Board of Directors

Sam Williams - Investor Director, Chair

Sam Williams is Chair of Microbiotica and is IP Group’s Investor Director. Sam has 20 years' experience in the biotechnology industry, both as a top-ranked equity analyst in the City and, subsequently, as an entrepreneur and Chief Executive.

Sam is Executive Chairman of Istesso Limited, a Non-Executive Director of Diurnal Group plc and Managing Partner, Life Sciences, at IP Group. He holds a PhD in molecular biology from Cambridge and a degree in Biology from Oxford.

 

Robert Tansley - Investor Director

Robert Tansley is Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) plc’s Investor Director for Microbiotica and is also an Investment Director with Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC), focussed on healthcare and associated technologies; a post he has held since 2014.

After seven years working in hospital medicine, Robert joined the pharma industry in 1996 working in development and regulatory roles at Sanofi, the MHRA and Roche. Before joining CIC Robert spent 10 years in senior management roles in a number of start-up companies, including Arakis and KalVista; he founded the malaria-focused company Treague and was founding CEO of the University of Copenhagen spin-out Avilex Pharma. 

Robert qualified in medicine from University College London. He is a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, and has an MBA from London Business School and an MPhil in Biostatistics from the University of Cambridge.

John Shields - Non-Executive Director

John Shields is a non-executive director of Microbiotica. He has extensive operational and investment experience in the biotechnology sector and is currently a member of the Sanger Institute Translation Committee, the Crick Institute Translation Advisory Group and the Medical Research Council’s Translational Research Group. In addition, he serves on a number of biotechnology company boards and company science advisory boards.

Previously John was an employee of Abingworth, the life-sciences focused venture capital group, and has also worked in the pharma and biotech industry, initially at Glaxo and then as SVP Research for Cantab Pharmaceuticals.  

John has a PhD in Immunology from the University of Glasgow and has published more than 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals including Science.

Mike Romanos - Co-founder and CEO

Mike Romanos is a co-founder and Chief Executive of Microbiotica. He has 30 years’ experience in the biotech and pharma industry and previously co-founded Crescendo Biologics which he built and led as CEO and CSO, developing a leading antibody fragment discovery platform and pipeline in oncology and inflammation. Prior to that he held global VP roles in GlaxoSmithKline R&D over 10 years, during which time he formed and led major transnational divisions which helped shape the company’s discovery platforms and pipelines across therapeutic areas and modalities. In his last role he led a trans-national group of 300 staff providing genomics, target and biomarker discovery, and platform biology for R&D.

Mike is highly experienced in the biotech translation and commercialisation, currently serving as a Non-Exec Director of the life-sciences charity LifeArc, and previously as Translational Adviser in Biomedicine at Imperial College, Venture Partner to UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund, and committee member on the MRC’s Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme for translational academic research.

Mike’s academic work included research in influenza virology (MRC, National Institute for Medical Research) and in yeast genetics and biotechnology (University of Leicester). He holds a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, a PhD in Molecular Virology from Imperial College, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.

Trevor Lawley - Co-founder and CSO

Trevor Lawley is a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Microbiotica. He is also Faculty Group Leader of the Host-Microbiota Interactions Team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WTSI), where his research uses advanced metagenomic sequencing and deep culturing to investigate the microbial communities contained on and within host organisms that are associated with health and a range of diseases and syndromes such as infections, autoimmunity, irritable bowel syndromes and cancer. He has pioneered many aspects of the bacteriotherapy concept where defined mixtures of bacteria are used to cure intestinal diseases linked to pathological imbalances in the intestinal microbiota.

Trevor began his research at WTSI in 2007 as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Microbial Pathogenesis group, having received a Royal Society Fellowship to start a new research programme in C. difficile epidemiology and pathogenesis. During this time, he has worked with a global consortium from over 25 institutes to assemble a comprehensive C. difficile culture collection, now housed within the Sanger Institute.

Prior to joining WTSI, Trevor held a Canadian Institutes of Health Research post-doctoral fellowship, working in the Laboratory of Professor Stanley Falkow and Dr Denise Monack at Stanford University, USA, where he studied the impact of antibiotic treatment on Salmonella disease and transmission.

