Executive Directors

Nick Staples –  Chief Executive Officer

Nick has more than 20 years’ experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, with a strong track record in leading strategic growth projects and international transactions, including fundraising (more than $250 million to date), mergers and acquisitions, licensing and new business ventures. 

Previously, he was the Chief Business Officer of Artios Pharma Ltd, a leading DNA damage response oncology company, which completed a $84 million Series B fundraise in August 2018. Nick also served concurrently as the Chief Business Officer of TopiVert Pharma Ltd, a next generation anti-inflammatory company developing a late stage clinical asset in dry eye disease. 

Prior to these roles, Dr Staples completed several transactions as an independent advisor and held senior positions at several leading UK public companies – Vectura, SSL International and Protherics. 

John von Benecke –  Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer 

John has a strong track record as a CFO in a range of Life Sciences and healthcare companies, covering both pre-revenue and commercial high growth companies. He has raised more than $130m of venture capital to date and taken two start-ups through to successful exit events, including the $330m acquisition of ApaTech ltd by Baxter. John has gained strong operational experience across a range of business functions and organisations, including fulfilling combined CFO and COO roles for two private companies previously.

John holds a Bachelor’s degree in Organisational Psychology and is a member of the  Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.


Professor Kevin Shakesheff, FRPharmS – Chief Scientific Officer

Following his return from the Langer Laboratories at M.I.T, Kevin has taken a leading role in shaping cell therapy and tissue engineering in the UK as a co-founder of the Tissue and Cell Engineering Society (now 12 years old), as a Co-Director of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine and as a member of the Biologics and Vaccines Expert Advisory Group of the MHRA. 

In 2013 he was appointed Director of the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform Hub in Acellular Technologies. Kevin has published over 220 peer-reviewed full papers (10,000 citations to date) and his work has generated 13 patent application families and numerous international awards.

Non-Executive Directors

Ian Wilding PhD

Ian Wilding PhD – Non-Executive Chairman

An internationally-respected key opinion leader in drug development and a serial entrepreneur, his background includes strong scientific, business, managerial and deal-making experience. 

Ian has previously founded, managed and developed a number of successful bioscience start-up companies, including Pharmaceutical Profiles Ltd. (recipient of a Frost & Sullivan Excellence in Technology Award) which, as Chief Executive, he grew to over 110 employees and a 10 Million GBP turnover. 

He presently sits on the board of Zysis, with previous board positions including Bend Research, Modern Biosciences and R5 Pharmaceuticals.

Peter Dines

Peter Dines – Non-Executive Director

Peter serves as the Chief Operating Officer & Head of Life Sciences & Biosciences at Mercia. He joined the Group in 2015 as Head of Life Sciences & Biosciences, with over 20 years’ experience in this sector, and in addition became Chief Operating Officer in 2018. He is responsible for a number of the life science portfolio investments including Native Antigen, EYOTO, Concepta plc, Sense Biodetection and Axis Spine Technologies. Peter is also the Fund Principal for Mercia EIS Funds and leads the Senior Management Team.

Peter has been involved with a number of turnarounds and exits within the sector, including the acquisition of Surgicraft’s loss-making business where, as managing director, sales quadrupled within three years and the business was subsequently sold to a private equity backed business and Diagnostic World, a fast-growing diagnostic provider to the NHS.

Catherine Beech MD, O.B.E – Non-Executive Director

Catherine is medically qualified and has held several senior management roles in the pharmaceutical industry in the UK and abroad. She was founder of the Cambridge Gateway Fund, a Venture Capital fund focused on technology investments, which she sold in 2007. Catherine advises the UK Government on investment strategy and is on the board of several healthcare companies.

Until very recently was the CEO of Oval Medical Limited, a leading developer of innovative and novel drug delivery devices. Catherine was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2008 for her services to innovation and technology.

Thomas Kluge PhD – Non-Executive Director

Thomas is currently the Head of Technology at Heraeus Medical GmbH. He has been with Heraeus since 2012 and is also leading the Advanced Therapies Unit which develops next generation products for bone and cartilage regeneration as well as the management of Orthopedic Infections. 

Prior to this, he worked for different MedTech companies in Orthopedics and Wound Care. He has a PhD in Chemistry.