Our team

Weatherden is a team of leaders who combine an agile biotech mindset with the proven expertise of pharmaceutical drug discovery and development.”
– Emma Tinsley, CEO

Leadership

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Houman Ashrafian
MA BM Bch DPhil FRCP
Co-Founder
Biography

Houman is a renowned clinician scientist and highly successful entrepreneur. As co-founder of Weatherden, he provides strategic direction to the company’s management team as it continues to evolve into one of the biotech sector’s preferred clinical consulting partners.

He is a Managing Partner at SV Health Investors and was previously Vice President and Head of Clinical Sciences at UCB. With specific interests in immune-oncology, metabolism and genetics, he co-founded Heart Metabolics which successfully repositioned perhexiline as a treatment for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and heart failure, and the services company Cardiac Report. He has founded six companies since joining SV; Sitryx, Enara Bio, Zarodex, TrexBio, Alchemab and Cellinta.

Houman completed his medical training at the Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford where he was appointed as an Honorary Consultant Cardiologist and remains a Visiting Professor and Head of Experimental Therapeutics. During his career, Houman has authored over 70 publications and received dozens of awards for his work.

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Duncan McHale
MBBS PhD MRCP
Co-Founder
Biography

Duncan is a clinician scientist and early drug development specialist with over 20 years’ industry experience. He co-founded Weatherden and helps lead the strategic direction of the company, whilst also actively supporting clients with his clinical development expertise. .

He is Chief Medical Officer at Evelo Biosciences, a company developing oral biologics targeting the small intestine and a Venture Partner at SV Health Investors. With previous roles as Vice President and Head of Global Exploratory Development at UCB, Vice President for Personalised Healthcare and Biomarkers at AstraZeneca, and European Head of Translational and Molecular Medicine at Pfizer, he has over 20 years’ experience working across pharmacogenetics, early development and personalised medicine across multiple therapeutic areas.

Duncan completed his PhD in genetics at the University of Leeds and was Visiting Professor in Clinical and Molecular at the University of Liverpool. Previously Chairman of the EFPIA pharmacogenomics working group, Duncan has sat on multiple Medical Research Council panels and was the Innovative Medicine Initiative’s lead on Molecular Taxonomy of Human Disease.

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Emma Tinsley
MSci ACA
Chief Executive
Biography

Working with the company’s co-founders, Emma directs the company’s strategic model and future growth plans. She is highly motivated by Weatherden’s mission of de-risking drug development and delivering maximum value for clients and is responsible for leading the company’s expansion into new service areas, integrating both cutting edge technologies and innovative ways of working into the company model.

Emma has extensive experience of leading on the strategy, financing and growth of drug development and biotech businesses, having worked closely with life sciences companies in a range of roles spanning the consulting, venture capital and private equity industries. She joined Weatherden as CFO from SV Health Investors in 2017 and was appointed CEO in 2020. Prior to this, Emma worked at KPMG across the life sciences audit and accounting advisory practices.

Emma holds an MSci in Chemistry from the University of Bristol. She is an advocate of the biotech industry, advising multiple small companies pro bono and serving on a committee of the UK Bioindustry Association.

Drug development

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Jenny Bendall
BSc MSc PhD
Director Clinical Operations
Biography

Jenny has a very strong background in clinical science and operations and is responsible for leading the implementation and management of clinical studies for Weatherden’s clients.

She has over 20 years’ experience gained in academic, CRO and biotech settings, in roles at ICON plc, PsiOxus Therapeutics and Karus Therapeutics. During her career she has managed clinical studies for a range of trail phases and therapeutic areas, including oncolytic gene therapies, small molecule clinical candidates, and drugs for cardiac and vascular diseases, and remains dedicated to maintaining clinical trial site performance, patient safety, data quality and inspection readiness.

Before moving into clinical operations, Jenny completed her PhD in Cardiovascular Medicine at King’s College, University of London and undertook post-doctoral positions at INSERM in Paris and the University of Oxford. Jenny received the Young Investigator of the Year Award from the British Society for Cardiovascular Research and a Unilever Scholarship for studies in Toxicology.

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Ali Bracchi
BSc MSc RGN
Director Clinical Operations
Biography

Ali possesses significant operational and technical expertise and is responsible for leading on the implementation and management of clinical studies for Weatherden’s clients.

She has more than 20 years’ experience in clinical operations having worked across a variety of biotech, CRO and mid to large sized pharmaceutical company settings, which include Takeda, Vertex and more recently Jazz Pharmaceuticals. She has extensive knowledge of drug development from FIH to Phase III in a variety of therapeutic areas including cardiovascular, CNS, respiratory and oncology. Her impressive track record of effective study execution is demonstrable by minimal protocol amendments, CAPAs, and extensions to timelines or change orders for out of scope expenses and she is similarly experienced in contributing to IMPDs, IBs, DSURs, and CSRs.

Ali is a highly capable line and matrix manager, with prior experience of leading multifunctional and multinational development teams and of managing several parallel clinical programs. She holds a MSc (Hons) in Neuroscience from University College London.

