagent and assay development, screening, and target validation to support hit-to-lead and antibody discovery projects for novel drug targets identified by academic research groups globally. Prior to her current role, she was Assistant Director of Applied Research at MRC Technology where she managed the Assay Development and Screening Group.
Dr Chas Bountra OBE is Pro-Vice Chancellor for Innovation, Professor of Translational Medicine and Director of the Centre for Medicines Discovery in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford. Prior to this, Dr Bountra was VP and Head of Biology at GSK where he led the identification of over 40 clinical candidates for gastro-intestinal, inflammatory, and neuro-psychiatric diseases. Dr Bountra advises on a range of academic, biotechnology and pharmaceutical drug discovery programmes, and he is an invited expert on several government and charitable research funding bodies.
Dr Richard Eglen has over 40 years’ experience in executive management positions across pharmaceutical, diagnostic and biotechnology industries, and he is currently Senior Advisor to a leading private equity firm that specialises in healthcare, Arsenal Capital Partners. He is also a Fellow of the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) and previously held senior roles at Corning Life Sciences, PerkinElmer, DiscoveRx Corp (now Eurofins Pharma Discovery Services), and Roche Pharmaceuticals. Dr Eglen has broad experience in drug discovery, having worked on key drug targets, as well as in developing technologies for cell and gene therapy, cell culture, high-throughput screening, cellular imaging and biomarker detection.
Steve Rees OBE is VP of Discovery Biology at AstraZeneca with responsibility for functional genomics, reagent and assay development, and cell and gene therapies. Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Rees worked at GSK for 24 years in various roles. He is currently an Industry Trustee of the British Pharmaceutical Society (BPS) Council and works to actively promote networking, educational, and mentoring opportunities for drug discovery scientists. Rees is also the former Chair of ELRIG UK and member of the SLAS Board of Directors, and has led multiple international collaborations and external partnerships, including the creation of the Cambridge COVID-19 Test Centre.
Dr Cathy Tralau-Stewart has more than 20 years’ experience in senior academic and industry leadership roles, with a focus on drug discovery and the translation of early research innovation into drug discovery programmes. She is currently CSO at C4X Discovery and, prior to this, was Senior Director of Alliances for Takeda Pharmaceuticals, where she was responsible for the strategic development and management of academic alliances. In senior leadership positions at Imperial College London, the University of California, San Francisco, and the Stanford University-Takeda Alliance for Innovative Medicines, Dr Tralau-Stewart built drug discovery portfolios through to Phase III clinical studies. She is currently a Fellow of the SLAS and the Royal Society of Chemistry, as well as a Member of the BPS.
Dr Ian Waddell is CSO for CUMULUS Oncology, with over 35 years’ experience in project, line, and matrix management in the pharmaceutical industry. In his previous role as Director of Discovery Medicine and Translational Science at AstraZeneca, Dr Waddell managed research groups in cardiovascular and oncology disease areas, and, as Head of Biology in the Drug Discovery Unit of the CRUK Manchester Institute, he led a team that identified three clinical drug candidates. He was also CSO (Early Discovery) at Charles River Laboratories, where he supported its rapid growth as the Company began to focus on new modalities. Dr Waddell works closely with Alzheimer’s Research UK and The Brain Tumour Charity.
Melanie Leveridge, Chair of ELRIG UK, and Head of Screening, Profiling and Mechanistic Biology, and Global Compound Management at GlaxoSmithKline, said: “We are pleased to welcome this talented team of industry experts to our newly formed SAB. Their extensive expertise and knowledge across the drug discovery field will support ELRIG UK to ensure the content we deliver to our community of over 12,000 drug discovery scientists remains at the forefront of scientific research and industry trends.”
Dr Catherine Kettleborough, Science Strategy Work Group Leader and SAB Chair at ELRIG UK and Head of Biology at LifeArc, commented: “The appointment of the new SAB will be fundamental in our mission to ensuring the highest quality of scientific content and to bring the life science and drug discovery communities together to learn, connect, and collaborate, on an open access basis. We look forward to working closely with this exceptional group to reinforce our core values and efforts.”
The ELRIG Early Career Professional (ECP) Impact Award 2022 is designed to recognise and celebrate ECPs that are having a positive impact on preclinical drug discovery. Dr Antje Grotz, Postdoctoral Fellow at AstraZeneca has been selected to receive this years’ award in recognition of her work performing a genome-wide CRISPR screen of human pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction to understand the molecular mechanisms mediating Type 2 diabetes risk, as well as for her efforts as an ECP at AstraZeneca and various science festivals. Dr Grotz will deliver a presentation at ELRIG UK’s Research & Innovation event taking place in Oxford, UK from 29–30 March.
Dr Mark Soave, ECP Work Group Leader at ELRIG UK and Senior Scientist at OMass Therapeutics, added: “The ECP Impact award looks to highlight our future leaders by recognising the delivery of impactful science and technology, and we are delighted that Dr Antje Grotz is this years’ recipient. We look forward to celebrating her well-deserved achievement at ELRIG UK’s Research & Innovation later this month.”