Our Team

People drive innovation

At DJS our greatest asset is our team. People are at the heart of every idea, breakthrough, innovation, and development. As a team, we aspire to create the next generation of antibody therapeutics so that we can change patients’ lives. We love working with people who share this vision and are passionate about pushing the boundaries of science to improve human health.

Our team is built on enthusiasm, energy, love for science, inquisitiveness, transparency, and trust. We value being challenged and treat every day as an opportunity for improvement. Diversity of opinion and background is critical to our success, and thus as we grow, we are committed to growing a diverse and inclusive team.

CEO

David Llewellyn

David is the CEO and Co-Founder of DJS Antibodies. He loves discovery, and so is motivated by the pursuit of developing totally novel therapeutics. David has more than 10 years’ experience in evolutionary immunology, antibody characterisation and myeloid cell biology, and he leads the team in our pursuit to create world changing antibody therapeutics.
Having originally come from the sunny shores of Australia, David came to the UK to complete a PhD at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute supported by a Rhodes Scholarship. While studying he co-founded and led the Good Lad Initiative, an organisation promoting positive masculinity and gender equality amongst groups of young men. David remains committed to promoting values of equality and diversity throughout DJS and more broadly.

In a past life, David was a competitive kayaker, most often found half way down a waterfall, though now is more likely to be found watching water fall onto his struggling vegetable garden.

CSO

Joe Illingworth

Joe is the CSO and Co-Founder of DJS Antibodies. Joe loves working in a small and focussed team to solve problems creatively. He was a leader in the establishment of HEPTAD, the mAb discovery engine at the heart of DJS, and now oversees all R&D activities within the company. His work covers mAb discovery and screening through to preclinical development of lead drugs, and he works closely with industry-leading experts as well as managing several government funded projects.

Joe holds a BSc in Biochemistry from Imperial College London and a PhD in antibody discovery and characterisation from the University of Oxford. After studying Joe worked as an academic on antibody induction and vaccination.

In his spare time he loves playing the guitar, sailing, kicking a football around and growing vegetables.

Director

Dale Starkie

Dale joins DJS Antibodies as a Director with 10 years of experience in antibody discovery, projects and therapeutics at UCB Celltech. Throughout his career, Dale has worked on multiple antibody programs including three clinical candidates as well as building innovative and world-class antibody discovery methodologies. At DJS Dale will bring forth all his experience to drive forward DJS Antibodies lead programs and help build the antibody platform.
Dale holds a BSc in Virology from the University of Warwick and a PhD in Neuroscience from University Colledge London where he utilised novel antibody technologies to explore the biological underpinnings of neurodegenerative disease.
Dale enjoys exciting science and addressing challenging biology utilising antibody modalities, within innovative and passionate teams. Whilst being driven by a desire to deliver high-quality molecules to patients suffering from disease.

Outside of work Dale enjoys everything outdoors and challenging from skiing and climbing to ultramarathon running. `

Research Associate

Lara Bavinton

Before joining DJS Lara completed an MRes in Biomedical Research at Imperial College. Throughout her studies, she developed an interest in disease biology and practical laboratory science. Lara likes a challenge, and so is keen to apply her skills to the field of drug discovery. She thrives in fast-paced environments and working in a close-knit team.

As a research associate at DJS, Lara is responsible for performing a wide variety of lab tasks including cell culture, protein expression and purification, cell-based assays, and data analysis.

While not at work she is likely to be doing some sort of exercise (probably running) or be napping alongside one of her dogs.

Office Manager

Amanda Hall

Amanda has a passion for developing positive business cultures and has a track record of combining this with improving efficiency in administrative systems and processes. Having worked in a number of businesses large and small in both the UK and the US, Amanda saw the potential to make a significant contribution with DJS Antibodies. She is excited now to meet the challenges of our growing business. Outside of work, Amanda is a committed runner (albeit a little slow) foodie and loves to travel.
Junior Scientist

Megan Ingham

Megan is motivated to pursue a career in drug discovery due to the opportunity to make a positive impact in science, and to be part of an innovative industry aiming to develop new medicines. Working at DJS Antibodies has allowed her to fulfil her aspirations as a scientist whilst also enjoying the team spirit, and dynamic, fast-paced environment that working in a small company offers.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology and a MRes in Neuroscience, Megan joined DJS Antibodies as a Research Assistant. Working in the lab full-time has allowed her to expand her knowledge, develop her skill set and build up a large repertoire of lab skills and experimental techniques. She currently contributes towards the day-to-day running of the lab, development of new assays and management of our high-throughput antibody screening programmes.

