Our Board

Hadyn Parry

Hadyn is an entrepreneur in the Life Science sector. He is Non Executive Chair of PBL, Moa Technology and Lettus Grow and also mentor to start-up companies in the Agritech sector. Prior to that he led Oxitec, the pioneer of insect-based biological control for both agriculture and public health, through its early years to its sale in 2015, for $160m to Intrexon Corporation. Hadyn was also Chair of the UK Charity HelpforHeroes from its foundation in 2007 through to 2013. Before moving across into the start-up arena, Hadyn worked within crop protection and seeds markets where he held various positions, including General Manager of Zeneca Plant Sciences and European Director and Global Head of R&D for Advanta, one of the world’s largest seed companies.

Dr Catherine Beech OBE

Dr Catherine Beech OBE is a physician entrepreneur who focuses on start-up companies in the life sciences sector. She was European Medical director in a global pharmaceutical company leaving in 1999 to co-founded Cambridge Gateway Fund, an early-stage fund that invested primarily in spinouts from UK Universities. She then founded Aitua, a seed investment company to invest in spinouts from the BBSRC.

Catherine has invested in and sat as a non-executive director of 12 early-stage companies helping them to grow and, in some cases, achieve successful IPO’s or trade sales. She currently is a co-founder and CEO of Exonate a biotech company working on therapies to treat retinal vascular diseases.

As a member of the Technology Strategy Board, Catherine was instrumental in supporting the UK government to define the UK strategy for Life Sciences. In 2007 she was awarded an OBE for Services to Technology and Innovation.

Dr Johan Cardoen

Johan Cardoen is an independent life sciences entrepreneur and advisor. He was, from 2012 to 2020, managing director of VIB, the leading life science research institution based in Gent, Belgium. Johan was responsible for VIB’s Innovation and Business Team and represented VIB on the board of several biotech companies. Johan Cardoen was also until July 2020 chairman of the LP Board of V-Bio Ventures, a dedicated life sciences investment fund, which is focused on early-stage investments in life sciences. He held various independent board positions in companies such as Argenix BV from 2008-2011, Applied-Maths (now bioMérieux) from 2010-2016 and GST from 2019-2020 (Global Stem Cell Technologies, now Boehringer Ingelheim). In addition, he was Chairman of Flandersbio, the umbrella organization for the life sciences and biotechnology sector in the region of Flanders from 2007 until May 2012.

Currently, he is independent chairman of Meiogenix (an Institut Curie spin-off, FR) and board member at Biotalys (BE, publicly listed), Complix (BE), Protealis (BE) and Aphea.bio (BE). He is also an advisor to V-Bio Ventures and Astanor Ventures.

Formerly, he was CEO of CropDesign N.V., whose acquisition by BASF in June 2006 was led by Johan. Prior to joining CropDesign (July 1999), Johan was Global Head Technology Acquisition of AgrEvo Hoechst Schering/Aventis (now Bayer CropScience). From 1988 until 1999 he was at the pioneering agbiotech company Plant Genetic Systems (PGS). Johan Cardoen received his Ph.D. in biology from KU Leuven, Belgium in 1987 and a business degree, also from KU Leuven, in 1990.

Dr Jan Chojecki

Jan joined PBL in 1997 and has been Managing Director since 1998. Prior to joining the company, he had been at Zeneca Seeds (later Syngenta) for eleven years, following a PhD at the Plant Breeding Institute, Cambridge and post-doctoral position at the Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen. He has served in the boards of several spin out companies formed by PBL, and was scientific advisor to the Cambridge Gateway Fund. He is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Dr Karen Lewis

Karen is Executive Director, Capability and Innovation at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). BBSRC is a non-departmental public body, and is the largest UK public funder of non-medical bioscience. It predominantly funds scientific research institutes and university research departments in the UK. BBSRC is a one-third shareholder of PBL (since 2004).

Dr Karen Lewis studied for a degree in biology and PhD in microbiology. Before joining BBSRC, she worked in commercial research and development with both a small biotechnology company and a large corporate one. Karen has extensive experience within BBSRC, and the research councils in a broad range of research and innovation strategy areas. She has held a number of senior roles in what is now the BBSRC Capability and Innovation domain, including leading BBSRC business engagement activities, and establishing a knowledge exchange and commercialisation team.

Prof Nick Talbot

Nick is Executive Director of The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, where he also a research group leader. Prior to leading The Sainsbury Laboratory, Nick was Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Impact at the University of Exeter, having also been Head of the University’s School of Biosciences since 2004.

The Sainsbury Laboratory is a one-third shareholder of PBL, having founded the company in 1995 (through the Gatsby Charitable Foundation) jointly with The John Innes Centre.

Dave Foreman

Dave is Chief Operating Officer at the John Innes Centre, responsible for leading, developing, and co-ordinating JIC’s operational strategy and providing advice and guidance to ensure the development and smooth running of the institute. Dave is the programme lead on the £390m Next Generation Infrastructure / HP  investment, which will deliver new cutting-edge, world-class facilities for JIC and The Sainsbury Laboratory. 

Dave is a qualified Chartered Accountant and prior to joining JIC he was Finance Director for the Norwich Bioscience Institutes and held senior roles in industry, Mergers & Acquisitions and Audit & Advisory.

The John Innes Centre is a one-third shareholder of PBL, having been a co-founder of the company in 1995.