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Management Team

Stephen Barr

President & Managing Director, Almac Discovery
Stephen is a member of the Almac Group Executive Management and President and Managing Director of both Almac Discovery and Almac Sciences. He was instrumental in establishing Almac Discovery and has had overall responsibility for strategic, financial and operational leadership ever since.

In 2004, Stephen saw the opportunity to acquire Albachem for Almac Sciences Division which subsequently enabled key personnel to join Almac Discovery to strengthen our peptide and protein chemistry capabilities and support our first clinical candidate ALM201. Later, Stephen set up the unique relationship with the Cancer Centre for Research and Cellular Biology (CCRCB) at Queen’s University which seeks to consolidate Discovery’s oncology focus. Stephen has a Ph.D in synthetic chemistry.

Tim Harrison

Vice President, Discovery Chemistry
Tim joined Almac Sciences in 2006 as Vice President of Research and Development before moving to Almac Discovery on its establishment in 2008: an initiative he had played a key role in planning and championing. He now has responsibility for all R&D activities and for coordinating the relationship with Queen’s University which, most recently, is via the Centre for Precision Therapeutics.

Prior to Almac Tim spent 15 years at Merck, Sharp and Dohme where he had involvement with their γ-secretase programme and the now marketed Substance P antagonist Emend® for chemotherapy-induced nausea. For his work with Emend® he received the Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award.

Tim is the McClay Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at Queen’s University and has a Ph.D in Synthetic Organic Chemistry

Xavier Jacq

Vice President, Biology
Xavier joined Almac Discovery in 2018 and is leading the biology team for the company’s small molecule discovery. He has over 18 years of industry experience and a track record in early stage discovery and development for highly innovative oncology and CNS drug target classes.

Xavier’s career has spanned time in biotech and pharma. At Kudos Pharmaceuticals/AstraZeneca, the company responsible for the discovery of the first PARP inhibitor (Lynparza®), he led the preclinical ATR project. He has also worked at Hybrigenics and co-founded MISSION Therapeutics where he further developed his deep understanding of the ubiquitin proteasome pathway. Additionally, Xavier has worked for Sanofi-Synthelabo and Lectus Therapeutics.

Prior to a post-doctoral position at Colombia University (NYC, USA), in oncology, Xavier received his Ph.D in Biochemistry from Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France.

Alan Lamont

Vice President, Business Development and Licensing
Alan joined Almac Discovery in October 2019 and has responsibility for all commercial activities, including the evaluation, structuring, negotiation and due diligence of BD and Licensing opportunities, and providing commercial input into research and discovery strategy as part of the Discovery senior management team.

Alan has over 30 years of experience in pharmaceutical and biotech environments. He holds both a PhD in Immunology/Physiology from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Edinburgh and a BSc from the Faculty of Science, University of Glasgow.

Prior to Almac Discovery, Alan held senior global roles including Executive Director, Global External R&D with Eli Lilly, Executive Director, SPBD with AstraZeneca, and, most recently, Senior BD Lead at Mundipharma International.

Graham Cotton

Head of Protein Therapeutics
Graham joined Almac from the acquisition of Albachem and subsequently joined Almac Discovery to bring expertise in peptide and protein chemistry. Graham has responsibility for the technical management of Discovery’s Protein Drug Conjugate key research focus within Almac Discovery and was important in the discovery of the peptide clinical candidate, ALM201.

Before moving to Albachem, Graham worked at Amersham Biosciences, prior to this he held post-doctoral positions at University of Edinburgh and Rockefeller University, New York. He has a Ph.D from University of Edinburgh.

Aaron Cranston

Head of Translational Research
Aaron joined Almac Discovery in 2016 and has responsibility for translational research activities including key external research collaborations. Aaron has over 20 years of experience in preclinical oncology and left Mission Therapeutics, where he was Head of Pharmacology for the deubiquitylating enzyme (DUB) specialist, to join Discovery. Aaron has also previously worked for PRECOS, a specialist oncology CRO and KuDOS Pharmaceuticals (acquired by AstraZeneca). At KuDOS, he made notable contributions to the PARP inhibitor programme which led to olaparib (Lynparza®), now a first-in-class marketed treatment for BRCA-mutant ovarian cancer.

Aaron carried out his post-doctoral research at the Kimmel Cancer Center, Philadelphia and the University of Cambridge.

He has a Ph.D in Cancer Genetics from Queen’s University.

Colin O’Dowd

Head of Medicinal Chemistry
Colin manages the medicinal chemistry, ADMET and CADD groups within Almac Discovery bringing to bear his experience in chemistry contract research from his 9 year tenure in Almac Sciences.

Colin has broad medicinal chemistry skills, he and his team have recently worked on Discovery’s kinase and deubiquitylating enzyme programmes and platform. He was heavily involved in implementing and delivering the initial phases of the highly successful industry-academia research collaboration between Almac Discovery and Queen’s University Belfast which continues with the Centre for Precision Therapeutics in 2016.

He has a Ph.D in synthetic organic chemistry from Queen’s University.
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