Executive Team Bios

 
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PATRICK T GUNNING, PhD

Patrick is the acting CEO and CSO of Dunad Therapeutics, Full Professor of Chemistry at the University of Toronto, Canada Research Chair in Medicinal Chemistry, and founder and Chief Scientific Director of the Centre for Medicinal Chemistry (UofT). Patrick obtained his PhD at the University of Glasgow in 2005 under the supervision of Profs. Robert Peacock and Andrew C. Benniston, and conducted post-doctoral studies at Yale University with Prof Andrew Hamilton. 

Patrick has published ~120 research papers, won 19 research awards including Canada’s Top 40 under 40, the 2010 Boehringer Ingelheim Young Investigator Award, the 2012 RSC MedChemComm Emerging Investigator Lectureship by the Royal Society for Chemistry, and the 2016 Canadian Society for Chemistry’s Bernard Belleau award.

Patrick has founded four biotech companies with over $26M in funding, including Janpix Inc, which became a Centessa Pharmaceuticals’ company in 2021. He has developed a dynamic and diverse medicinal chemistry program focused on covalent therapeutics, protein degradation, and targeting protein-protein interactions. 

 
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DIANA KRASKOUSKAYA, PhD

Diana, a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Dunad, brings to the Dunad team years of leadership and hands-on cross-disciplinary biotech experience spanning areas of company building, scientific & IP program strategy, and operations. 

Diana completed Honors BSc Degree in Molecular Biology and PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of Toronto, following which, as a research manager of the Centre for Medicinal Chemistry, she was involved in multiple drug discovery programs and provided oversight over the build-out of the >$100 M integrated drug discovery infrastructure at the University of Toronto. Having transitioned from academia into the world of Biotech entrepreneurship, and prior to Dunad, Diana has co-founded two other biotechs, including Dalriada Drug Discovery. At Dalriada, Diana pioneered a new Turn-Key model in drug discovery support, and under her leadership the company has grown to over 60 people within 3 years. 

During her time in academia and biotech, Diana worked on diverse small molecule programs across protein-protein interactions, epigenetics, GPCRs, covalent inhibitors, and is an inventor on several patents. Diana is the recipient of several entrepreneurship awards, including RBC Prize for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the 2018 MNP Future Leaders awards.

 
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GRAHAM SIMPSON, Ph.D

As Senior Vice President, Head of Drug Discovery at Dunad Therapeutics, Graham is responsible for all of the drug discovery activities from target identification to pre-clinical development. Prior to Dunad, Graham was Head of Drug Discovery and Partnerships at GTN Ltd, an AI-drug discovery biotech harnessing the power of deep learning and quantum physics to transform drug discovery. He also worked as an independent drug discovery and medicinal chemistry consultant at Daring BioLtd.

Previously, Graham was Scientific Fellow/Scientific Leader at GlaxoSmithKline where he led medicinal chemistry and programme teams supporting hit-to-lead and lead optimisation for anti-bacterial, inflammatory, metabolic and oncology programmes. He was programme leader for an oncology supportive care programme which achieved pre-clinical proof-of-concept and played a key role in evaluating and introducing innovative platform technologies to GSK including fragment-based drug discovery, stabilised peptides and chemical biology approaches. He has published 20 papers and patents in the fields of medicinal chemistry and drug discovery and was awarded Pharmavoice Top 100 Most Influential People in Pharma Industry. 

Graham has a B.Sc. (Hons, First Class) in organic chemistry from University of Strathclyde and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Bristol. He also spent two years studying organic synthesis as an 1851 Royal Commission and Fulbright Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 
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JANE DANCER, PhD

Jane has over 30 years’ experience in the life science industry across biotech, pharma and agrochemicals. Her past roles include Chief Business Officer at F-star, Vice President of Business Development at Cellzome, and Director of Business Development at MedImmune (formerly Cambridge Antibody Technologies). She serves on the boards of Spirea, PharmEnable, Macomics and Nanosyrinx and is the Chair of the Sir Richard Stapley Educational Trust.

