Board of Directors
Chairman of the Board – Damian Marron
Damian Marron is an experienced Board Chair and Non-Executive Director, corporate advisor and former serial CEO with a successful track record of value creation through public and venture capital financing, portfolio planning, M&, licensing agreements and R&D collaborations, both as an executive and in advisory roles. He has notably specialized in immuno-oncology, cell therapy and orphan diseases. Damian is currently Non-Executive Chair of the Board at Targovax ASA and Cytoseek Ltd, Non-Executive Director at Cantargia AB, Bone Therapeutics SA and Resolys Bio Inc. He is also Head of Biopharma with Treehill Partners, a global pure-play healthcare advisory firm. Damian has formerly been Chair of the Board of Directors of PepGen Ltd and the CEO at Agalimmune Ltd, TxCell SA, Cytheris SA, and Trophos SA. He is a pharmacologist and cell biologist by training and spent ten years in big pharma R&D. Mr Marron is a British and Irish citizen; he resides in France.
CEO- Richard Bungay
Richard was formerly Chief Executive Officer of AIM-listed Diurnal Group plc, where he led the recent sale of the company to Neurocrine Biosciences. Richard has over 25 years’ experience in senior roles in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors, including as CFO and COO at Mereo Biopharma and CEO of Chroma Therapeutics. Richard has been involved in fundraisings totalling over $250 million, along with the negotiation and execution of multiple business development deals. Richard also has extensive experience of taking novel drugs from research through to clinical development and commercialisation and has been involved with the development of six currently marketed drugs, including three novel biological agents. Richard qualified with Deloitte as a Chartered Accountant and has a First Class degree in Chemistry from Nottingham University.
Co-founder/CSO – Fred Garzoni
Mr Frederic Garzoni is an inventor and entrepreneur with more than 10 years’ experience in managing R&D projects and high-tech platforms at top institutions, including European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) Grenoble, The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). Fred has co-authored high-impact publications in top ranked journals including Nature and Science. Fred led the production platform in the multimillion Euro EC consortium project ComplexINC, flagged as 'breakthrough' by the Commission, and delivered high-value drug discovery targets for global pharma enterprises. Award-winning innovator, Fred received BBSRC Future Talent and Mobility Award 2017, SynBiCITE 4D-MBA Closest-to-Market Award and Start-Up Award. Fred moved from France to Bristol (UK) to incorporate and establish Imophoron Ltd. Fred has been appointed Franco-British Young Leader (2022 cohort) by the Franco-British Council.
Consultant and Co-founder – Professor Imre Berger
Professor Imre Berger was trained as a biochemist at Leibniz University and Medical School (MHH) in Hannover, Germany, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Cambridge, USA, and ETH Zurich, in Switzerland. He is a synthetic and structural biologist researching synthetic vaccines, DNA delivery systems and complex biologics in human health and disease and develops enabling technologies for this purpose.
Imre carried out his PhD work at MIT with the late Alexander Rich, a pioneer in molecular and structural biology. He joined Tim Richmond at ETH Zurich as a research assistant. Imre held faculty posts at ETH and EMBL Grenoble before joining Bristol University as Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry and Director of the Bristol Synthetic Biology Centre, BrisSynBio. In 2019, Imre Berger became Founding and Managing Director of Bristol's Max Planck Centre for Minimal Biology.
The technologies Imre has developed are accelerating research and development in academia and industry world-wide. He holds international patents for DNA and protein techniques, founded four biotech companies, published more than 140 papers in leading periodicals including Nature and Science, and received numerous distinctions, including the Swiss Technology Award, the W.A. DeVigier Foundation Award and the Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award for his innovative research. Since 2019, Imre is Investigator of the European Research Council (ERC).
Director – Jackie McKen
Jackie McKen (nee Turnbull) trained as a pharmacist and has over 30 years of experience in Business Development and Licensing, including 15 years running her own consultancy business, Plexsus Consulting Services Ltd. Jackie has broad commercial experience, strategic insight and knowledge of the global biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Jackie works with start-up companies and larger biotechs, in multiple therapy areas including immune-oncology and vaccines, to identify and negotiate deals for the commercialisation of single assets or sale of companies.
Prior to working as a consultant, Jackie was Commercial Director for GeneMedix plc, a biosimilars company, where she was part of the team who completed a dual float of GeneMedix (GMX) on the London and Singapore Stock Exchanges. She has worked for PA Consulting Group, Novo Nordisk A/S, Boehringer Ingelheim and Warner Lambert. Jackie is on the Board of Carbometrics Ltd, following her involvement in the sale of Ziylo to Novo Nordisk A/S, which led to the spin-out of Carbometrics and served on the Board of CanImGuide Therapeutics AB, a Swedish immuno-oncology company.
Jackie joined the Imophoron Board in March 2020 and is involved in building the team.
Director - Harry Destecroix
Harry Destecroix is a supramolecular chemist and CEO of Science Creates Ventures and Incubators. Previously, he was the founder and former CEO of Ziylo Ltd, a business he successfully grew and exited, within four years of founding, in a Share Purchase Agreement to Novo Nordisk A/S, for a potential earnout of $800m. Harry founded the Science Creates incubators in Bristol’s St Philips and Old Market districts that help support the current deep tech ecosystem. In the process of establishing the incubators, he has helped multiple spin outs to emerge, advising them on strategy and helping them build the initial team. Harry sits on the University of Bristol Investment Committee.
Director - Mike Westby, PhD.
Mike is a senior Exec with over 20 years R&D Pharma and Biotech Industry experience, including at Roche and Pfizer. He led the Anti-Infectives Research Group at Pfizer’s Sandwich R&D site and played a key role in progressing novel compounds through clinical trials, including maraviroc (Selzentry) a first-in-class HIV entry inhibitor. Mike’s team also supported Pfizer’s preclinical vaccine programs, comprising DNA-based vaccines for RSV and HSV. As founder and CEO of three start-up Biotechs, Mike has successfully raised >£40m in dilutive and non-dilutive funds. Mike is currently CSO of Centauri Therapeutics Limited, a privately-owned UK Biotech with a novel immunotherapeutic platform (“Alphamers”) for infectious diseases. Mike also holds NED positions on the Boards of a number of early stage Biotechs. Mike was the co-founder of Agalimmune Ltd, a preclinical stage biotech that developed a novel immunotherapeutic (AGI-134) for treating solid tumours. Agalimmune was successfully sold to BiolineRx in 2017 and AGI-134 is now in early clinical development. Mike trained in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Durham, obtained his PhD at Warwick University and studied immunology and microbiology as a post-doctoral research fellow at St George’s Hospital Medical School, London. He is the co-author of more than 50 manuscripts and patents.
Director- Uzma Choudry
Uzma is an academic by background with a PhD in Biophysics and Synthetic Biology. Uzma has built out and leads Octopus Venture’s Biotech/TechBio investment strategy, portfolio, and network. She is one of the most active investors in TechBio in Europe. She is on the board of several seed to series B biotech businesses, and historically been a mentor to early-stage venture cohorts from Babraham and Royal Academy of Engineering.