Our team

Our team has created a platform of novel small molecules targeting specific pathways within complex integrin biology.
We aim to develop our preclinical and discovery-stage assets towards clinical application, to offer new treatments and relief for millions of patients  affected by life-limiting conditions for which no effective therapy currently exists.

Founding Leadership

Thomas McInally

FOUNDER
Thomas McInally

Tom has 30 years’ experience as a medicinal chemist in the pharmaceutical industry (Fisons, Astra, AstraZeneca) and is an inventor on 42 patents and 24 peer review articles in various therapeutic areas.

He led the AstraZeneca medicinal chemistry team in a 6-year collaborative research project with Dainippon Sumitomo to discover novel TLR7 agonists for respiratory diseases. The project developed four candidate drugs with one entering clinical trials.

In 2011 he moved to the University of Nottingham to teach medicinal chemistry to 4th year students and lead a project to discover novel integrin inhibitors for the treatment of fibrotic diseases. The main objective of the programme was the design and development of novel αvβ6 integrin inhibitors for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Multiple series of novel compounds with various integrin selectivity profiles were identified from this research.

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Chris Moody

FOUNDER
Chris Moody

Chris is an internationally recognised scientist with over 440 publications and 10 patents in research focused at the interface of chemistry, biology and medicine. 

His early academic career was spent at Imperial College London, and following chair appointments at Loughborough and Exeter, he took up the Sir Jesse Boot Chair of Chemistry in the University of Nottingham in 2005. 

He was Director of the £5.3M EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training, co-manager of the €6.5M Nottingham component of the EU-funded Innovative Medicines Initiative the European Lead Factory, and played a key role in establishing the Nottingham integrin project in 2011 with the co-founders. 

He is now Professor Emeritus in the University. Prior to academia, he was involved the design of ACE inhibitors at Roche, his work laying the foundations for the subsequent discovery and marketing of the antihypertensive cilazapril.

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Alison John

FOUNDER
Alison John

Alison is a cell and molecular biologist specialising in the identification and evaluation of novel therapeutic targets in lung disease. 

She has expertise in integrin biology, pro-fibrotic signalling pathway analysis and extensive in vivo pharmacology experience assessing the efficacy of novel anti-fibrotic compounds in murine fibrotic lung disease models. 

She led an in vivo programme of lung disease research at the University of Nottingham (2006-2021) including external collaborations with industrial partners to evaluate novel integrin inhibitors. 

An expert in the design and implementation of pre-clinical studies with a particular focus on the identification of clinically relevant pharmacodynamic biomarkers, she currently leads a large laboratory at the Margaret Turner Warwick Centre for Fibrosing Lung Disease at the National Heart and Lung Institute, UK at Imperial College, London.

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Board of Directors

Sunil Shah

Executive Chair

Sunil Shah is an entrepreneur who began his career in the Life Sciences team at PA Consulting. He co-founded Oxygen Healthcare Ltd that was fully acquired by Piramal Enterprises Ltd in 2013. 

Sunil has since co-founded the o2h Group that includes o2h Ventures, an HMRC approved ‘Human Health’ Knowledge Intensive EIS fund; o2h Discovery, a medicinal chemistry research services company and o2h Co-Work Labs, a 2.7-acre Science Park under development in South Cambridge. 

Sunil has won the UKBAA Angel Investor of the year award in 2019 as well as the OBN Special Recognition Award for his significant contribution in the Life Sciences Industry. 

He serves on the Board of the BIA as well as Cambridge Angels. Recently, Sunil has also won the CEO of the Year award at the Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards. 

He is either Chairman, Non-Executive Director, Board Observer or an investor in over 20 Biotech companies in the UK. Sunil has a degree in Biochemistry from Keele and an MBA from Cambridge University.

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Alice MacGowan

Non-executive director

With close to 20 years’ experience in commercialising early-stage life sciences research, Alice MacGowan has worked with pharma and medtech SMEs to identify, fund and accelerate development of new technologies towards the clinic. 

Currently a Life Sciences Executive with the University of Nottingham subsidiary Nottingham Technology Ventures Ltd, Alice has a BSc from the University of Glasgow and a PhD from the University of Sheffield, both in Developmental Biology.

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Thomas McInally

Non-executive director
Thomas McInally

Tom has 30 years’ experience as a medicinal chemist in the pharmaceutical industry (Fisons, Astra, AstraZeneca) and is an inventor on 42 patents and 24 peer review articles in various therapeutic areas.

He led the AstraZeneca medicinal chemistry team in a 6-year collaborative research project with Dainippon Sumitomo to discover novel TLR7 agonists for respiratory diseases. The project developed four candidate drugs with one entering clinical trials.

In 2011 he moved to the University of Nottingham to teach medicinal chemistry to 4th year students and lead a project to discover novel integrin inhibitors for the treatment of fibrotic diseases. The main objective of the programme was the design and development of novel αvβ6 integrin inhibitors for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Multiple series of novel compounds with various integrin selectivity profiles were identified from this research.

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Advisors

Rod MacKenzie, CMG, PhD

Senior Scientific Advisor
Rod MacKenzie, CMG, PhD

Rod has recently retired from a wide range of very senior positions after 35 years at Pfizer, including Group Senior Vice President of PharmaTherapeutics R&D and Senior Vice President and Head of Worldwide Research.

He also served as Site Director of Pfizer’s largest global R&D facility in Groton, CT, most recently holding the position of Chief Development Officer and Executive Vice President. He led the clinical development of Pfizer’s pipeline of innovative medicines and vaccines, including the mRNA vaccine ComirnatyTM and the antiviral PaxlovidTM for COVID-19. He was a member of Pfizer’s executive leadership team.

Rod represented Pfizer on the board of directors for ViiV Healthcare, a global specialist HIV company established by GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer to deliver advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV.  

He also chaired the board of TransCelerate, a non-profit biopharmaceutical industry collaborative formed to identify and solve common drug development challenges with the end goals of improving clinical trial quality and bringing new treatment to patients faster.  Rod first joined Pfizer in Sandwich, U.K., as a research scientist and conducted medicinal chemistry research in several disease areas.  He is the co-inventor of darifenacin, brand named Enablex™.

He was appointed Companion of The Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2022 for his outstanding service to public health.

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Nik Hirani

Senior Clinical Advisor
Nik Hirani

Nik is a Reader in Respiratory Medicine and Associate Medical Director the University of Edinburgh and Royal Infirmary Edinburgh. He leads Edinburgh Lung Fibrosis service and is a PI in the Centre for Inflammation Research within the Institute of Regeneration and Repair.

He has a 20 years’ experience of translational research and early phase trials in lung fibrosis. His research aim is to better characterise the interstitial lung diseases by establishing detailed 'molecular' signatures (endotype) for individuals with lung fibrosis.

He founded the Edinburgh Lung Fibrosis Molecular Endotyping (ELFMEN) cohort which consists of more than 2500 consented patients and has enabled recruitment to clinical trials and discovery of novel biomarkers and targets.

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