Trevor gained his first degree from Acadia University, Canada and his PhD from the University of Alberta, Canada, where he pioneered the use of genomics to study the origins and spread of antibiotic resistance in infectious diseases. He received the Canadian Society of Microbiologists Graduate Student of the Year Award for this work. More recently, Trevor was recognised by the Peggy Lillis Foundation with their Innovator Award 2015 for his ground-breaking work on developing bacteriotherapy for C. difficile infections. 

Leadership Team

Mike Romanos - Co-founder and CEO

Mike Romanos is a co-founder and Chief Executive of Microbiotica. He has 30 years’ experience in the biotech and pharma industry and previously co-founded Crescendo Biologics which he built and led as CEO and CSO, developing a leading antibody fragment discovery platform and pipeline in oncology and inflammation. Prior to that he held global VP roles in GlaxoSmithKline R&D over 10 years, during which time he formed and led major transnational divisions which helped shape the company’s discovery platforms and pipelines across therapeutic areas and modalities. In his last role he led a trans-national group of 300 staff providing genomics, target and biomarker discovery, and platform biology for R&D.

Mike is highly experienced in the biotech translation and commercialisation, currently serving as a Non-Exec Director of the life-sciences charity LifeArc, and previously as Translational Adviser in Biomedicine at Imperial College, Venture Partner to UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund, and committee member on the MRC’s Developmental Pathway Funding Scheme for translational academic research.

Mike’s academic work included research in influenza virology (MRC, National Institute for Medical Research) and in yeast genetics and biotechnology (University of Leicester). He holds a degree in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, a PhD in Molecular Virology from Imperial College, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.

Trevor Lawley - Co-founder and CSO

Trevor Lawley is a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Microbiotica. He is also Faculty Group Leader of the Host-Microbiota Interactions Team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WTSI), where his research uses advanced metagenomic sequencing and deep culturing to investigate the microbial communities contained on and within host organisms that are associated with health and a range of diseases and syndromes such as infections, autoimmunity, irritable bowel syndromes and cancer. He has pioneered many aspects of the bacteriotherapy concept where defined mixtures of bacteria are used to cure intestinal diseases linked to pathological imbalances in the intestinal microbiota.

Trevor began his research at WTSI in 2007 as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Microbial Pathogenesis group, having received a Royal Society Fellowship to start a new research programme in C. difficile epidemiology and pathogenesis. During this time, he has worked with a global consortium from over 25 institutes to assemble a comprehensive C. difficile culture collection, now housed within the Sanger Institute.

Prior to joining WTSI, Trevor held a Canadian Institutes of Health Research post-doctoral fellowship, working in the Laboratory of Professor Stanley Falkow and Dr Denise Monack at Stanford University, USA, where he studied the impact of antibiotic treatment on Salmonella disease and transmission.

Trevor gained his first degree from Acadia University, Canada and his PhD from the University of Alberta, Canada, where he pioneered the use of genomics to study the origins and spread of antibiotic resistance in infectious diseases. He received the Canadian Society of Microbiologists Graduate Student of the Year Award for this work. More recently, Trevor was recognised by the Peggy Lillis Foundation with their Innovator Award 2015 for his ground-breaking work on developing bacteriotherapy for C. difficile infections. 

Nigel Crockett - VP Business Development

Nigel Crockett is VP Business Development for Microbiotica. He has more than 25 years’ commercial and management experience in the pharma and biotech industries, spanning Europe, the US and Asia, and has particular expertise in small molecule and biological therapeutics, focussing on licensing and early-stage R&D collaborations, company financing and acquisitions. Prior to working with Microbiotica, he was Head of Business Development at Crescendo Biologics.

Previously Nigel was part of the management team at Astex, completing 14 deals for the company before founding Tukan Partners in 2005 in order to provide hands-on, transactional, commercial expertise for a broad range of biotech clients. He also chaired the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) Business Development Working Group.     

To date Nigel has executed more than 40 major, in- and out-licensing deals and company acquisitions, working with a number of companies including: Astex Therapeutics, Heptares Therapeutics, Clinical Designs, PsiOxus Therapeutics and ISA Pharmaceuticals.

Nigel started his biopharmaceutical career in R&D, working on therapeutic cancer vaccines and immunotherapy programmes at Cantab Pharmaceuticals before transitioning into a commercial role where he was involved in, and led, partnering and in-licensing for a number of key clinical assets.  

Nigel obtained his PhD in Molecular Biology from Cambridge University and his BSc in Chemistry from the University of Manchester.

