Our people

Our people are vital to our success.

Our highly differentiated team are experts at what they do. Our life sciences investment team members have deep technical scientific background, supplemented by strong commercial experience ranging from venture capital investment to pharmaceutical launch. This skill set has resulted in a strong network in life science, enabling the best talent to be attracted at the level of Syncona's portfolio companies. 

Melanie Gee

Melanie Gee

Chair

Melanie Gee is Chair and joined the Board in June 2019. Melanie has over 30 years financial advisory experience in executive positions in investment banking, advising clients across a broad range of sectors and geographies. Melanie also has extensive Non-Executive experience, having spent eight years in Non-Executive Director roles for three FTSE100 and 250 companies where she has served on numerous committees.

She is a Senior Adviser at Lazard & Co Ltd, having joined as a managing director in 2008. Formerly, Melanie spent 25 years with SG Warburg & Co Ltd and then UBS. Melanie is a Non-Executive Director at Standard Life Aberdeen where she sits on the Nomination & Governance; Audit; and Risk and Capital Committees and is the Non-executive Director with responsibility for bringing the employee voice into the Boardroom. She was previously a Non-Executive Director at Standard Life plc, prior to its merger with Aberdeen Asset Management plc. Melanie was also a Non-Executive Director of The Weir Group PLC from April 2011 to September 2017 and of Drax Group PLC from January 2013 to April 2016. Melanie sits on an advisory group for a European family office and is Chairman of Ridgeway Partners Holdings Limited, a search firm. She was an alternate member of The Takeover Panel – LIBA (CFC) between 2006 and 2013

Importance of contribution

Melanie brings extensive non-executive experience in FTSE 100 and 250 companies, giving her an in-depth understanding of governance requirements and an understanding of how to build and maintain a highly effective Board as Chair of the Board and Nomination Committee. Her financial advisory experience is highly relevant to effective oversight of the Company’s investment and stakeholder strategies

Date of appointment

4 June 2019

Committee Memberships

  • Nomination Committee
  • Remuneration Committee
Thomas Henderson

Thomas Henderson

Non-Executive Director, Chair of the Syncona Foundation

Thomas Henderson founded BACIT Ltd (a precursor to Syncona Ltd) in 2012.

Previously, Thomas founded New Generation Haldane Fund Management (formerly Eden Capital Ltd) in 1998 where he was CEO and senior portfolio manager for the Eden Capital Fund, a fund which had a mandate to invest in listed equity and private equity investments, primarily in Europe. Prior to this Thomas worked at Moore Capital Management as a portfolio manager where he invested in European and emerging market equities. Previously, Thomas worked for Cazenove Inc in New York and headed the European Equity sales team, where he was responsible for selling European equities to US institutions. He started his career in 1990 at Cazenove and Co in London.

Importance of contribution

Thomas brings extensive experience of managing capital in listed equities and in building private equity investments which have gone on to list in the US capital markets. He has a broad and deep network of relationships and a strong track record in the fund management industry. Thomas also sits on the investment committee at The Institute of Cancer Research.

Date of appointment

14 August 2012

Virginia Holmes

Virginia Holmes

Non-Executive Director

Virginia Holmes has an extensive knowledge of the financial services industry, including both investment management and banking. She was previously Chief Executive of AXA Investment Managers UK and held a number of senior leadership roles over more than a decade at Barclays Bank Group.

Virginia also brings a wide range of non-executive experience, both with UK listed companies and organisations across various jurisdictions. She is currently a Non-Executive Director of Intermediate Capital Group plc, a FTSE 100 specialist asset manager, and of the European Opportunities Trust plc, a closed ended European equity fund. She is also Chair of USS Investment Management Ltd, the fiduciary manager of the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

Importance of contribution

Virginia’s extensive experience and proven track record of working with investment businesses as they look to develop and expand is highly relevant to the Board in defining the Company’s strategy and overseeing its delivery. In addition her extensive non-executive experience gives her an in-depth understanding of governance requirements, supporting our goal of a highly effective Board.

Date of appointment

1 January 2021

Committee memberships

  • Audit Committee
  • Remuneration Committee
Rob Hutchinson

Rob Hutchinson

Non-Executive Director

Rob Hutchinson has 30 years’ experience in the financial sector as a Chartered Accountant.

He qualified in 1990 and spent 28 years with KPMG across various roles. Rob retired from practice in 2014 and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He served as President of the Guernsey Society of Chartered and Certified Accountants between 2007 and 2009.

Importance of contribution

Rob has many years of broad financial experience. He spent a number of years in roles specialising in the audit of banking and fund clients at KPMG and was appointed a partner in 1999. Rob led the audits for a number of UK and European Private Equity and Venture Capital houses as well as listed funds covering a variety of asset classes, bringing broad experience in issues arising from the valuation of private assets. Rob led the firm’s fund and private equity practices for seven years and served as Head of Audit for KPMG in the Channel Islands for five years until 2013.

