Simon Kerry, PhD MBA
Chief Executive Officer
A co-founder of Curve, Simon is an experienced life-science entrepreneur with over 30 years in leadership roles within European biotechnology companies. He has been an Operating Partner at Advent Life Sciences, a leading trans-Atlantic venture investor, since 2017.
Prior to joining Advent, Simon was CEO of cancer drug discovery company Karus Therapeutics (Oxford, UK), leading the company from spin-out to clinic. Before Karus, Simon led the Business Development functions at Ablynx (Ghent, Belgium), Active Biotech (Lund, Sweden) and Isogenica (Cambridge, UK).
Following a first degree in Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry (1984), Simon began his career as a chemist at GD Searle (High Wycombe, UK). He completed a life-science PhD in 1989 and obtained an Executive MBA from Loughborough University Business School in 1995.
Professor Ali Tavassoli
Chief Scientific Officer
Ali developed the technology behind Curve’s platform and is the company’s co-founder. He is Professor of Chemical Biology at the University of Southampton. His research is focused on the development of high throughput screening platforms that enable the discovery of protein-protein interaction inhibitors, and the conversion of cyclic peptide hits into novel therapeutics.
He is President of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemistry and Biology Interface Division (2020-2023) and previously served as the Chair of the RSC’s Chemical Biology and Bioorganic Group (2012-2015).
Ali has won a number of awards, including the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences’ medal for European Young Chemist (2008), the RSC’s Protein and Peptide Science Award (2017) and the European Peptide Society’s Leonidas Zervas Award (2020).
Scientific Advisory Board
Prof. Stephen Benkovic
Prof. Stephen Benkovic, Penn State University (Technology Adviser) is a highly-regarded pioneer in bio-organic chemistry whose recent work has focused on the assembly and kinetic characteristics of the enzymatic machinery responsible for DNA replication and repair. He has been recognised with awards including the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, the National Medal of Science, and the National Academy of Science Award in Chemical Sciences. He is also a member of the National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Inventors.
Prof. Paul Brennan
Prof. Paul Brennan, University of Oxford (Medicinal Chemistry Adviser) is a medicinal chemist who has worked at Amgen and Pfizer, where he was Medicinal Chemistry Design Lead
Prof. Jason Carroll
Prof. Jason Carroll, University of Cambridge (FOXA1 Adviser), based at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, is a specialist in the role of hormones and their role in gene regulation in breast cancer.
Prof. Julian Downward
Julian is Principle Group Leader and Associate Research Director at the Francis Crick Institute. Julian a world-renowned expert in the field of RAS biology. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the European Academy of Cancer Sciences, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. He is also Executive Chairman of the British Association for Cancer.
Dr. Adrian Gill
Adrian is currently Senior Vice President Discovery Chemistry at Revolution Medicines and is co-inventor of a number of Revolution’s drug candidates. Adrian has over 25 years’ drug discovery and development experience in senior roles at both large pharma and biotech, having worked previously for Roche, Astex and AstraZeneca. During his career, Adrian has been heavily involved in the identification of multiple clinical candidates across a variety of disease areas.
Prof. Adrian Harris
Prof. Adrian Harris, University of Oxford (HIF Adviser) has been the Cancer Research UK Professor of Medical Oncology in the Department of Oncology at University of Oxford since 1988 and is a Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. Prof. Harris is a specialist in tumour angiogenesis and the role of hypoxia biology and its regulation.
Board of Directors
Dr Shahzad Malik, Chairman of the Board
Shahzad is a General Partner at Advent Life Sciences, a leading trans-Atlantic venture investor focused on building innovative Life Sciences businesses in the UK, Europe and the USA. He joined Advent in 1999 with a strong background in science, clinical medicine, and international finance.
After gaining an MA in Physiological Sciences from Oxford University and an MD from Cambridge University, he specialised in interventional cardiology while also pursuing clinical and fundamental scientific research in heart muscle disorders.
Since joining Advent, Shahzad has been actively involved in over 25 portfolio companies in Europe and the USA in all sectors of Life Sciences, including Algeta, Respivert, Biocartis and Axonics Modulation Technologies. Shahzad currently serves on the Board of several portfolio Companies, including Acutus Medical, GMP-Orphan, Nalu Medical and Curve Therapeutics.
Dr Peter Finan, Non-Executive Director
Peter is a Partner at Epidarex Capital, an investor in early-stage, high-growth healthcare companies. He has more than 20 years of experience in drug discovery within the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to Epidarex, he was Global Head of the Respiratory Disease Area and Site Head for the Novartis Institute of BioMedical Research (UK); and, Executive Director of the Novartis Developmental and Molecular Pathways Platform (Cambridge, MA). Peter holds a BSc and PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Leeds.
Earlier in his career, Peter worked at Cancer Research UK and the Yamanouchi Research Institute (now Astellas) and served as the Head of Biology at Karus Therapeutics. He currently serves on the Boards of Clyde Biosciences, Enterprise Therapeutics, Leucid Bio, Epidarex Exeed, Epsilogen and Lunac Therapeutics.
Diana Galpin, Non-Executive Director
Diana is Head of Technology Transfer & Impact at the University of Southampton, a research-intensive institution and founding member of the Russell Group. Diana qualified as barrister with a civil practice then moved in-house originally to a high-tech start up before joining Southampton in 2003 to support on research and innovation.
Diana has experience of a number of industry sectors including healthcare and pharmaceutical, aerospace and defence, and IT. She has led on a number of industry/university collaborative initiatives, has extensive experience of cross border and international collaborations, and considerable experience dealing with IP, high tech start-ups and investment deals. In addition to her role as Director for Curve, Diana is the University appointed director for Southampton Asset Management, Southampton Innovations, Z21 Limited, and the Wyvern Fund.
Julia Jones FCA, Finance Director
Julia graduated from Loughborough University in 1997, and joined PricewaterhouseCoopers and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2001. Julia is the founder and Managing Director of Archangel Accounting Ltd, which provides tailor-made support to many companies, including those with venture capital backing, privately owned businesses and charities.
Curve is backed by two knowledgeable and highly respected transatlantic life-science venture firms. Advent Life Sciences has a long-standing track-record of entrepreneurial and investment success, turning break-through science into approved medicines and medical products. Epidarex Capital invests in early-stage, high growth life science and health technology companies in emerging and under-ventured research hubs in the UK and US.