Dr. Denise Scots-Knight Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Denise Scots-Knight

Chief Executive Officer

Denise is CEO, a board member and co-founder of Mereo. Denise has over 25 years’ experience in the biopharmaceutical industry in R&D management and venture capital. 

She was in R&D management at Amersham and Fisons and a senior executive at Scientific Generics before joining Rothschild Asset Management as an investment manager. In 1999 she joined Nomura and was a Managing Director leading the life science investments in biotechnology companies. She led the Phase4 Partners MBO from Nomura in 2010.

Denise had served on many US and European private and public boards. She is currently a board member of Elanco Animal Health Inc. Denise has a PhD and BSc (Hons) from Birmingham University and was a Fulbright scholar at UC Berkeley.

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Christine Fox Chief Financial Officer

Christine Fox

Chief Financial Officer

Christine is our Chief Financial Officer. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with more than 18 years of experience in financial operations & reporting, technical accounting and External Audit.

Prior to joining Mereo, Christine served as Group Financial Controller and Treasurer of Travelport, an international B2B platform company, where she managed a global financial operations team. Previously, Christine spent more than 10 years at KPMG in the U.S. and Switzerland, in positions of increasing responsibility, primarily focused on large multi-national clients reporting under U.S. GAAP and IFRS across a wide variety of industries, including the pharmaceutical & biotech industries.

Ms. Fox received her B.Sc. in Accounting from Butler University, Indianapolis, USA.

Charles Sermon General Counsel

Charles Sermon

General Counsel

Charles is our General Counsel, Company Secretary and a co-founder of Mereo.

He has over 20 years’ experience in corporate law and biopharmaceuticals.

He started his career as a corporate lawyer at Freshfields before joining Nomura as an Associate Director in 1998 where he worked for Nomura’s life science investment team investing globally in biotechnology companies.

Charles was part of Phase4 Partners’ MBO from Nomura in 2010.  

Charles has an LLB (Hons) from Hull University.

Dr. Alastair MacKinnon Chief Portfolio Management and Pipeline Strategy

Dr. Alastair MacKinnon

Chief Portfolio Management and Pipeline Strategy

Alastair is our Chief Portfolio Management and Pipeline Strategy and a co-founder of Mereo. He was Chief Medical Officer of Mereo from July 2015 until December 2020. Prior to Mereo, he was a Partner at for Phase4 Partners, a global life science venture capital firm. He was also involved in Phase4’s MBO in 2010 having originally joined Nomura in 2005.

Before Nomura, he was a practising physician in the UK for 10 years. Alastair received a BSc and MBBS from King’s College London, is a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (MRCS) and has a Diploma in Corporate Finance from the London Business School. Alastair is a board member of Phase4 Partners.

John Richard Chief Business Officer

John Richard

Chief Business Officer

John is our Chief Business Officer and a co-founder of Mereo. Prior to Mereo, he worked with the co-founders at Nomura then Phase4 Partners since 2000. He has significant corporate, operational and transactional experience, having served in various executive, director and advisory roles throughout his career. 

Previously, he was Executive VP Business Development at SEQUUS, where he was responsible for negotiating SEQUUS’ acquisition by ALZA. John also headed business development for VIVUS and Genome Therapeutics; where he established numerous alliances. John holds a MBA from Harvard Business School and BS from Stanford University.

Wills Hughes-Wilson Chief Patient Access and Commercial Planning

Wills Hughes-Wilson

Chief Patient Access and Commercial Planning

Wills is our Chief Patient Access and Commercial Planning. Prior to Mereo, she was Chief Patient Access Officer at Swedish Orphan Biovitrum (Sobi), where she led the company’s go-to-market commercialization approach on pricing, reimbursement and access teams. Prior to Sobi, Wills was Vice President Health and Market Access Policy at Genzyme Corporation (acquired by Sanofi), securing in-market availability for the company’s orphan drug, rare disease and advanced therapies product portfolio. She has served as Industry Coordinator on the E.U. Commission’s Committee of Experts on Rare Diseases and Industry lead on the EMA’s Committee for Orphan Medicinal Products (COMP) Working Group with Interested Parties. Wills holds a B.A. in Law and Politics from the University of Durham, U.K.

Dr. John Lewicki Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. John Lewicki

Chief Scientific Officer

John joined Mereo as Chief Scientific Officer in July 2020. He has over 35 years of experience in the biotechnology industry.

