Healx, the Cambridge (UK) technology company developing breakthrough treatments for rare diseases, today announces the appointment of Dr Neil Thompson, PhD, as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO).
Neil will spearhead the expansion of the drug discovery and development team at Healx, as the Company continues its growth as a leading AI-powered, next-generation biopharmaceutical company. Healx is pioneering in that it takes a patient-first approach and integrates AI, deep pharmacology expertise, and patient engagement to intelligently match treatments to disease patients.
Neil brings over 30 years of experience in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries and a strong background working across a breadth of disease areas. Across his three-decades-long career, he has been involved in progressing more than 10 drugs into patients and has led a number of drug discovery projects across a variety of therapeutic areas (cardiovascular, neurology, inflammation and oncology).
Neil was Senior Vice President of Biology at Astex Pharmaceuticals for 15 years, a Cambridge, UK-based biopharmaceutical company, leading the biology and pre-clinical teams whose work has resulted in 2 new cancer drugs reaching the market in the last two years: Kisqali (targeted for breast cancer) which came to market through Novartis in 2017; and Balversa (first targeted drug for bladder cancer) which gained market approval this year for J&J’s Janssen.
Since leaving Astex in 2017, Neil has been working as a consultant advising biotech companies from around the globe on their drug discovery and development strategies. His earlier career included Director of the Immunology Platform at multinational pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), where his area of primary responsibility was specialist cellular and molecular immunology employed in the drug development process.
Neil is Deputy Chair of the UK MRC DPFS panel and Chair of the MRC CLD/ADI committee, has authored more than 40 publications and patents, and sits on the advisory boards of several scientific institutions in the UK. He received his doctorate in Biochemistry from Kings College London.
At Healx, Neil will take on the task of building and leading a drug discovery team in-house to take drugs from prediction through to the clinical stage.
Commenting on his appointment, Dr Neil Thompson, CSO of Healx, said: “Healx’s novel approach of using AI to start with the patient as opposed to a target, is what first drew me to the company. I am excited to bring my experience to this leading AI-powered biotech that is helping patients with rare diseases. I am tremendously proud of the accomplishments to date, notably those I made during my time at Astex, and look forward to drawing on those experiences to build a team of dynamic, forward-thinking scientists, as we work to achieve our goal of progressing treatments to the clinic that can make a real difference to lives of patients.”
Dr Tim Guilliams, Healx’s Co-Founder and CEO added: “Healx is rapidly developing as a leading AI-powered biotech and I am pleased that Dr Neil Thompson, who is a world-class drug discovery expert, will lead our drug discovery and development team. Neil has an impressive track record in both large and smaller drug companies. With his expertise in drug discovery and extensive experience in leadership roles at successful organisations like Astex, Neil will be a major driver in building a pioneering team specialising in harnessing the power of AI and big data to discover treatments for rare diseases.”
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Healx Limited is a biotech company focused on accelerating the discovery of treatments for rare diseases. To achieve this, Healx have developed Healnet, an AI-powered drug discovery platform featuring the world’s most comprehensive knowledge graph of rare disease data.
Healnet integrates AI, deep pharmacology expertise and patient group insight to intelligently match treatments to rare diseases. This approach makes it possible to translate therapies into the clinic within 24 months, significantly reducing the time, cost and risk associated with traditional drug discovery methods.
There are 7,000 known rare diseases that affect 350 million people worldwide. One in 17 people on the planet suffer from a rare disease. In aggregate, rare diseases are not rare, yet 95% of these diseases still do not have an approved treatment. Healx aims to translate 100 rare disease treatments towards the clinic by 2025.
Healx was founded in 2014 by Dr Tim Guilliams, a Bio-Chemical Engineer and founder of the Cambridge Rare Disease Network (CRDN) and Dr David Brown, the co-inventor of Viagra and ex-Global Head of Drug Discovery at Roche.
Healx most recently featured in the ‘Telegraph Tech Hot 100’ list for 2019 and in Pharma Tech Outlook’s ‘Top 10 AI Solution Providers – 2019’ and was selected in the global ‘Disrupt 100’ list in 2017.
Issued for and on behalf of Healx by Instinctif Partners.