When she is not working, Megan enjoys walking in the countryside with her springer spaniel, cycling, skiing, painting and baking.

Research Assistant

Nathan Jones

Nathan has been fascinated by science from an early age, with his Nan being a great influence and supporter. However, It wasn’t until he started university that he began to fully appreciate the scale and vastness of how much we still don’t know. Having graduated with a PhD from the University of Nottingham, working on DNA replication and repair, Nathan decided that he wanted to work closely on something that has the potential to change many lives; now working for DJS he will be doing this with every experiment performed. Outside of work Nathan is an avid Lindy-hop dancer, while also enjoying bouldering, cooking, and a good read.
Senior Scientist – Protein Science

David Knight

David joined DJS Antibodies after working in antibody research for nearly 14 years at UCB and Immunocore. He has been involved in antibody engineering and discovery programs for a range of targets and indications across oncology, autoimmunity, infectious diseases and the central nervous system. At DJS he now applies his skills to the difficult task of engineering antibodies to GPCRs, and is critical to helping build on the success of the team. David holds a Master’s degree in Biochemistry from University of Bath and also did academic placements in the USA.

Outside of the lab, David spends his spare time playing with his son Billy either in the park or with various train sets. He also likes baking sourdough bread, walking in countryside, playing squash and enjoying a film with his wife Debs.

Research Assistant

Tom Mills

Before joining DJS as a Research Assistant, Tom completed a BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology at the University of Bath. Through this degree he developed an interest in drug discovery and how the development of new treatments can provide a positive impact to people’s lives. At DJS, Tom is keen to expand his knowledge of the drug discovery process and develop his skillset through full-time lab work.
Away from DJS, Tom is a keen hockey player, skier and runner who also enjoys immersing himself in other people’s cultures through world travel.
Principal Scientist

Adam Kupinski

Adam completed his MSc in biotechnology at the University of Gdansk (Poland), following this he then went on to do a PhD in Biology at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden (Germany) where he studied developmental biology. After completing two postdoctoral research projects at the Centre for Regenerative Therapies in Dresden and University of Leeds he then moved to the pharma industry working in neuroscience drug discovery.

Adam very much enjoys scientific discovery where each experiment is a small step towards addressing a greater question and at the same time is a signpost where to step next. He believes that this passion can ultimately be turned to the patients' benefit. After working for some time in a larger pharmaceutical organisation he is looking forward to the challenge and new pace of a biotech company.

Outside of the lab in his spare time Adam likes being outdoors watching birds and insects and hiking with his son showing him the beauty of the natural world.

Scientist – B-Cell

Liz Allen

Elizabeth joined DJS Antibodies after working in vaccinology and virology research at the University of Oxford. Elizabeth completed a DPhil in Clinical medicine where she used structural biology to study antibody responses to emerging viruses. She then continued as a post-doc where she worked on developing vaccines for COVID-19.
Having spent her research career at the University of Oxford she is excited for the new challenge of working in biotech. At DJS she will be applying her skills in B-cell isolation and screening to discover novel monoclonal antibodies.

Outside of the lab, Elizabeth enjoys hiking, climbing and experimenting in the kitchen.

Chairperson

Graeme Martin

Graeme is a Pharmaceutical industry veteran with 25+ years of direct engagement in therapeutic R&D, and a further 15 years’ experience in Pharma corporate venture. He cut his drug discovery teeth in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Professor Sir James Black at the Wellcome Research Laboratories, subsequently working under the direction of Sir Salvador Moncada on serotonin receptor biology, which led to two IND candidate molecules, one of which - Zolmitriptan (Zomig®) – was launched in 1997 for migraine acute treatment. Graeme then moved to the USA joining Roche Bioscience as the Head of Molecular Pharmacology and VP of CNS R&D, participating in the advancement of two further molecules through IND. In 2003, he joined Takeda Pharmaceutical Company where he built Takeda Ventures, Inc. (TVI), one of the first truly strategic Pharma corporate venture capital units. He retired as President & CEO of TVI in 2017 and now maintains a portfolio of advisory and non-executive Board roles in early stage biotech in USA, Europe and Japan. Chief among these is his involvement with DJS where, since 2015, he has shared with the founding team the inevitable thrills and spills of innovating new medicines.

When he is not helping to navigate the choppy waters of R&D strategy and fund raising, Graeme is most likely to be found on the water casting flies at rising trout, walking the countryside in pursuit of Finnegan the English Setter or learning new woodworking skills in his quest to make order out of chaos.

