Aidan Courtney - Executive Chair

Aidan has over 20 years’ experience of establishing and building companies in life science and other technology sectors. He has worked with the founders since before incorporation of MarraBio to develop the company’s strategy.

Aidan brings deep knowledge of the cell therapy and cell based drug discovery sectors having co-founded five companies in these fields. These include Roslin Cells (2006) and its two spin outs, Roslin CT and Censo Biotechnologies. In 2012/2013 while CEO of RC, he led the creation of the EBiSC consortium which consisted of 28 commercial and academic research partners across nine EU countries to create the European repository for induced Pluripotent Stem Cells with €22 million grant from the EU. He is currently Non-executive Chairman of the cell therapy company VascVersa which recent spun out from Queen’s University Belfast and is also an adviser to the IBMT Fraunhofer Institute in Berlin. Aidan has a degree in Economics from Cambridge University, a Masters degree in Innovation Technology Law from Edinburgh University and is a qualified accountant. He has served on numerous UK based industry advisory committees including the KTN Heath Advisory Committee.

Dr. Daniel Peters - CEO, co-CSO

Daniel has 7 years’ experience working on the Caf1 project and has published numerous papers on engineered and native Caf1, as both first and senior author. Working as a post-doctoral researcher in the Lakey laboratory, he has focussed on the design, engineering and characterisation of proteins.

Dan began his career at the University of York, completing his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry before staying on to complete a PhD, investigating the structural biology of protein/RNA complexes. A brief post-doctoral position studying engineered protein nanorods ignited his interest in protein engineering, after which he joined Prof. Jeremy Lakey’s group in Newcastle in 2015

Since 2020 Daniel has combined his academic research with commercialisation training. He has completed the "Future Founders" workshop, the BIA PULSE training programme, and the ICURe programme as an ECR in cohort 35.  The conclusion of his ICURe project was a recommendation by the expert panel that the Caf1 technology should be developed through a spin-our company. This aligns with Daniel’s own strong interest in the commercialisation of research, believing it to be the best way of translating discoveries from the lab bench and into society.

Prof. Jeremy Lakey - co-CSO

Prof. Lakey is Professor of Structural Biochemistry at Newcastle University and co-founder of Orla Protein Technologies Ltd. Throughout his career he has used his expertise in protein biophysical chemistry to develop new products. He has also collaborated closely with the bioprocessing industry to develop new analytical methods. The Caf1 project began in his laboratory with a focus on vaccine development before the surprise discovery that it is an excellent biomaterial. He has over 200 publications, 3 granted patents and an H-index of over 50. His experience of both the academic science and its commercial exploitation will prove invaluable for the project’s success.

Dr. Helen Waller - Head of Production

Dr. Waller has over 20 years’ experience in her current role as a Senior Research Technician and Laboratory Manager in the Lakey research group at Newcastle University and over 9 years hands on experience with the Caf1 project. She has been involved in many of their outstanding research projects and is author and co-author on over 40 publications. In her early career Helen worked in industry as a laboratory technician for Lamp Metals Ltd. after which she gained an 1st Class Honours Degree in Analytical Chemistry followed by a PhD in Biochemistry. Her expertise is in the scalable production and purification of proteins using bacterial fermentation and in recent years she has pioneered a scalable and cost efficient production and purification process for Caf1.