Richard Vellacott, CSR plc’s VP of finance, has joined Cambridge UK personalised medicines specialist Horizon Discovery as it executes the next phase of its global growth strategy.Vellacott has become Horizon’s chief financial officer at a critical time for the business.
He has over 15 years’ experience in working with life science companies, from startups to global pharmaceuticals and is a chartered accountant with a first class degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Durham.
During his time at $1 billion wireless company CSR, Vellacott had worldwide responsibility for finance, making significant contributions to the transformational acquisition and integration of NASDAQ listed Zoran Corp., product portfolio management, R & D budgeting and business investment/divestment decisions.
Before he was a director in Deloitte’s life sciences practice, where he specialised in capital market transactions including IPOs, M & A and fundraising on both the UK and the US markets.
Horizon CEO Dr Darrin Disley said: “As the company continues to expand, it is essential that we maintain a highly experienced executive team with the skills to deliver our growth objectives. Richard’s background is an ideal fit.”
Horizon Discovery is the poster child of Cambridge life sciences and Business Weekly understands that the Cambridge Research Park company is raising a final round of funding of up to £25 million that will see it through to sustained profitability by 2015.
That’s good news for all the crusaders involved in the quest for the personalised medicines holy grail. Horizon has already proved to be worth its weight in gold as a catalyst for collaboration in this space.
Its ability to fulfil its destiny may well determine the lives of millions of people on the planet.
Horizon is a world-leading translational genomics company and a trusted supplier of technologies, products and services to more than 200 academic and industrial organisations engaged in translational genomics R & D, drug discovery R & D, biopharmaceutical process optimisation and clinical diagnostic research, development and testing.
Founded in July 2007, Horizon is one of the fastest growing BioMedTech companies in Europe; it has grown top-line revenue by more than 70 per cent each year since foundation and won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category recently having shown growth exceeding 360 per cent from 2008-2011.
The company’s proprietary rAAV gene-editing technology, GENESIS, is industry-leading. Using GENESIS, Horizon is able to alter any endogenous gene sequence of a human or mammalian cell line quickly, reliably and without introducing unwanted and confounding genotypes and/or phenotypes.
Horizon has applied GENESIS to create over 400 X-MAN cell lines, the world’s first source of genetically-defined and patient-relevant human cell lines, accurately modelling the disease-causing mutations found in cancer patients.
These ‘patients-in-a-test-tube’ are being used by academic and industry leaders to identify the effect of individual or compound genetic mutations on drug activity, patient responsiveness, and resistance, leading to the successful prediction of which patient sub-groups will respond to currently-available and future drug treatments.
This enables the design of shorter, more focused, and less expensive clinical trials, ultimately providing the tools to identify the ‘right drugs’ for the ‘right patients’ based upon the unique genetic mutations that define their disease.
In addition to the X-MAN cell lines, Horizon provides GENESIS and X-MAN derived products and services, with industrial application in: bio-pharmaceutical process optimisation; clinical diagnostic development; drug discovery & development; and the provision of reference standards for genomic-based clinical research platforms.
In the spirit of enterprise and collaboration, Horizon is also pioneering a Centres of Excellence programme whose tentacles have spread across the globe.