About Us

Cellesce was founded in 2013 and is built on biochemical and bioprocess engineering expertise from the University of Bath and cell and organoid biology expertise from Cardiff University. In December 2017 Cellesce moved into the Medicentre in Cardiff, Wales.

Cellesce has invented and patented a unique bioprocess for the expansion of human-derived, cancer organoids for applications in cancer drug discovery. Organoids are three-dimensional, multi-cellular clusters, derived from patient cancer biopsy tissue. They are propagated and amplified in the laboratory and fully recapitulate all of the different cell types and underlying pathology of the original tissues. They are, in effect, mini-tumours. Previously, organoids could only be grown and expanded manually. This is a technically challenging, time-consuming and labour-intensive process resulting in small numbers of inconsistently-sized organoids, limiting their suitability for use in high throughput screening and widespread commercial use.

The Lab Team

Cellesce Lab Team

The Cellesce Lab Team (from left to right) Dr Mairian Thomas, Professor Trevor Dale, Dr Marianne Ellis, Elizabeth Fraser, Dr Kim Luetchford

The Board

Our leadership team combines technical expertise in bioprocessing and the cancer biology of organoids together with a track record of incubating high potential start-ups and building businesses:

Paul Jenkins

Paul Jenkins

CEO

Paul is a seasoned business development and senior management executive in Life Sciences. He has amassed a wealth of deal-making and investment experience across a variety of therapeutic areas. Paul’s previous roles include VP Business Development at Catalent, CEO at Adjuvantix, and VP Business Development at West Pharmaceutical Services. Paul is also a strategic advisor to Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Victoria Marsh Durban

Victoria Marsh Durban

Chief Operating Officer

Vicky completed her Ph.D. at Cardiff University in 2008 in the field of cancer genetics with a focus on models of gastrointestinal tract cancers. She subsequently moved to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) where she held a post-doctoral research scholarship investigating targeted therapeutic approaches in malignant melanomas. In 2014 she returned to Cardiff to take up a Research Fellowship at the European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute.

Vicky took up her first commercial role as Head of Cell Biology at ReNeuron in 2016 before joining Cellesce as Lead Scientist in 2019. Vicky has played a significant role in helping the Company to navigate the CV-19 global pandemic whilst ensuring that key commercial and scientific progress has been maintained.

John Allbrook

Chairman

John is an experienced leader in global corporations, private equity and listed businesses across the financial services, business services and technology sectors. Most recently he was Chairman of Syscap, a specialist SME finance company. Previously he was the CEO of GoIndustry plc, the AIM listed provider of asset sales and valuation services. This followed a 10 year spell at GE Capital, where he led multiple P&Ls in Europe.

John’s proven expertise is in helping businesses to thrive in any economic environment, with an emphasis on building robust financial, strategic, people and technology foundations to enable profitable growth.

Julian Chaudhuri

Non-Executive Director

Professor Julian Chaudhuri is a leading authority in regenerative medicine bioprocessing, and is currently Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) at the University of Plymouth. He was co-founder of Bath’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine in 2003, and is a member of the editorial board of the journal Regenerative Medicine.

Kate Rowley

Kate Rowley

Non-Executive Director

Kate is an Independent Consultant for Symmetrist and a Venture Partner at Global Bio Fund. She advises companies developing innovative science and technology with the potential to transform healthcare. Kate supports companies from across the UK, West Coast US and Australia and works with them on project, executive and non-executive roles as meets their needs.

Kate has a deep history of commercialisation of Life Sciences with experience in Investor, Founder and Non-Executive Director roles across a variety of businesses in med tech, digital health and drug discovery/development. She has more than 7 years’ experience of investing as an Investor Director working at IP Group and then Bioscience Managers, where she led the team supporting Downing with their EIS/VCT investments. Prior to this Kate held a number of commercially focussed roles at Quotient Clinical (now Quotient Sciences) Nexxus, the West of Scotland Bioscience Network and SAMS.

Francis Bealin-Kelly

Non-Executive Director

Francis is an innovation and R&D leader with a proven track record of building high performing teams that build businesses. Until recently he was a Member of the Executive Committee and Chief Technology Officer at Strauss Coffee, and was previously Head of Research & Development and Technical Innovation at SABMiller.

Chris Thompson

Non-Executive Director

With a background in physics, engineering and accountancy, Chris has spent 25 years working in design and innovation consulting. He was Chief Operator Officer of Fitch plc working in the US and UK and MD of PSD Associates Ltd before founding Viadynamics in 1998.

Viadynamics advises businesses on how to make innovation happen – from strategy to action including innovation capability building. Chris has led innovation assignments for global corporations (like 3M, Abbott, AXA, Fresenius, GSK, Leo Pharma, Mars, Pepsico, SABMiller and Unilever), start-ups (like Snap Fashion, and Sugru), and for universities (Cambridge, Kent, Warwick and York).

Rob Snedden

Company Secretary

Rob is an experienced finance professional and has worked as financial controller for a number of companies. Robert graduated from Napier University, Edinburgh with a degree in Accounting and a Postgraduate Diploma in Industrial Administration. He became a member of CIMA in 1991.