CEO

David Llewellyn

David is the CEO and Co-Founder of DJS Antibodies. He loves discovery, and so is motivated by the pursuit of developing totally novel therapeutics. David has more than 10 years’ experience in evolutionary immunology, antibody characterisation and myeloid cell biology, and he leads the team in our pursuit to create world changing antibody therapeutics.
Having originally come from the sunny shores of Australia, David came to the UK to complete a PhD at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute supported by a Rhodes Scholarship. While studying he co-founded and led the Good Lad Initiative, an organisation promoting positive masculinity and gender equality amongst groups of young men. David remains committed to promoting values of equality and diversity throughout DJS and more broadly.

In a past life, David was a competitive kayaker, most often found half way down a waterfall, though now is more likely to be found watching water fall onto his struggling vegetable garden.

CSO

Joe Illingworth

Joe is the CSO and Co-Founder of DJS Antibodies. Joe loves working in a small and focussed team to solve problems creatively. He was a leader in the establishment of HEPTAD, the mAb discovery engine at the heart of DJS, and now oversees all R&D activities within the company. His work covers mAb discovery and screening through to preclinical development of lead drugs, and he works closely with industry-leading experts as well as managing several government funded projects.

Joe holds a BSc in Biochemistry from Imperial College London and a PhD in antibody discovery and characterisation from the University of Oxford. After studying Joe worked as an academic on antibody induction and vaccination.

In his spare time he loves playing the guitar, sailing, kicking a football around and growing vegetables.

Director

Clare Terlouw

Clare Terlouw is LifeArc’s Head of LifeArc Ventures, responsible for developing and implementing a strategy for LifeArc’s investments across the life science sector.

Clare was most recently at Syncona Investment Management Ltd, a FTSE250 healthcare investment trust, where she was Head of Corporate Development. She is a highly experienced and respected life sciences corporate finance and investment specialist, with significant expertise in growth funding for innovative life sciences companies in the private and public markets.

Clare is also a board member of the BioIndustry Association and a non-executive director of Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst.

Director

Richard Shen

Richard is a co-founder of Sedgwick Yard, which is a Greater China-based venture capital firm dedicated to cross-border life science investments. Previously, Richard worked at Goldman Sachs and UBS in London and Hong Kong for more than a decade, engaging in various capital raising and M&A transactions both regionally and globally.

Having lost some family members to cancer and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Richard was appalled by how inadequate the existing treatment options were, and this acted as the catalyst to venture into new drug discovery. His mission is to allocate capital to finance the most cutting-edge scientific discoveries, particularly those incubated out of prestigious universities / research institutes, which can potentially bring about innovative drugs / therapies to patients globally in a more equitable way.

In his spare time, Richard enjoys travelling, sports and cooking / gourmet food tasting. Richard studied at King’s College, Cambridge, and in the spirit of life long learning, is now pursuing a Master’s degree in relation to new drug discovery at Oxford University.

Director

John Haurum

John Haurum is a Non-executive Director in various European biotech companies (Synklino, Neophore, Storm, Agomab, Synact).
He was the CEO of F-star in Cambridge, UK (2012-2018), where he built a successful biotech company that initiated two clinical trials in oncology and generated more than €200M in non-dilutive revenue. Previously he was VP Research at ImClone Systems, New York (2010-2012) and before then he was the Chief Scientific Officer and cofounder of Symphogen A/S, Denmark (2000-2009).
After graduating in Medicine in Aarhus Denmark 1992, Dr. Haurum received a D.Phil. in Immunology from the Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford, England. Subsequently, he took up positions as Associate Professor at the Danish Cancer Society and completed his medical training.
Board Observer

Preeti Bakrania

Preeti obtained her PhD in Biochemisty at the National Institute for Medical Research and has more than 20 years research experience working in a number of disease areas with postdoctoral roles held within UCL, University of Cambridge and University of Oxford. During her 12 years at LifeArc she has gained experience of both small molecule and biologics drug discovery. Preeti currently heads up the antibody engineering and humanisation team and manages the humanisation portfolio for the Biotech Collaborations, leading programs within LifeArc’s portfolio to generate fully human antibodies against several target classes including GPCRs and ion channels with excellent biophysical properties for pre-clinical development. Preeti is a passionate scientist that thrives on the successful delivery of drug discovery programs to the clinic for the benefit of patient healthcare.

In her spare time Preeti is a keen gardener and very much enjoys cooking and travelling around the world.