Jane holds an MA and PhD in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University, as well as an MBA from the Cambridge Judge Business School.

 
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MARGARET DANIEL

Margaret has been providing CFO services to Biotech start-up companies since co-founding Bradshaw Daniel Limited in 2012. Prior to Bradshaw Daniel Limited, Margaret worked for a number of years in both International and UK Groups. Margaret is a Chartered Management who also holds a certificate in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors.  

 
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ELIZABETH ROPER, PhD

Partner

Liz joined Epidarex Capital as a Partner in 2013. She has more than 20 years of experience in the Life Science and Healthcare industry, either as a venture investor or an operating executive. She has led a number of venture capital investments in early stage biotech, and has held senior operational roles, from Chair of Board to senior management positions. She focuses on shaping and building early stage life science opportunities into successful companies and investments.  

 

Prior to joining Epidarex, Liz was Head of Business Development and part of the management team at Chroma Therapeutics Ltd., an Oxford-based venture-backed drug discovery and development company focused on inflammatory disorders and oncology. Liz led the establishment of several major company-building alliances including a multi‐target deal with GlaxoSmithKline around Chroma’s novel platform. She is a former executive with the life science venture capital team at the Investments Division of The Wellcome Trust. She is also a former member of the Life Science team at Atlas Ventures, London.  

 

Liz currently serves on the Board of Directors of AdoRx Ltd. (Chair), Nodthera Ltd., Mironid Ltd., Caldan Therapeutics Ltd., Exeed Ltd. (Chair), EM Imaging Ltd., Macomics Ltd. and Dunad Ltd. She holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in Biochemistry (1st class) from the University College Cork, and a Ph.D. from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. 

 

Scientific Team Bios

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BERNHARD KUSTER, PhD

Bernhard is a Professor of Proteomics and Bioanalytics and Head of the Bavarian Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry Center, Technical University of Munich. Bernhard performed his D. Phil. research at the University of Oxford supervised by David Harvey and Raymond Dwek on the analysis of glycoproteins by mass spectrometry. His post-doctoral career in proteomics took him to the EMBL in Heidelberg and the University of Southern Denmark, Odense. In 2000, he joined Cellzome (now GSK) where he made major contributions to the large-scale analysis of protein-protein and protein-drug interactions.

In 2007, he became Professor of Proteomics and Bioanalytics at the Technical University of Munich and Director of the Bavarian Biomolecular Mass Spectromtery Center in 2009. His research team characterizes cancer proteomes, studies how molecularly targeted cancer drugs interact with all proteins in a cell, and develops analytical and bioinformatic tools to study proteomes. The group’s research has led to the first map of the human proteome, elucidated the target landscape and mechanism of action of hundreds of clinical kinase inhibitors and artificial intelligence enabled software and databases for pre-clinical drug discovery. He is the academic co-founder of the proteomics CRO OmicScouts and the AI company MSAID.

With over 220 published papers and patents, he is a co-recipient of the Discovery in Proteomic Sciences Award, Human Proteome Organization (2015) and the Life Science Award of the German Mass Spectrometry Society (2019).

 
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IAN COLLINS, PhD

Ian is a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Head of Chemistry at The Institute of Cancer Research, London. Ian carried out his PhD research on the synthesis of alkaloid natural products at Cambridge University, supervised by Professor Andrew B. Holmes. He began his post-doctoral career at Merck Sharp & Dohme Ltd, where major contributions included the discovery of the first selective antagonists for the dopamine D4 receptor, the development of sub-type selective GABA-A agonists as anxiolytics, and the discovery of potent gamma-secretase inhibitors.

In 2003, he became a Team Leader in the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, becoming Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in 2013 and Head of Chemistry in 2018. His research team focusses on the discovery of molecular targeted cancer drugs, across multiple protein families, with a focus on optimizing molecular properties through structure-based design. The group’s research has led to a number of drug candidates in clinical trials including AKT and CHK1 inhibitors, as well as the discovery of selective chemical tool compounds to probe cancer cell biology. Interests include the manipulation of protein degradation by small molecules.