Date of appointment

1 November 2017

Committee memberships

  • Audit Committee (Chair)
  • Remuneration Committee
  • Nomination Committee
Nigel Keen

Nigel Keen

Non-Executive Director

Nigel Keen is the non-executive Chairman of Syncona Investment Management Limited and was a co-founder of Syncona Partners alongside Martin Murphy and The Wellcome Trust.

His career has encompassed venture capital, industry and banking and he has been involved in the formation and development of high technology businesses for more than thirty years.

He is Chairman of Oxford University Innovation, the technology transfer group for Oxford University, and Chairman of the Oxford Academic Health Science Network, an entity established by the National Health Service in England to align the interests of patients in its region with academia, industry and the healthcare system. He is also chair of MedAccess, a recently established entity sponsored by the UK Government and its development finance institution, CDC Group, to enable the provision of medicines to countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.  He has a degree in engineering from Cambridge University, is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology. He is also the Chairman of the AIM listed medical device company, Deltex Medical Group plc.

Importance of contribution

Nigel brings extensive experience in healthcare and commerce to the Board, which provides a strong contribution to the Board’s oversight of the delivery of the Company’s investment strategy. His role as Chair of the Investment Manager also provides him with additional operational insight into the portfolio.

Date of appointment

19 December 2016

Kemal Malik

Kemal Malik

Non-Executive Director

Kemal Malik joined the Board in June 2020. He has 30 years of experience in global pharmaceutical research and development. He has been responsible for bringing many innovative medicines through R&D to successful commercialisation. From 2014 to 2019 he was a member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG responsible for innovation across the Bayer group.

He was also responsible for Bayer LEAPS, the organizational unit responsible for strategic venturing in areas of disruptive breakthrough innovation. Prior to his appointment to the Bayer Board he was Head of Global Development and Chief Medical Officer at Bayer Healthcare for ten years. Kemal began his career in the pharmaceutical industry at Bristol-Myers Squibb with responsibilities in medical affairs, clinical development and new product commercialisation. He is non-executive director at Acceleron Pharma, a Boston based biopharmaceutical company, where he sits on the Nomination and Governance and Compensation committees. Kemal qualified in medicine at Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School (Imperial College) and is a Member of the Royal College of Physicians.

Importance of contribution

Kemal brings extensive experience in breakthrough innovation and commercialisation in the life science sector, which are highly relevant to the Board in defining the Company’s strategy and overseeing its delivery

Date of appointment

15 June 2020

Committee memberships

  • Audit Committee

 

Nicholas Moss

Nicholas Moss

Senior Independent Director

Nicholas Moss is an English qualified chartered accountant (FCA) and has nearly 30 years’ experience in the financial services sector, focused primarily on the structuring, advising and administration of the overall wealth of ultra high net worth private clients.

Nicholas was a founder of the Virtus Trust, an international fiduciary business which he sold to Equiom group in 2017. Prior to Virtus, Nicholas was a Managing Director within NM Rothschild’s private wealth group. He is a highly experienced fiduciary and investment practitioner, advising family offices and private clients in many jurisdictions, and has been an independent director and audit committee member of listed closed-ended investment companies including Brevan Howard and Blackstone managed entities.

Importance of contribution

Nicholas brings wide-ranging experience of investment and fiduciary businesses which contribute to the Board’s consideration of key risk and strategy issues. His wider experience with investment companies, and of successfully building his own business, are highly relevant to his role as Senior Independent Director and as Chair of the Remuneration Committee.

Date of appointment

17 August 2012

Committee memberships

  • Audit Committee
  • Nomination Committee
  • Remuneration Committee (Chair)
Gian Piero Reverberi

Gian Piero Reverberi

Non-Executive Director

Gian Piero Reverberi is a senior healthcare executive and is presently Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Vanda Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on novel therapies to address high-unmet medical needs.

Prior to this, Gian Piero acted as a corporate adviser supporting companies in the development of their commercial and geographical expansion strategies. He also spent 10 years at Shire, where he served as Senior Vice President International Specialty Pharma, with responsibility for EMEA, Canada, Asia Pacific and Latin America. He started his pharmaceutical career at Eli Lilly in the US and Italy, where he had responsibilities including finance, business development, sales and business unit leadership.

Importance of contribution

Gian Piero has over 20 years of experience in commercialising novel therapies spanning commercial strategy, business development, business unit leadership and management, launching specialty and orphan drugs across international markets. He has a degree in Economics and Business Administration from Sapienza University of Rome and a Master in Business Administration from SDA Bocconi in Italy.

Date of appointment

1 April 2018

Committee memberships

  • Remuneration Committee
  • Audit Committee