Board Observer

Sally Dewhurst

Sally is an Investment Associate at Oxford Sciences Innovation, helping to commercialise the best science from Oxford University. Prior to this she was in academia, completing postdoctoral research at the Rockefeller University, as well as a PhD at the Francis Crick Institute in oncology. Sally is passionate about ensuring the most exciting early-stage science can be translated into real-world patient impact. Outside of work, she enjoys any activity that gets her outdoors – particularly cycling, hiking and wild swimming!
Board Observer

Gladys Nunez

Gladys Nunez, Director Amgen Ventures, joined Amgen in1997 leading diligence for the corporate venture fund. She also runs the Amgen Ventures R&D Seed Fund and is a board observer on several Amgen Ventures portfolio companies including DJS Antibodies.

Prior to joining Amgen’s Ventures in 2015, she worked for 10+ years in Amgen’s business development group and 8 years in R&D concurrent between Amgen and AstraZeneca. She, holds an MSc in Biochemical Pharmacology from the University of Southampton in England, and BSc from Marist College in Pre-Med.

Based in Cambridge, MA,Gladys is a Mass Bio member and Steering Committee member of Latinos in Bio, sponsored by Mass Bio to increase the role of Latinos in the life sciences including career development and healthcare disparities. Supporting the next generation of innovators and expanding access to healthcare treatments are two passions for Gladys.
Outside of work she enjoys hiking, playing tennis, and mystery novels.

SAB Chairperson

Peter Kiener

Dr. Kiener has extensive experience in the Biotech and Biopharma industry and currently sits on the BODs or advisory committees of several Biotech companies. Most recently, Dr. Kiener served as Chief Scientific Officer at Sucampo until the company's acquisition by Mallinckrodt in February 2018. Prior to Sucampo, he served as Chief Scientific Officer of Ambrx Inc., a company focused on developing antibody-drug conjugates. Previously, Dr. Kiener was President and Co-founder of Zyngenia Inc, a monoclonal antibody company developing drugs for oncology and inflammatory diseases. His prior experience also includes positions at MedImmune LLC, where he was Head of Global R&D, and at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Dr. Kiener has led or contributed to the development of over 30 different clinical-stage therapeutics and seven approved drugs. Additionally, he has published more than 120 papers in peer-reviewed journals and is listed as an inventor on over 60 patents and patent applications. Dr. Kiener received a B.A. in Chemistry from Lancaster University and a D.Phil. in Biochemistry from Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at Oxford University, where he also pursued a postdoctoral fellowship.

He's an avid cricket and football fan and spends his spare time getting out on the water.

Catherine Hutchings

Cath has spent over 23 years acquiring significant depth of experience in antibody drug discovery and platform applications, alliance management and scientific leadership, working for cutting edge biotech and pharma companies, such as Cambridge Antibody Technology and Heptares Therapeutics. She reverted to independent consultancy in 2015, providing scientific and strategic consultancy to executive management teams in the pharma/biotech industry and investors, with a particular focus on therapeutic antibodies targeting GPCRs & ion channels, immuno-oncology, platform positioning, target/product evaluation and supporting alliance deal negotiations. Cath graduated with BSc Hons in Genetics and Cell Biology from University of Manchester, UK, and a PhD in Biochemistry and Applied Molecular Biology from UMIST, UK.

Cath loves travel, particularly safari trips to southern Africa, sea fishing (including tag and release), whale/dolphin watching (a member of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society); wildlife photography; Rugby Union – but just as a spectator!

Pauline Lukey

Pauline Lukey is a drug discovery and development professional with 20 years of experience at GlaxoSmithKline R&D. She led expert teams from candidate selection through to clinical proof of concept, designing and delivering over 20 individual clinical trials . She has extensive experience in various therapy areas: including inflammation, autoimmunity and fibrosis. Since January 2016 she has provided consultancy services to several biotech companies and has worked with the DJS team since 2018. She also lectures at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, sits on the strategic advisory board of the EPSRC Prosperity Partnership and has published over 60 articles in peer reviewed journals. Pauline has a PhD in Immunology from the University of Pretoria and an MSc in microbial genetics from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Michael Steward

In a research career spanning 30 years, Michael has worked across academic, biotech and pharmaceutical industries, specialising in protein and antibody engineering. He was formerly Head of Lead Discovery and Antibody Technologies within GSKs Biopharm R&D unit, where he led multidisciplinary project teams from start of discovery through to clinical candidate selection and beyond, working with a range of antibody formats and modalities including bispecifics. In this position, he also played a decision-making role in examining candidate therapeutics and platform technologies for in-licencing by GSK. Prior to this, he served in a senior role at Domantis Ltd. In addition to this, he has also served in senior roles for other biotech companies working in diverse areas such as immunodiagnostics and epigenetics. During his career Michael has authored more than 30 scientific papers and is a named inventor on a number of patents.