Argenta is led by a management team with a wealth of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry experience:
Dr John Montana - Managing Director
Dr Steve Price - Senior Director, Chemistry
Dr Donald Daley - Senior Director, DMPK & Physical Sciences
Dr Peter Lockey - Senior Director, Biochemistry & Screening
Dr Vince Russell – Senior Director, Pharmacology
Heidi Kingdon Jones – Senior Director, Strategic Alliances
Dr David Clark - Director, CADD & Information Services
Dr Nick Ray - Director, Chemistry
Dr Lilian Alcaraz - Director, Chemistry
Dr Simon Green - Director, Oncology
Dr Mike Briggs - Director, DMPK
Dr Dave Brown - Director, Structural Biology
Tim Burrows - Director, Health and Safety
Dr John Montana
John is Managing Director of Argenta.
During his career, John has worked in large, multinational pharmaceutical organisations and small, entrepreneurial biotechnology companies. He joined Argenta from the drug discovery company Paradigm Therapeutics, where he became Chief Scientific Officer in January 2005 when the company acquired Amedis. Prior to that, he spent three years as Chief Executive Officer of Amedis, spearheading its growth and development into a successful medicinal chemistry-based drug discovery organisation.
Previously, John worked for Chiroscience as Head of Chemistry, where he was instrumental in establishing a research strategy that delivered six development compounds in the same number of years. He also played a major role in brokering and managing a number of collaborations with major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. He built all aspects of the company's chemistry operations (medicinal, computational, combinatorial) from inception and established state-of-the-art laboratories. Following the merger of Chiroscience and Celltech, John became Director of NCE Research with overall responsibility for the company's NCE portfolio, comprising 15-20 projects at various stages of research.
A medicinal chemist by training, John began his career at Glaxo, where he carried out research across a range of therapeutic areas, including respiratory diseases, central nervous system disorders, cardiovascular illnesses and gastro-intestinal diseases.
Dr Steve Price
Steve Price is Senior Director of Chemistry and has worked within contract research organisations as a medicinal chemist for over 15 years. Steve has spent the last ten years at Argenta; previously he was a project leader at Evotec for five years, and prior to that he worked as a process development chemist at GSK.
Steve has led medicinal chemistry collaborations with over thirty organisations, including small and medium biotechs, as well as large pharma. These projects have included hit identification, hit-to-lead and lead optimisation projects, spanning the majority of druggable target classes. A significant number of the medicinal chemistry collaborations have resulted in the delivery of development candidates, including three compounds that have entered the clinic for either anti-infective or oncology indications.
Steve obtained his degree and PhD from the University of Manchester (formerly UMIST), and he is the inventor, author and co-author on over 50 publications and patents.
Dr Donald Daley
Donald is Senior Director of DMPK and Physical Sciences at Argenta, and was one of the original founders of the company from Aventis, where he was Department Manager of Worldwide Physical and Structural Chemistry.
After graduating in Chemistry with a 1st class honours degree, Donald studied for a PhD in structural and synthetic chemistry. Donald started work for Rhone-Poulenc at the Dagenham Research Centre in 1988 as a mass spectrometrist. Over the 12 years with Rhone-Poulenc, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer and finally Aventis, he managed Structural Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Peptide Chemistry.
Donald has over 22 years experience in drug discovery and development, and is responsible for all aspects of structural and analytical chemistry and pharmacokinetics. Donald's analytics role encompasses the management of the analytical systems including NMR, MS, IR and UV spectrometers together with the chromatographic systems.
Dr Peter Lockey
Peter is Senior Director of Biochemistry and Screening at Argenta, and was one of the original founders of the company from Aventis. Peter graduated in Biochemistry, followed by a degree in Medicinal Chemistry, before obtaining a PhD which focused on drug targeting in cancer chemotherapy.
Following a post-doctoral position with Professor Barry Bycroft at Nottingham University, Peter joined the cardiovascular disease group at Rhône-Poulenc. He subsequently established the Assay Development and High Throughput Screening groups at Rhône-Poulenc in the UK.
Peter has over 22 years experience in the Pharmaceutical industry, and has worked across a range of therapeutic areas including respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, CNS and oncology.
Dr Vince Russell
Vince is Senior Director of Pharmacology at Argenta. He has over 22 years of industrial experience in respiratory disease having worked in asthma, cystic fibrosis and COPD drug discovery as well as thrombosis research. Vince was a key member of Argenta’s highly successful bronchodilator collaboration with AstraZeneca.
Vince has built his pharmacology expertise in industrial and academic settings including Trigen, Bayer and Southampton University. He has previously been responsible for setting up in-house in vitro capabilities at Trigen, an HTS group at Bayer and has worked extensively in the lead optimisation phase of projects. In addition, he has extensive experience of working in extra-mural collaborations including a Bayer/OGS Proteomic Project aimed at identifying novel targets in COPD.
Vince holds a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of Salford, where he also gained his MSc and PhD, both in Biological Sciences.
Heidi Kingdon Jones
Heidi has over twenty years’ experience in the life sciences industry including senior management roles in Business Development and Marketing and Clinical Research.
After completing her degree in Applied Biology, she worked for Novartis establishing international clinical trials in rheumatoid arthritis and atopic dermatitis. Heidi was then promoted into Novartis’ newly formed Transplant Business Unit – a pivotal sales and marketing team - working with world leading transplant surgeons and research scientists.
Having taken a career break to have two children, Heidi returned to provide business development and marketing consultancy to small biotechs and university spin-out companies. As a result of one of these relationships, she was offered a senior position with Domainex marketing and selling their drug discovery services globally.
Prior to joining Argenta, Heidi worked in business development for AMRI, selling their drug discovery and development services throughout Europe. In this role, she was responsible for establishing many strategic alliances and multi-site deals.
