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CellCentric Ltd. Expands its Leadership Team

2/4/2009 2:08:09 PM

Newly appointed President and CSO, David Knowles, and Director of Discovery Research, Neil Pegg will drive CellCentric’s epigenetic target programmes into lead optimisation and beyond.

Rainbow Seed Fund investment CellCentric, the biotechnology company unlocking epigenetic control mechanisms, is expanding its leadership team further to capitalise on its multiple target and small molecule programmes.

The company is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr David Knowles as President and CSO and Dr Neil Pegg as Director of Discovery Research. They both join us from Piramed Pharma where they oversaw the development of small molecules in multiple programmes, including a major collaboration with Genentech. Piramed was subsequently acquired by Roche, returning over 8x return on investment for shareholders. CellCentric has demethylase, methyltransferase and ubiquitin-related targets amongst others that have come forward from the company’s discovery base: a worldwide network of relationships with over 20 leading laboratories in epigenetics.

David Knowles, 56, has built a successful career in the healthcare industry over 30 years, the last 10 in biotech. He has held senior R&D positions in Smithkline Beecham, both in the UK and US and has held numerous executive, non-exec and scientific advisory positions in European and Asian biotech companies. Neil Pegg, 46, also has experience of both large pharma and small biotech companies; from driving lead generation and optimisation teams at Glaxo through to senior positions at OSI and ReOx.

Commenting on the recent additions to the CellCentric team, Will West, Chief Executive said: ‘I am delighted that we have recruited discovery and development leaders of the calibre of David and Neil. They have the proven ability to build significant value into programmes at the pre-clinical stage.’

David Knowles added, ‘CellCentric is remarkable. Its extensive, global epigenetics discovery base gives it unique insights into a wide range of potential therapeutic targets which it has now translated into well defined and differentiated drug discovery programmes. I look forward to working as part of the CellCentric team, advancing these and additional programs into lead optimisation and beyond.’

Neil Pegg said ‘Epigenetics is continuing to prove a very hot space for Pharma, biotech and investors.

CellCentric has a strong position with multiple start points from which to take forward programmes that offer significant therapeutic potential for cancer as well as other areas. I too am looking forward to working with the CellCentric team and delivering these new and much needed drug candidates.’

About CellCentric

Based in Cambridge, UK, CellCentric is a biotechnology company focused on epigenetics. Since 2004 it has built tied relationships with over twenty world leading laboratories in epigenetics, predominantly in the US and Europe. The company has prioritised a series of novel targets for validation and is generating novel small molecule drugs, principally for cancer treatment.


About Rainbow Seed Fund

The £8.5m Rainbow Seed Fund was established in 2001 with funding from the Office of Science and Innovation to commercialise scientific research in a leading group of the UK publicly funded institutions, our partners. The Fund made its first investment in 2002 and has increased its partner base twice, in 2004 with the addition of BBSRC and in 2006 when 6 other leading research institutes joined the Fund.

The Fund invests at the earliest stages of a technology’s development, and helps to turn an idea into a business by supporting the management of the business and facilitating investment. Rainbow's partners spend over £1 billion on research and development every year giving the Fund privileged access to high quality investment propositions at the earliest stage.

Our close involvement at this level means that we are in a key position to identify the products with a commercial future and play an active role in the successful development of these technologies into products and businesses.

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