Our World Class Team

Dr. Steve Ruston PhD

Chief Executive Officer

Steve Ruston has over 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and fine chemicals sectors including roles in R&D, chemical manufacturing and site operations with key roles at Smith Kline, Courtaulds, GlaxoWellcome and Pfizer in the UK, USA & Latin America. During his career, Steve has contributed to the teams responsible for the development and commercial success of Tagamet, Zantac, Imigran and Viagra and was responsible for the design, commissioning and operation of R&D laboratories and chemistry pilot plant facilities with a capital value of over £300m.

Steve previously served as CEO of Prolysis Ltd, a UK-based biotechnology company, where he led the growth and development of the company from its spinout stage from Oxford University through to its successful sale to an international pharma company. Steve holds a PhD in synthetic organic chemistry at the University of Leeds.

Dr. Lloyd Czaplewski PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Lloyd Czaplewski has over 30 years of R&D experience across multiple therapeutic areas at corporate, managerial and technical levels. Lloyd’s career in the biotechnology sector has included positions as Head of Biology at British Biotech and Vice President of R&D at Prolysis and Biota Europe. He has a successful track record working at Board level to assist in corporate fundraising and commercial agreements. Lloyd is an advisor to several international antibacterial groups including CARB-X, the Novo Repair Impact Fund and the WHO Clinical Pipeline Advisory Group.

Lloyd has significant experience in areas ranging from fundamental research to clinical evaluation and in particular is recognised as a leading expert in the discovery and development of antibacterials. 43 publications and more than 4200 citations and has been involved in the filing of 23 patent applications. Lloyd holds a PhD in Molecular Genetics from the University of Glasgow and completed further postdoctoral research studies at the University of Leeds.

Sarah Guest MSc

Chief Operating Officer

Sarah Guest has significant experience in the pharmaceutical industry having spent 19 years at Pfizer, where most recently she served as Director within Global Project Management. She has extensive experience across all phases of drug development and multiple therapeutic areas, and played a key role in the successful registration and approval of RelpaxTM. Prior to this, Sarah worked at ProtAffin Biotechnologie AG, an Austrian based company, where she was involved in the execution of the company’s first clinical study.

Sarah gained her BSc in Biochemistry from Kent University and subsequently her MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Bridget Lacey BSc ACA

Chief Business Officer

Bridget Lacey has over 25 years of corporate and business development experience across the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors. She has identified and led a large number of deals, covering product in-licensing and acquisitions, product or business divestments and corporate M&A.

Bridget has worked in global roles, and also internationally, for GSK, Novartis (previously Chiron Vaccines), GE Healthcare, Shire, ViroPharma and Circassia, driving strategic portfolio and investment decisions. More recently she has taken on CBO and Head of BD roles for a series of smaller clinical-stage biotechs; VHsquared, an oral domain antibody company, Karus Therapeutics a precision medicine oncology company and EnteroBiotix, a full-spectrum microbiome platform company, leading their business development functions as well as supporting fund-raising activities. Bridget also provides adhoc BD support to a range of earlier-stage biotechs with novel technologies, including 3D genomics and gene therapy. Earlier in her career she qualified as a Chartered Accountant and moved into corporate finance at EY.

Duncan McHale, MD PhD

Senior Medical Consultant

Dr Duncan McHale is the clinical consultant to Persica Pharmaceuticals and the PP353 programme.  He is the founder and director of Weatherden, an Early Drug Development consultancy and has over 20 years of experience in early drug development.  Duncan received his medical degree from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in 1991 and trained in general medicine and genetics during which he received a PhD from the University of Leeds.  He joined and then led the pharmacogenetics group in Pfizer Europe in 1999 which subsequently became the Translational Medicine group. During this time he chaired the EFPIA Pharmacogenetics group and was a member of the UK Human Genetics Council. He joined AstraZeneca in 2008 and ran the Translational Science group until 2011.  From 2011 to 2017 he ran the Global Early Development group for UCB which included the clinical operations, statistics, Quantitative pharmacology and biomarker groups.  During this time the group took 8 programmes into Development with 4 reaching proof of concept.  Throughout his career he has worked on many programs across multiple therapeutic areas including pain, immunoinflammation, oncology, neuroscience, respiratory, GI and GU diseases.