John was President, CEO and a board member of OncoMed Pharmaceuticals Inc. from March 2018 to April 2019. He joined as Senior Vice President of Research and Development in 2004 before assuming additional leadership roles.

Previously, John served as Vice President of Research, at Scios Incwhere he co-discovered human B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP). John contributed to development of BNP into an FDA-approved treatment (Natrecor) for acute congestive heart failure.

John received his PhD from the University of California, San Diego. He has co-authored over 80 papers and is co-inventor on over 30 issued US patents.

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Dr. Jackie Parkin SVP and Therapeutic Head

Dr. Jackie Parkin

SVP and Therapeutic Head

Jackie is our SVP and Therapeutic Head, leading clinical development of alvelestat for alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) lung disease and collaborations for studies in COVID-19 and Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome (BOS). She is also responsible for acumapimod in AECOPD and leflutrozole in male hypogonadism.

Jackie previously served as Vice President for Clinical Development at GlaxoSmithKline, leading immuno-inflammatory and infectious diseases. Prior to GSK, Jackie was a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Immunology at the St Bartholomew's and Royal London Hospital, caring for patients with HIV infection. This experience fuelled her passion for potential for research, and development to deliver medicines that can improve people’s lives.

Dr. Ann Kapoun SVP of Translational Research and Development

Dr. Ann Kapoun

SVP of Translational Research and Development

Ann is our SVP of Translational Research & Development. Ann has over two decades of leadership in Research & Development, having advanced more than 10 drug discoveries into IND and through early clinical development.

Prior to joining Mereo, Ann served as SVP of R&D at ESCAPE Bio. Previously, Ann was SVP of Translational Medicine at OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, where she oversaw the transition of the company’s drug discoveries into the clinic and executed multiple science-driven clinical biomarker programs. Ann earlier held scientific leadership roles at ALZA Pharmaceuticals and Scios Inc., a biopharma unit of Johnson & Johnson.

Ann received her PhD at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Indiana University and has co-authored more than 50 scientific publications and patents.

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Heidi Petersen SVP Regulatory Affairs

Heidi Petersen

SVP Regulatory Affairs

Heidi is our SVP Regulatory Affairs. Prior to joining Mereo, Heidi was VP Regulatory Affairs at Kartos Therapeutics following a period as VP Regulatory Affairs at Immune Design (acquired by Merck), where she provided global regulatory strategy on the company’s immuno-oncology programs. Previously, Heidi held a similar role at BN-Immunotherapeutics (acquired by Bavarian Nordic) and business development and regulatory affairs positions with Pharmacyclics (acquired by AbbVie); Chiron Corporation (acquired by Novartis) and ALZA Corporation (acquired by Johnson & Johnson) Heidi has also served as an independent regulatory consultant, providing expert services to a broad range of biotech and pharma clients across a spectrum of therapeutic areas.

Heidi holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University and a BSc in Biology from Tulane University, Louisiana.

Dr. Suba Krishnan SVP Clinical Development

Dr. Suba Krishnan

SVP Clinical Development

Suba joined Mereo in December 2020 from Genmab, where, as Global Program Head Immuno-Oncology, she led cross-functional teams in the strategy and execution of multiple first-in-class bispecific antibodies. Over her industry career, she has held positions of increasing scope, working across all stages of drug development, to evaluate PARP-inhibitors, ADCs and IO agents, and filing for approvals of nivolumab in second-line bladder cancer and pembrolizumab in small cell lung cancer. 

Earlier, Suba was Assistant Professor, Pediatric Hematology, Columbia University, and held the prestigious Sickle Cell Scholar position at Thomas Jefferson University. 

Suba completed her MBBS at the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, India and trained in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Columbia University. 

As physician or drug developer, she has remained fiercely committed to the bench-to-bedside ideal, harnessing scientific research for the improvement of patient outcomes.

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Bo Kara SVP and Head of Pharmaceutical Development

Bo Kara

SVP and Head of Pharmaceutical Development

Bo is our Senior Vice President, Head of Pharmaceutical Development & CMC. Prior to joining Mereo, Bo was VP Process Development/CMC at Evox Therapeutics. With over 30 years’ experience, Bo is a CMC expert, with extensive experience in a range of protein, viral vector and cell therapies.

A recognized leader in the sector, Bo has previously led Cell & Gene Therapy at GSK as Head of Process Development; and as Director Science & Technology Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies.

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