Dr David Clark
David is Director of Computer-aided Drug Design (CADD) and Information Services, and was a founding scientific team member of Argenta. Prior to this he spent four years working in the CADD group of Aventis/Rhone-Poulenc Rorer.
David is a graduate of the University of Oxford where he studied chemistry. His post-graduate studies (MSc, PhD) were carried out at the Department of Information Studies at University of Sheffield under the supervision of Professor Peter Willett. David began his career working for Proteus Molecular Design for three years where he was involved in developing software for de novo ligand design and protein-ligand docking.
In 2003, David was the recipient of the Corwin Hansch award, which is presented annually by the QSAR and Modelling Society.
Dr Nick Ray
Nick has been at Argenta since 2003, first as a Project Leader, then Principal Project Leader, Associate Director of Chemistry and now Director of Chemistry. During this time, he has run projects for clients across a range of therapeutic indications (depression, diabetes/metabolic, respiratory) and projects from Argenta's previous research portfolio (respiratory).
Following first and PhD degrees in chemistry from the University of Birmingham, Nick did a post-doc at Dartmouth College USA in the field of cholesterol biosynthesis and then joined Rhône-Poulenc in the UK in 1991. After a couple of years, he was transferred to Rhône-Poulenc Inc in the US, where he played a key role in the establishment of high-throughput chemistry technology development across the Rhône-Poulenc group worldwide.
Nick left Rhône-Poulenc at the end of 1999 to join Celltech Chiroscience (later 'Celltech R&D Ltd'), becoming Group Leader in the Exploratory Chemistry (Hit to Lead) group, before moving to become a Project Leader at Argenta in 2003. He is an author/inventor on 59 patents, patent applications and journal articles.
Dr Lilian Alcaraz
Lilian joined Argenta in June 2011 as Director of Chemistry. Previously, he spent 13 years at AstraZeneca Charnwood in the Respiratory and Inflammation Research Area where he occupied different positions within the Medicinal Chemistry department. Lilian has worked in both Lead Generation and Lead Optimisation and has successfully led a wide range of chemistry activities from library design and synthesis to late stage drug discovery programs using both inhaled and oral routes of administration. He was directly involved in the delivery of seven clinical candidates, a number of which are currently in clinical evaluation.
In 1995, Lilian completed his PhD in Organic Synthesis on the synthesis of paclitaxel at the University of Strasbourg, France, under the supervision of Dr. Charles Mioskowski and then carried out two years’ post-doctoral research in York with Prof. Richard Taylor on the total synthesis of members of the Manumycin family of antibiotics. Lilian is author or co-author of 60 publications and patents, and has also co-authored a book on Medicinal Chemistry.
Dr Simon Green
Simon joined Argenta in January 2011 as Director of Oncology. Prior to this he spent 10 years at Cyclacel Ltd. as Translational Research Team Leader where he was responsible for coordinating the translational research on Cyclacel’s clinical molecules undergoing evaluation in different oncology indications. These were seliciclib – a CDK inhibitor, sapacitabine – a DNA damaging agent and CYC116 - an aurora kinase inhibitor.
Prior to Cyclacel, Simon worked for six years at RiboGene, Inc. a start-up biotechnology company in the San Francisco bay area that was focussed on developing anti-infective agents that targeted the protein synthesis machinery.
Simon studied microbiology at the University of Bath and did his Ph.D. with Dr Mick Tuite at the University of Kent working on eukaryotic initiation factor 2, a key component of the translational machinery. Before entering the biotechnology industry Simon completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories where he identified a novel RNA binding domain within the protein kinase PKR. Simon has co-authored 30 publications and 20 patents.
Dr Mike Briggs
Mike joined Argenta in January 2012 as Director of DMPK bringing 20 years experience of DMPK in drug discovery and development. Previously, he spent over 8 years at GlaxoSmithKline where he was Director of a DMPK department involved in neuroscience disease target validation, lead identification and optimisation to candidate selection, building a group that pioneered the early understanding of integrated PK/PD to help drive candidate selection. Mike directly worked on the delivery of 11 candidate molecules in pain, neurological and gastro-intestinal disease areas, with five molecules in clinical development, and led two discovery programmes to development candidate selection.
Prior to GlaxoSmithKline, Mike worked for over 10 years at Servier developing treatments for oncology, metabolic and CNS disorders, and tutored on DMDG training courses. Before joining Servier, Mike undertook his Ph.D. (University of London) investigating factors that affect drug excretion into milk.
Dr Dave Brown
Dave has over 15 years’ pharmaceutical industry experience. He is a practising X-ray crystallographer solving three-dimensional structures of proteins of therapeutic interest with inhibitors, to enable structure-based drug design on numerous targets many of which have survived into late stage clinical trials.
Dave joined Argenta when Cangenix was acquired by Galapagos in January 2013. He was previously a Director of Structural Biology and Biophysics at Pfizer in Sandwich which included molecular biology, crystallography, NMR, mass spectroscopy and biophysical techniques such as SPR and ITC. Dave has a BSc Hons in Biophysics from the University of Leeds and a PhD from the University of London (Institute of Cancer Research). Prior to joining Pfizer Dave worked at Kings College University of London.
Tim joined Argenta in December 2012 as Director of Health and Safety. He has over 15 years’ experience of setting up, developing and maintaining health, safety and environmental management systems within the life sciences industry, having worked previously for Cortecs, Xenova and, most recently, Genzyme.
Tim holds chartered membership of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, full membership of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment and certified membership of the British Institute of Facilities Managers. In addition, he possesses an MSc in Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety Management and a post-graduate Diploma in Law.