Management Team

Dr. Matthew Cooper
Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Matt Cooper completed a PhD in Chemistry in 1995 then spent 13 years in the UK, first at the University of Cambridge, then 9 years in start-ups and biotechnology companies. He returned to academia in 2009 to work on therapies that block inflammation via modulation of the innate immune system, novel antimicrobials, rapid diagnostics and modulators of the human microbiome.

He has advised and worked with venture capital, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide, was a co-founder, CSO and Director of Akubio, and the Founder and Managing Director of Cambridge Medical Innovations (acquired by Alere). He is currently a co-founder and Director of Defensin Therapeutics, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of Adenium Biotechnology, and co-founder and Executive Director of Inflazome. He has more than 20 patents and 200 scientific papers.

Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Reena Halai
Biology Program Manager

Reena completed her PhD in molecular and structural biology at The University of Queensland before continuing onto a post doc for six years. She then moved to the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridgeshire as a research administrator and then project manager for the Human induced pluripotent stem cell initiative. Prior to her PhD, Reena had also spent time at GlaxoSmithKline and UCB biopharma.'

Biology Program Manager

Dr. Angus MacLeod
Vice President, Preclinical R&D

Angus began his industrial career at Merck in 1984 at its Neuroscience Research Centre in the UK.  At Merck, he was responsible for the management of multiple drug discovery programs leading to the nomination of pre-clinical drug candidates, and served on product development teams progressing compounds through to Phase I clinical trials.  In 2006, he joined BioFocus, part of the Galapagos group, as head of Medicinal Chemistry and DMPK, and continued in a broader management role as Executive Director following acquisition by Charles River Laboratories in 2014.  Angus has extensive experience across a wide range of therapeutic areas and drug target classes.  He is co-author of more than 60 papers and an inventor on more than 70 patent applications.

Angus studied Chemistry at the University of Glasgow in Scotland where he was awarded his Ph.D.  He performed his post-doctoral research at the University of Manchester institute of Technology in the lab of Prof. Bob Ramage.

Vice President, Preclinical R&D
David Miller.jpeg

Dr. David Miller
Head of Medicinal Chemistry

David completed his PhD in heterocyclic chemistry at Hull University before going on to post-doc with Professor Chris Moody (Loughborough University) and then Professor Andreas Pfaltz (Max Planck Institute). His first industrial position was at Organon Laboratories in Newhouse, Scotland where he spent over 5 years as a chemistry and project team leader, working on schizophrenia, pain and depression programs. In 2002 David moved to Cambridge to take up a senior role at Amedis Pharmaceuticals, which subsequently merged with Paradigm Therapeutics and the combined company was later acquired by the Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. At Takeda, David was a parallel project leader, leading the team that delivered a compound into the clinic for a challenging CNS target. Upon leaving Takeda he was Associate Director within the Medicinal Chemistry department having with responsibility for analytical chemistry and DMPK. David currently has 16 scientific publications and is a named inventor on 9 patents.

Head of Medicinal Chemistry

Prof. Luke O'Neill
Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer

Luke O’Neill is Inflazome’s Chief Scientific Officer as well as Professor of Biochemistry, Trinity College Dublin. His 18-person research lab focuses on the molecular basis to inflammation.  He is a world authority on innate immunity, which lies at the heart of inflammation, with a particular interest in Toll-like receptors, inflammasomes and metabolic reprogramming.

He was awarded the Royal Dublin Society / Irish Times Boyle Medal for scientific excellence in 2009, the Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal for Life Sciences in 2012  and the European Federation of Immunology Societies Medal in 2014.  He was elected a member of EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organisation) in 2005 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2016.

In 2014 Thomson Reuters named him as being in the top 1% in the world working in the areas of Immunology and Pharmacology.  

Co-founder & Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Jeremy Skillington
Vice President, Business Development

Jeremy began is biotechnology career in the Business Development group of Genentech, Inc in 2002. At Genentech he was responsible for executing over 40 licensing, investment and collaboration transactions.  He then led Business Development and was a member of the Senior Management team at Opsona Therapeutics before becoming a founder and CEO of immuno-oncology company TriMod Therapeutics. He joined HS Lifesciences in 2014 to provide start-up and business development support to portfolio companies ImmunoQure AG and Ethris GmbH.

Jeremy studied Biochemistry at the National University of Ireland, Galway where he was awarded his Ph.D.  He performed his post-doctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco in the lab of Prof Rik Derynck.

Vice President, Business Development

Dr. Laura Trespidi
Head of Product Development

Laura Trespidi is a dedicated and energetic professional with 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. She was Head of Technical Regulatory Affairs with Mundipharma UK, responsible for the company’s international CMC strategy. Before this at Shire Pharmaceuticals she covered diverse senior R&D roles working on multiple drug development programs from candidate selection to market launch. She has also worked with GSK, NicOx, AAI Pharma and Dompe’. Laura has experience in specialty drug delivery systems and scale-up of complex dosage forms. She has also extensive expertise in the management of business involved in the provision of services to Biotech and Pharma companies. She holds a degree in Pharmaceutics from the University of Milan, Italy, an MBA from the Open University, UK and a degree in Medicinal Chemistry from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington USA.

Head of Product Development

Joanna Tufnell
Head of Regulatory Affairs

Joanna has over 30 years of experience in regulatory affairs for pharmaceutical companies while working in the UK regulatory agencies. She has worked on hundreds of applications for drug approvals in the global regulatory markets. Joanna’s experience covers drug development, from first in man to phase 4, submitting INDs, gaining approval CTAs and obtaining scientific advice from Regulators for small molecules and biotechnology.

Joanna has held senior positions as the Global Regulatory Lead for various therapeutic areas including vaccines, oncology and HIV products, she has extensive experience with US and EU paediatric submissions and Orphan Designations. She has previously had both permanent and interim roles as Head of Regulatory for start-up and established companies.

While working for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Joanna was senior assessor responsible for Biotechnology applications considered by the Committee on Human Medicinal Products (CHMP).

Joanna has held board level positions and has been involved with fund raising for start-up companies, as well as writing business plans.

Joanna is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, a Fellow of The Organisation for Professionals in Regulatory Affairs (FTOPRA), a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA) and Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (FRSM). Joanna has a BSc Pharmacy (Hons) and a first class degree in Law.

Head of Regulatory Affairs