Oxford Science Enterprises, the Science Business Builder and preferred intellectual property partner of the University of Oxford, has announced the completion of its strengthened senior leadership team with the appointment of four significant, recent hires: Katya Smirnyagina Ph.D., Senior Partner (Life Sciences), Alexis Zervoglos, Senior Partner (Tech), Dr. Ceri Morgan, Head of Late Stage Portfolio, and Sarah Shackelton, Chief Talent Officer.
Alongside Alexis Dormandy, Chief Executive Officer, and Jim Wilkinson, Chief Financial Officer, the team provide a breadth of scientific, business building, operational, talent management, and investment expertise across both the Life Sciences and Technology sectors.
Katya Smirnyagina and Alexis Zervoglos lead the Life Sciences and Technology investment teams respectively, identifying cutting-edge science and technology from Oxford’s world-leading academics and driving investments, creation of new enterprises and the scale up of existing businesses.
Ceri Morgan draws on over 20 years of public market experience to provide strategic counsel to the CEOs and boards, particularly the later stage companies. Sarah Shackelton’s focus is to expand Oxford Science Enterprises’ international network and attract outstanding executive and non-executive talent to the enterprises to build high performing leadership teams and boards.
Together they will steer Oxford Science Enterprises into its next chapter, working to maximise the global impact of Oxford’s science.
Alexis Dormandy, Chief Executive Officer, who joined from leading European venture capital firm Atomico in January 2022, said: “I am extremely proud to welcome Katya, Alexis, Ceri and Sarah to the team.
“People are the single most important asset to the success of a business. Over the last year we have added +100 years of investment experience to our senior leadership alone, along with a further 15 new hires across the team.
“Each individual contributes a wealth of skills that will help to maximise the impact of our business, and more importantly support our academic founders and enterprises to achieve their goals.”
Katya Smirnyagina, Senior Partner for Life Sciences, added:
“The University of Oxford is home to world-leading centres of excellence for biomedical and clinical research, providing a vast pipeline of opportunities for life science investment and company creation.
“I look forward to working with our team to build ambitious companies that can improve the lives of patients worldwide.”
Alexis Zervoglos, Senior Partner for Tech, said: “As a founder of a deep tech Oxford spinout myself I have been through the highs and the lows of building high tech businesses.
“It is a privilege to support Oxford’s world-class academics and entrepreneurs, without whom the science and the enterprises would not exist, and to draw on my own experiences to help scale our companies for success.”
Katya Smirnyagina Ph.D., Senior Partner, Life Sciences.
Katya joined in September 2021 from Capricorn Partners, bringing over two decades of investment experience, including time spent at the Life Science investment team at Alta Partners.
She has a global network across the Life Sciences, finance, and healthcare industries. Her investment skillset ranges from company formation to late stage investing, and she has a successful track record, including leading the Series B investment in Ablynx, acquired by Sanofi, and HalioDx recently acquired by Veracyte.
Katya currently represents Oxford Science Enterprises on the boards of MiroBio and SpyBiotech.
Alexis Zervoglos, Senior Partner, Technology.
Alexis joined in February 2021 after the successful exit of a London- and California-based tech company he led as CEO.
With an early background in finance, he brings over two decades of company creation, operating, and investment expertise. He co-founded his first company, Opsys Limited, a spinout from Oxford University, to pioneer OLED display technology.
The business later merged with CDT and was listed on the Nasdaq. Since then, he has built a number of technology companies across deep tech, AI/machine learning and health tech, in both the UK and USA.
Alexis currently represents Oxford Science Enterprises on the boards of Ultromics and Caristo Diagnostics.
Ceri Morgan, Head of Late Stage Portfolio.
Ceri joined in August 2021 from Numis Securities, bringing over two decades of investment experience on the public sell side.
She was ranked #1 by UK investors from 2009 to 2019 and drove the Healthcare & Life Science franchises at Numis to become ranked #1 in the UK both for investor ratings and the number of corporate advisory clients.
Ceri has extensive experience in both primary and secondary fund raisings for the UK healthcare and Life Science sectors.
Sarah Shackelton, Chief Talent Officer
Sarah joined in January 2022 from Abingworth, bringing over two decades of experience building the boards and senior leadership teams of innovative, fast growth companies.
She advised VC-backed and public biotech and MedTech companies as Partner for Marketing and Talent at Abingworth, having previously led search and assessment mandates for the Life Sciences, PE/VC, and technology teams at a number of global and boutique search firms.
Sarah began her career as a US Government economist and trade negotiator working within the computer and pharmaceutical industries.
Oxford Sciences Innovation is an early-stage venture capital firm with over $800 million in Assets Under Management.
Since 2015, it has received an automatic stake in all Oxford University science spinouts – more than 100 businesses founded by over 200 of Oxford’s leading academics.
It has taken a leading role in creating and building over 70 of these, adding +55,000 sq ft of lab & start-up space to support them. Today its businesses are worth over £2bn and have created +2,000 jobs.