Rowena Gardner - VP Operations and Company Secretary

Rowena Gardner is VP Operations and Company Secretary for Microbiotica. She has particular expertise in operational management, business administration and marketing/communications, gained from working with organisations of varying sizes and across a range of industry sectors, including life sciences, telecommunications and software.

Rowena’s most recent roles include five years as Head of Operations and Company Secretary for Actigen and six years as Chief Operating Officer at the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA), with responsibilities including corporate governance, human resources, finance, legal, insurance and facilities. Previously she spent eight years as Director of Corporate Communications for Cambridge Antibody Technology Group plc (now MedImmune, the global biologics R&D arm of AstraZeneca), overseeing integrated financial communications through a number of significant corporate events, including NASDAQ listing, re-financing, High Court litigation, merger and acquisition.

Rowena has a degree in Biochemistry from the University of York and a Diploma in Marketing. She is a Trustee of Volunteer Uttlesford and a Member of the Institute of Directors, the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

Thomas Sandal - VP Preclinical Development

Thomas Sandal is VP Preclinical Development at Microbiotica. Thomas is responsible for managing preclinical development of therapeutic programs and establishing novel preclinical technologies. He has more than 26 years’ experience within the Biotech and Biopharmaceutical industry mainly within CMC activities, product formatting, formulation and delivery, pharmacokinetics, production and toxicology.

Prior to joining Microbiotica, Thomas held a position of VP of R&D at Crescendo Biologics, responsible for early stage discovery activities all the way through to preclinical development. At Crescendo he was also Alliance Manager and Project Leader for the company’s major collaboration with Takeda. Previously, he was responsible for the production and characterisation of anticalin products at Pieris AG. At Domantis (subsequently GSK) he managed preclinical development and GMP manufacture, and was responsible for the most advanced asset – an inhaled dAb (domain antibody fragment) – in clinical trials for pulmonary disease. Previously Thomas held senior positions in Novozymes and Novo Nordisk, and was a co-founder of CMC Biologics.

Thomas graduated as a molecular biologist and holds a degree in engineering from the Technical University of Denmark and a Business Administration degree from Copenhagen University College of Engineering.

Nan Worrell - VP Clinical Development

Nan Worrell is VP Clinical Development for Microbiotica. Prior to joining Microbiotica she worked in a number of Development roles in the biotech and pharma industry, initially with Novartis (Sandoz) and UCB (Medeva) and latterly on a freelance, consultancy basis. She has been involved in a number of Development projects encompassing all stages of the Development process, from early pre-clinical through to regulatory submissions (EMA and FDA).

Nan is skilled in building and leading development project teams and has a deep understanding of the drug development process. She has a thorough knowledge of manufacturing process development and validation, technology transfer, toxicology, clinical trial design and conduct, regulatory requirements in Europe and US, and project management procedures. She has worked in a number of therapeutic areas including vaccines, cancer indications and gut disorders.  

Nan has a PhD in Drug Metabolism and a degree in Biochemistry, both from the University of Surrey. 

Gordon Dougan FRS - Co-founder

Gordon Dougan is a co-founder of Microbiotica, a Senior Group Leader at The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WTSI) and a Professor in the Department of Medicine at Cambridge University; he also holds adjunct professorships at the Universities of Monash and Melbourne. He is an expert in vaccinology/pathogenic mechanisms and his research focuses on the genetic analysis of host/pathogen interactions during infection, particularly those involving enteric bacteria.

Prior to joining the WTSI Gordon established the Centre for Molecular Microbiology and Infection at Imperial College London, where he was a Professor of Biochemistry. For over 10 years he worked with the Wellcome Foundation (now part of GlaxoSmithKline), and during this time held the post of Head of Molecular Biology. In addition, Gordon was Chair of the SAB for Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics for more than ten years and the Novartis Vaccine Global Health Institute (NVGH); he also served as a Trustee at the International Vaccine Institute in Korea and has served as a member of several World Health Organization (WHO) Committees.

Gordon is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Biology, the Academy of Medical Sciences and is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). He is currently on the board of The Hilleman Laboratories and is a member of the SAB for the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (ICDDR-B) in Bangladesh.  He also works as a consultant for industry and serves on editorial boards.

He received his BSc and PhD from the University of Sussex and conducted postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington (Seattle) in the laboratory of Stanley Falkow.