He is the academic co-founder of Monte Rosa Therapeutics. With over 160 published papers and patents, he is a co-recipient of the American Association of Cancer Research Team Science Award (2012) and the Cancer Research UK Translational Research Prize (2013).

 
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JEFFREY W KEILLOR, PhD

Jeffrey W. Keillor obtained his PhD in 1993 at the University of Alberta, studying enzyme model mechanisms under the supervision of Dr. R.S. Brown. He then carried out postdoctoral studies in enzymology, under the direction of Dr. W.P. Jencks at Brandeis University. In 1995 he took a position as assistant professor in the Chemistry Department at the Université de Montréal, where he was promoted to associate professor in 2000 and full professor in 2006. He was also appointed as an adjunct professor in the Biochemistry Department in 2001. In 2011 he moved to the Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Sciences of the University of Ottawa, where he held a University Research Chair in Bioorganic Chemistry until 2021.

 

His research program is situated at the interface of chemistry and biochemistry, in the fields of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry. His recent contributions have focussed on the development of novel site-specific protein-labelling methods and of targeted covalent inhibitors of tissue transglutaminase, for the treatment of cancer stem cells.

 

In 2007 he won the Merck-Frosst Award for his contributions to organic chemistry and biochemistry, and in 2017 he won the Bernard Belleau Award for his work in the field of medicinal chemistry. In 2020 he was named a Fellow of the Chemical Institute of Canada (FCIC). For the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC), he served as Director of Awards from 2012-2015, as Chair of the Biological & Medicinal Division from 2015-2017, and as Director of Subject Divisions from 2019-2022.

 
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MIKE MAZANETZ, PhD

Mike carried out his PhD research on the computer-aided design and synthesis of selective kinase inhibitors (CDK5, GSK3B and ERK2) at The University of Nottingham, supervised by Professor Peter M. Fischer. He began his industrial career at Eastman Kodak, in the design of heterocyclic photographic dyes before moving to Eli Lilly. There he worked for several years at their UK Centre of Excellence for Neuroscience Research, exploiting his skills in medicinal and computational chemistry to support projects, contributing to compounds which entered Clinical Selection.

 

In 2008, he moved to Evotec to focus on delivering CADD support across a wider therapeutic portfolio and to build their CADD capabilities. He was instrumental in developing Quantum Mechanical and Artificial Intelligence approaches to drug discovery where he was Head of Computational Chemistry for Evotec UK. He has published extensively in these areas and taught at many international workshops on aspects of CADD, including AI and Fragment-, Structure- and Ligand-based Drug Discovery. In 2016, he founded NovaData Solutions Ltd., a contract-research organisation specialising in supporting early discovery medicinal chemistry projects. His research team have been successful in developing cutting-edge AI approaches, winning the 2018 Molecular Modelling and Graphics Society’s prize for their Deep Learning algorithm.

 

Mike is the Director of NovaData Solutions Ltd, Honorary Lecturer at the School of Natural and Computing Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Mike has over 40 published patents, peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, he is a Fellow of the Royal Chemical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.

 
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PETER HUNT, PhD

Peter trained as a synthetic organic chemist, gaining a degree and PhD at Imperial College, University of London. He moved into the computational chemistry field during a postdoc with Prof Peter Andrews at the 3D Centre in Australia, focussing on peptidomimetic design to address HIV protease inhibition and mimicry of bioactive peptides such as the Conotoxins. He returned to the UK in 1994 to join the CADD group of Merck & Co Inc and then moved to Novartis 2006.

 

Prior to joining Optibrium in 2014, Peter lead the UK CADD group efforts in drug discovery and development research in the Neuroscience, Respiratory and Gastrointestinal disease areas. He is an inventor on over 20 patents, as well as a former chair of the TRIPOS User group and currently Secretary of the UK-QSAR committee.