Andrew Congleton

Board Member

Andrew Congleton is a specialist in mergers & acquisitions at international investment bank DC Advisory, with over 25 years’ experience advising on acquisitions, mergers, joint ventures and disposals of businesses. Andrew currently co-leads and is a Managing Director at DC Advisory in the Infrastructure sector, advising clients on large and mid-cap transactions across Europe. During his career Andrew has worked at advisory boutiques and global investment banks across many verticals. including utilities, transportation, oil & gas, healthcare, TMT, consumer and real estate. Andrew also worked at Novartis in mergers & acquisitions, based in Basel. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant (ICAEW) and studied at the University of Cambridge.

Mr. Peter J Hamlyn, Consultant Spinal Surgeon

Non-Executive Director and Board Member

Peter Hamlyn A graduate of University College London, practiced as a Consultant Neurological and Spinal Surgeon for over 30 years and led neurosurgical units at two London leading teaching hospitals and held academic positions as Director of the Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine at QMUL and more latterly as Honorary Associate Professor at University College London. Current positions include: President of the Brain and Spine Foundation, Founder of Neuro UK, Chairman of the UK Football Association’s Expert Medical Advisory Panel, Head of Medicine and Trustee of the Grand Prix Trust and Podium Analytics, Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and a Fellow of the Institute of Sports Medicine. Was a key member of the 2012 London Olympics. Research activity includes a period as Convener of Queen Mary University of London Spinal Cord Injury Group, a £750,000 funded research program, and a grant from the Migraine trust and played a key role in achieving £10m funding and National Centre Status for the Institute of Sport Exercise and Health at UCL. Author of a neurosurgical textbook and multiple peer review papers.

His clinical work focused on spinal spine surgery and saw him completing some 2,500 consultations and around 300 procedures a year. His specialist interest in sport saw him working with Premier League football and rugby clubs, rugby clubs, equestrian sports, elite athletes, combat sport from many other disciplines including NFL and motorsports.

Mr Hamlyn was a founding member of Persica Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Alan A Jordan PhD

Non-Executive Director and Board Member

Alan Jordan was a founder of the Spine Centre at the University of Southern Denmark where he worked as an associate professor and course coordinator in the Faculty of Sports Medicine & Clinical Biomechanics from 1998 to 2003. Following this, Alan became a Director of the Broadgate Spine & Joint Clinic in London. Alan qualified as a Chiropractor in Toronto in 1979 and later carried out post-graduate research at the University of Copenhagen and in 1997 completed a doctorate in medical research at the Faculty of Medicine, Royal National University Hospital, Copenhagen.

He has published extensively in peer reviewed journals and co-authored two books on spinal pain. In 1997, he was awarded Scandinavian researcher of the year by The Danish Society of Musculoskeletal Disease. Alan also worked charitably for the Danish Association for Arthritis and several patient associations. Alan has served as a referee for several leading spine journals and spoken at conferences throughout Europe and North America.

Dr Jordan is a founding member of Persica Pharmaceuticals.

Eliot Forster, PhD MBA

Advisor to the Board

Eliot Forster has over 30 years’ experience in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors. He was formerly Chief Executive Officer of F-Star Therapeutics (NASDAQ:FSTX), Chief Executive Officer of Immunocore (NASDAQ:IMCR), Chief Executive Officer of Creabilis and President and Chief Executive Officer of Solace Pharmaceuticals. Earlier in his career, he held positions at Pfizer and GSK. Eliot currently serves as the Non-Executive Chairman of Avacta Group (AIM:AVCT), as the Non-Executive Chairman of Protalix Biotherapeutics (AMEX:PLX), as a Non-Executive Director of Immatics NV (NASDAQ:IMTX) and as the Chairman of Ochre Bio, a UK-based private biotechnology company. He is a visiting Professor at the Universities of Pavia Italy and Liverpool UK.

Our Investors

Persica has been financed by individual private investors based in the UK, Scandinavia and the United States since its establishment in 2013.

The shareholder register includes physicians/surgeons, patients, international financiers, lawyers and senior executives from the pharmaceutical sector.

We have not received institutional or corporate funding and our shareholder base has demonstrated long term support and commitment to our Company.