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Raj Dattani
BSc BM BCH
Drug Development Clinician
Biography

Raj works with senior team members to support the creation and delivery of drug development programmes for clients.

He studied medicine at the University of Oxford and worked at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital before joining Juvenescence as Director of Business Development. In that role, Raj co-led on multiple aspects of company creation, including creation of early research and development plans, and the analysis and competitive mapping of therapeutic areas for indication selection. He also performed extensive commercial and technical due diligence and analysis on a range of assets focussed on ageing and age-related disease, incorporating a review of the key scientific data, KOL opinions, unmet need analyses and competitor therapy area pipeline analyses.

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Hakim-Moulay Dehbi
MSc MRes PhD
Drug Development Statistician
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Aaron Deveney
BA PhD MBPS
VP Clinical Development
Biography

Aaron is an expert in clinical drug development and leads on the creation and delivery of innovative drug development solutions and pharmacovigilance practices, helping to deliver maximum value for clients and promote Weatherden as being the preferred consulting partner for biotechs.

He has more than 20 years’ experience in clinical drug development, with previous roles at Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Ono Pharma Europe in which he successfully brought a number of compounds to market. Aaron is an established leader of global and regional clinical development teams in a variety of therapeutic areas in both adult and paediatric indications, the management of strategic alliances and product portfolios, as well as major transformational programs restructuring global business functions.

Aaron completed his PhD in Clinical Pharmacology at The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and is a member of the British Pharmacological Association.

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Matthew Frise
BA BM BCh DPhil MRCP FFICM CCT
Senior Drug Development Clinician
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Alison Gadd
BSc PhD
Regulatory Expert
Biography

Alison is a senior regulatory affairs professional and is responsible for working with the Weatherden clinical development teams to design and implement global regulatory strategies for clients.

She has more than 25 years’ experience of regulatory affairs working in senior roles at small and large pharmaceutical companies, which include Shionogi Ltd, Durata Therapeutics, Vertex, Astellas Pharma and Celgene. She brings worldwide regulatory experience and a strong record in European regulatory procedures working across a wide variety of therapeutic areas and, having operated in many multidisciplinary teams, interacts well with R&D and commercial functions.

Alison completed her PhD in Biochemical Pharmacology at the University of Bristol. She is a member of The Organisation for Professionals in Regulatory Affairs (TOPRA) and serves on its committee.

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Holly Garratt
BSc
Manager Clinical Operations
Biography

Holly is responsible for coordinating and managing all aspects of clinical trials for clients.

She has over 20 year’s full life cycle clinical trials management experience in medium and large pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer and UCB. She brings extensive knowledge of clinical trials process and execution, from feasibility through to reporting, as well as of quality oversight of CRO and vendors, authoring of study protocols, developing programme strategy, country feasibility, contingency planning, and associated timelines. Holly has worked across numerous therapeutic areas, including pain, allergy and respiratory, immunology and vaccine development.

Holly holds a BSc Hons in Biomedical Sciences from Northumbria University and Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmaceutical Medicine from the University of Basel.

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Shirish Joshi
BSc MSc
Director Clinical Operations
Biography

Shirish is responsible for coordinating and managing all aspects of clinical trials for clients.

He has more than 28 years’ in the clinical operations and drug development industry, working for a range of biotechs and mid to large size pharmaceutical companies. He brings a significant track record of setting up and conducting national, EU, and global phase I, II, IIa, III, IIIb, and IV trials; designing study protocols; line-managing CRAs and CTAs; and managing drug development programmes and study budgets. Shirish’s experience portfolio spans various therapeutic areas from Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products, through diabetes, inflammatory, neurodegenerative, obstetric, oncology, osteoporosis, paediatric to rare diseases.

Shirish holds a MSc in Medical Microbiology and is a member of the Institute of Clinical Research (MICR) and Pharmaceutical Industry Project Managers Group (PIPMG).

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Hilary McElwaine Johnn
MBBS MRCP MFPM
VP Clinical Development
Biography

Hilary is a highly experienced Chief Medical Officer, providing hands-on leadership and support to Weatherden’s clients at all stages of the product development lifecycle, including product marketing, pharmacovigilance and interactions with the financial community.

She has over 25 years’ experience of drug development, having been responsible for the design and development of clinical development programmes at all phases in a number of VC-backed biotechs. Her experience includes small molecules and biologics across a broad range of therapeutic areas, in particular oncology, immunotherapy, urology and cardiovascular. Hilary’s most recent roles include CMO at the two clinical stage biopharmaceutical companies, Karus Therapeutics, developing precision medicines for cancer, and PsiOxus Therapeutics, focused on developing first-in-class oncolytic viruses and gene therapy.

Hilary completed her medical training at Imperial College London. She is a member of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians.

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Jeremy O'Sullivan
BSc MICR
Manager Clinical Operations
Biography

Jeremy is responsible for coordinating and managing all aspects of clinical trials for clients.

