The Company Directors of Sphere are world leaders in the development of cell-based and picodroplet technologies and systems have a track record in creating and building successful biotechnology and instrumentation businesses.
Dr Andrew Mackintosh, Chairman and Company Director
Andrew was previously the Chief Executive of the Royal Society Enterprise Fund. The Royal Society is the UK Academy of Sciences and is the oldest science organisation in the world. The Enterprise Fund was an early-stage technology investment fund backed in a novel way by philanthropy which uses the unique brand, assets and networks of the Royal Society to optimise investment decisions. The Fund invested in start-up companies based on excellent science which has outstanding commercial potential. Andrew has over 25 years of commercial and general management in publicly- and privately-owned international technology companies. He has been the CEO of spin-out companies from both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, including (from 1998-2005) Oxford Instruments PLC, the first-ever spin-out from Oxford University. He is currently on the Board of Directors of several start-ups. Andrew has a PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge and is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and of the Institute of Directors. He has served on numerous national and regional committees concerned with technical innovation and competitiveness and speaks fluent French and conversational Chinese.
Dr Frank F. Craig MBA, CEO and Company Director
Dr Craig has around 20 years of international, general management experience gained from GlaxoSmithKline, Amersham Biosciences (as a Vice-President of R&D), which later merged to form GE Healthcare Life Sciences, and several start-up firms. He was responsible for managing product development of Green Fluorescent Protein (first identified by the 2008 Nobel Prize Winners for Chemistry) and many other cell-based products, systems and services for the Life Sciences industry. Frank was a (co)-Founder and Vice-President of Aurora Biosciences (San Diego, USA), which had a peak market cap. of £1.8 billion and was acquired by Vertex Pharmaceuticals for £420 million. He was also a co-Founder and CEO of Smart Holograms (Cambridge, UK) - named as the UK's Fastest Growing Company. Frank has raised circa £22 million in Private Equity, £25 million via an IPO on NASDAQ and has delivered many commercial partnerships with global Life Sciences and Energy firms - resulting in recorded deal values of £180 million. He has been a Board Director of Smart Holograms and TekCel (Hopkinton, USA), and helped form Sphere Fluidics before becoming its CEO in May 2010. He has a PhD in Cell Biology and Microbiology from Glasgow University and an MBA from Warwick Business School.
Professor Chris Abell FMedSci, Co-Founder and Company Director
Prof. Chris Abell is in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge where his research applies inter-disciplinary approaches to solving problems in biological chemistry. His research is primarily focused in two areas: developing picodroplets as an experimental platform, and pioneering new approaches to drug discovery. Prof. Abell has been involved in the creation of several companies. He was a co-Founder of Astex Therapeutics, a Cambridge spin-out company working on fragment-based drug discovery. Astex merged with NASDAQ-quoted to form Astex Pharmaceuticals and was later bought by Otsuka Pharmaceuticals for circa £570 million. He also co-Founded Akubio, a company developing novel acoustic biosensors, and is a founding scientist of Ionscope, a company developing a novel, scanning ion probe microscope. Professor Abell is a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences.
Mr Ian Gray, Company Director
Mr Gray is a representative of a new investment group called 24Haymarket, based in London. This organisation has members with an average of 30 years' experience in the Private Equity industry. Prior to this role, Ian was the Managing Director of Candover, where he led various investments into companies including: Clondalkin, Ontec, Bourne Leisure, Innovia, Wood Mackenzie, Dx Group, Ferretti and Inveresk Research. With the latter Life Sciences company, Ian was involved from its start-up phase through to its eventual Trade Sale for £600 million. He was previously also the Head of Structured Finance (UK and Europe) at the Bank of Scotland and held other earlier financial roles at TSB and Arthur Andersen. Ian is a Chartered Accountant and has a B. Com (Hons) in Business Studies and Law from Edinburgh University.
Professor Wilhelm Huck, Co-Founder and Company Director
At the University of Cambridge, Prof. Huck’s research is focused on the use of polymers as building blocks in nanotechnology. By harnessing the ability of macromolecules to self-assemble and self-organise, his group has managed to bridge the gap between the biological world and nanofabrication and make major advances in the control over polymeric materials at the nanometre level. Prof. Huck has authored over 50 publications on picodroplets and soft lithography and is a winner of the 2010 European Research Council Advanced Grant on "Microdroplets in Microfluidics". He also performs international, scientific consultancy and his patents have been out-licensed to a variety of firms including Plastic Logic, Cambridge Display Technology and Inverness Medical Innovations. Prof. Huck has previously worked with Prof. George Whitesides (one of the pioneers of microfluidics and nanotechnology) in his lab at Harvard University. He is also a Professor of Chemistry at Radboud University, Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Professor Huck is a member of The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dr Amanda Wooding, Company Director
Amanda joined Cambridge Enterprise in January 2009 as a Technology Manager in the Life Sciences Team and is now Deputy Head of their Life Sciences function. Before joining Cambridge Enterprise she gained over ten years of experience in technology commercialisation from roles within The Wellcome Trust, the commercialisation company Catalyst Biomedica and at Acambis. As the UK-based Director of Business Development at Acambis, she was responsible for in- and out-licensing, most notably securing a Phase III out-licensing deal with Sanofi Pasteur. While at the Wellcome Trust, she served as the Catalyst/Wellcome Trust observer to the Board for three start-up biotechnology companies. Amanda has a PhD in molecular endocrinology from the University of Cambridge and enjoyed post-doctoral research positions both at Cambridge and in industry.