Our executive team
Chief Executive Officer
Professor Amit Nathwani
Professor Amit Nathwani is the founder of NovalGen and serves as the Company’s CEO and is a member of the Board of Directors. Professor Nathwani is a renowned serial innovator and entrepreneur. He has an international reputation for his work in cancer research, immunology, and gene therapy and has been the recipient of a number of awards, including Outstanding Achievement Award in 2016 from ESGCT and American Society of Hematology and the Ham-Wasserman Lecture award in 2019. He is well known for his dedication to translational medicine and his commonly cited pioneering work in gene therapy where he was the first to show successful correction of bleeding diathesis in patients with severe hemophilia B.
He is the Founder and was the CSO (until end 2020) and now serves as a Board member of Freeline. Over the last 20 years Professor Nathwani has coordinated numerous Phase II and III trials in the treatment of refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and is an author of more than 200 publications. He is the Principal Investigator on several early phase studies and an author of several patents. He continues to serve as the Director of the Katharine Dormandy Hemophilia Centre at the Royal Free Hospital and as a Senior NIHR Investigator. Additionally, he has also been a Professor of Hematology at University College London since November 2011. Prof. Nathwani graduated with MBChB from the University of Aberdeen in 1984 and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physician as well as the Royal College of Pathologist since June 1995. He holds a PhD in Molecular Biology.
COO & CTO
Dr Kieran O’Donovan
Dr Kieran O’Donovan has more than 25 years’ experience in the Biotech/Biopharma industry, starting his career heading up Research and Development in the then nascent probiotic industry before moving into the CMC arena at Protherics. At Protherics, he led process development working on Fab fragments and recombinant proteins. In 2007, he moved to Ipsen as Head of Industrialisation, becoming Vice President of Toxins and Biologics in 2011 developing natural and recombinant toxins as well as recombinant proteins for the treatment of Hemophilia.
Dr O’Donovan later took up the role of Head of CMC at ReNeuron in 2015 and was promoted to Director of CMC in 2017 leading the development, manufacture and clinical supply of their allogenic stem cell therapies. He holds a PhD in computer modelling of a bioreactor process from the University of Surrey and is a microbiologist by training.
DR DAVID GRANGER
Dr David Granger has over 15 years’ experience in drug discovery, working on both small molecule and antibody therapeutic programmes. Originally trained as a pharmacologist, he joined global pharmaceutical company GSK following a PhD and post-doctoral research position at Imperial College. At GSK David led bispecific antibody programmes utilising different discovery platforms, whilst overseeing multiple collaborations. In 2017, he joined bispecific antibody biotechnology company Crescendo Biologics as a Senior Scientist, leading therapeutic immuno-oncology programmes, and developing and embedding a bispecific discovery platform into the workflow. David was appointed Director of R&D at newly incorporated NovalGen in 2019, before being promoted to Vice President of R&D in 2021. He leads the R&D team with activities spanning from target identification and antibody discovery through to translational research and IND enabling studies.
VP Clinical Operations
Ms. Sarah Cook
Sarah Cook has 25 years’ experience in clinical trials, starting her career at ICON (Contract Research Organisation) monitoring data/investigational sites to all industry standards across many indications throughout Europe as a Contract Research Associate (CRA). After 7 years moving up though the various CRA roles, Sarah moved into project management, managing phase I to IV global studies/programs combining line management and project management duties over varied therapeutic areas and with multiple pharma clients. These roles lead to Sarah being involved in initiatives such as being part of a Partnership Team setting up an Operations Manual to be used by the client when working with CROs to ensure consistency/quality on all studies, attending various bid-defence meetings to discuss new studies with potential clients, mentoring junior staff and training internal team members.
After 19 years working in CRO’s, Sarah joined the biotechnology company Summit Therapeutics UK as a Senior Clinical Trial Manager on their phase III infectious disease program overseeing 28 countries and the in-house UK project management team. In 2019, Sarah organised and managed a suite of 7 successful investigator meetings in Australia, South Korea, through Europe, and the Americas, ensuring all investigational site staff were fully trained on the product and study protocol.
Sarah joined NovalGen in September 2020 as the Senior Director of Clinical Operations and was promoted to Vice President of Clinical Operations in 2022 leading the ongoing phase I study at NovalGen.
Sr. Director Strategy & Competitive Intelligence
Dr Magda Blanco
Dr. Magda Blanco has over 15 years’ Corporate Development experience in biotech, where she has worked in different leading roles in Program Management, Business Development, Business Operations, Commercialisation Affairs, Strategy and Competitive Intelligence.
With a MSc degree in Chemistry and a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology, Magda completed her academic training with a MBA at Instituto de Empresa (Madrid), one of the leading Business Schools in Spain.
After working in different biotech companies (PharmaMar, Cellerix, Antares Consulting) and one of the leading Public Research Institutions (CNIC – Spanish Centre for Cardiovascular Research) in Spain, Magda moved to London in 2013 to Join the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult as Programme Manager, followed by a Director of Strategy position at Freeline Therapeutics, where she was involved in the successful listing on the company in Nasdaq in august 2020.
Magda joined NovalGen in September 2021 as Director of Strategy and Competitive Intelligence.