He has more than 20 years’ experience as a senior clinical project manager in the pharmaceutical industry, which includes the global companies Ono Pharma UK, Allergan and Pfizer. During this time, he has built an impressive record in planning, setting up, coordinating, managing and overseeing every aspect of early phase clinical trials both nationally and globally. Jeremy’s experience extends to multiple therapeutic areas in healthy volunteer and patient studies, including immunology, respiratory and endocrinology, neurology, neurotoxins and paediatric spasticity, and urology. He is particularly skilled at maintaining trial recruitment and site progress in challenging circumstances – exhibited again most recently during the Covid-19 lockdown of spring/summer 2020.

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Graham Scott
BSc PhD MRPharmS
Clinical Pharmacologist
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Harjit Singh
BSc
Director Clinical Operations
Biography

Harj is a clinical operations and project management professional with more than 18 years’ experience of working across diabetes, immunology, immuno-oncology, hypertension, neurodegenerative, oncology, rare disease, rare cystic fibrosis drugs, renal, and other therapeutic portfolios. He brings a significant track record of designing, managing and leading international and multicentre studies through phases I, II, III, IIIb, and IV; setting up clinical development teams; developing study protocols; and devising clinical development plans and study timelines.

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Christine Wilkinson Blanc
MSc MD
Clinical Development
Biography

Christine is a highly skilled and adaptable pharmaceutical physician and Chief Medical Officer, supporting Weatherden’s clients with her extensive hands-on experience of integrated clinical development across biotechs and large pharma.

She has 20 years of drug development experience, specialising in oncology and haematology. Her knowledge spans all stages of the product life cycle, having delivered various projects spanning the onco-immunotherapy landscape through multiple phases of clinical development and product commercialisation. Christine previously held the role of CMO at PsiOxus Therapeutics, a clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused development of an oncolytic virus. More recently she has worked extensively with Pierre Fabre, acting as clinical lead in two successful MAAs of inhibitors for melanoma, CRC and breast cancers. With several years’ working abroad, Christine also boasts a nuanced understanding of regional epidemiology and the changing treatment paradigms of cancers across multiple territories.

Christine completed her medical training at the Universities of Lille and Lyon. She is fluent in French, English, Italian and German.

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Arash Yavari
MBBS DPhil MRCP
Senior Drug Development Clinician
Biography

Arash is a key member of Weatherden’s clinical development team, responsible for creating and delivering pioneering drug development programmes for clients.

Arash has over 18 years’ of clinical and research experience, which spans general internal medicine specialities and drug development. He has been involved in developing, designing and managing the execution of clinical development programmes across a broad range of areas including target discovery, immunology, oncology, Mendelian/rare disorders, oligonucleotide therapeutics, cardiovascular disease, drug repositioning and novel platform/precision medicine approaches.

Arash completed his DPhil in Cardiovascular Medicine and holds a research appointment in Experimental Therapeutics at the Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford. He is on the GMC specialist register for cardiology and is a member of the Royal College of Physicians.

Operations

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Sophie Baillie
MSci CA CTA
Head of Finance and Operations
Biography

Sophie is responsible for leading Weatherden’s financial and operational activities to support the ongoing delivery of client development solutions to clients, whilst also helping the leadership team develop its plans for the continued growth of the company.

Sophie is a chartered accountant and chartered tax advisor with extensive experience of financial planning, operational management and corporate strategy, having spent almost 10 years working with clients in the life sciences and technology sectors. She began her career at KPMG working across the firm’s audit and tax practices and has since worked at boutique finance consulting firms, where she continued to support clients with the provision of financial and operational advice.

Sophie read chemistry at Queens’ college, University of Cambridge where she was a member of the Duer Group, involved in research around the molecular structure of the extracellular matrices in structural tissues.

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Caroline McHugh
BSc
Events Manager
Biography

Caroline supports clients by arranging contact with Weatherden’s network of expert advisers and the organisation of advisory boards and other high-profile events.

She has more than 20 years’ experience working in project and event management across the hospitality, information technology, and healthcare industries. She brings a significant track record of organising and managing various types of small and large scale events, incorporating summits, incentive programmes, sales kick-off meetings and leadership meetings. She has a strong record of data management and other detail-oriented initiatives.

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Armin Yavari
BA MA MLitt FRSA
Finance and Operations Analyst
Biography

Armin is a key member of the head office team and is instrumental in helping to develop and support the smooth running of the company’s financial, operational and marketing activities, as it moves forward with its growth and expansion plans.

He has a wealth of experience working across the cultural heritage and higher education sectors and is a fellow at an institute of the University of St Andrews with a portfolio of advisory responsibilities focusing on communications, marketing, fundraising and strategy. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2013 and co-founded the largest early career area studies conference series in Europe.

Armin read Art History at the University of St Andrews and holds modern history degrees from Birkbeck, University of London, and Oxford Brookes.

Questions?
Get in touch.

Biotech consulting
Sophie Baillie
[email protected]

Due diligence
Stuart McGuire
[email protected]

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