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PhoreMost is building on a strong heritage of developing novel technologies and performing research into new and improved personalised medicines. The two founders; Chris Torrance and Ashok Venkitaraman, have pursued parallel careers in industry and academia, respectively, and are now joining forces to bring the best of both these worlds together, both internally and in global collaborative partnerships, to address a wide range of unmet disease that now have known causes, but to date no new targeted therapies on the horizon.

Chris Torrance, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

Dr Chris Torrance is a cancer researcher and entrepreneur. In 2007 he founded Horizon Discovery to translate advances in human genome editing into a range of research tools and services to accelerate the discovery of new and improved Personalized Medicines, including the identification of novel drug targets for pharmaceutical development. By 2014 Dr Torrance and his colleagues had built Horizon into the fastest growing Biotech company in the UK. In the same year, the company listed on the London Stock Exchange with over 100 commercial and scientific staff and significant deal-flow with the pharmaceutical Industry, for which Horizon received the Queens Award for International Trade in 2012.  

Previously, Dr Torrance was Head of Oncology and Biology at the UK Biotechnology company Vernalis PLC (LSE: VER), where he was responsible for progressing several novel kinase oncology programs.  

Dr Torrance has a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Technology from Sheffield Polytechnic; a PhD in Biochemistry from East Carolina University (U.S.A) and completed Post-Doctoral training in the laboratory of Professor Bert Vogelstein at the Johns Hopkins University (U.S.A), where he pioneered the use of X-MAN isogenic disease models in high-throughput screening and drug discovery.

Ashok Venkitaraman, MA, MB BS, PhD, FMedSci

Chief Scientific Officer

Ashok is the Ursula Zoellner Professor of Cancer Research at the University of Cambridge, and the Director of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Cancer Unit there. He is a physician-scientist who qualified in medicine at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India, before completing his Ph.D. at University College London, and his postdoctoral work at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. Ashok’s first faculty position was also at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, before his election as the inaugural holder of the Zoellner Professorship. 

Ashok is internationally recognized for his contributions to understanding the genetics and biology of cancer, particularly in elucidating the impact of genome instability in carcinogenesis and cancer therapy. His research has not only illuminated the fundamental mechanisms governing genome repair, replication and segregation during cell division, but has also provided insight into their connections with cancer pathogenesis and treatment. 

Translation of these insights to clinical practice is a major focus in Ashok’s current work. He leads a multidisciplinary initiative in Cambridge that aims to pioneer new approaches for chemical biology and the development of small-molecule therapeutics against cancer. He directs the Centre for Chemical Biology and Therapeutics at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, which mirrors these aims. Ashok has worked extensively with industry, and for over a decade, has held scientific advisory board appointments with companies advancing biologic (eg., Cambridge Antibody Technology/MedImmune) or small-molecule therapies (eg., Astex, Sentinel Oncology) for cancer.

Ashok has been elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, London, and a Member of the EMBO European academy, Heidelberg. 

Jonathan Milner, PhD

Chairman of the Board

Jonathan, Founder and currently Deputy Chairman of Abcam plc, is an experienced entrepreneur and investor and is passionate about supporting UK life science and high-tech start-ups. He has provided considerable investment and support to over 30 companies and has assisted three technology companies to IPO on the London AIM Stock exchange.

Jonathan gained his doctorate in Molecular Genetics at Leicester University after graduating in Applied Biology at Bath. From 1992–95, he was a post-doctoral researcher at Bath, following which he worked at the University of Cambridge in the lab of Professor Tony Kouzarides studying cancer. He identified the market opportunity for supplying high-quality antibodies to support protein interaction studies, and in 1998, founded Abcam with David Cleevely and Professor Tony Kouzarides.

Jonathan is Deputy Chairman of Abcam plc, a non-executive director of Horizon Discovery, Frontier Developments and GeoSpock. He is also Chairman of Axol Bioscience Ltd and PhoreMost Ltd.

Hermann Hauser, KBE, CBE FRS FREng FInstP

Board Member

In 2015 Hermann was awarded an KBE for services to Engineering and Industry.

Serial Entrepreneur and Co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, Dr Hermann Hauser CBE has wide experience in developing and financing companies in the information technology sector. He co-founded a number of high-tech companies including Acorn Computers which spun out ARM, E-trade UK, Virata and Cambridge Network. Subsequently Hermann became vice president of research at Olivetti. During his tenure at Olivetti, he established a global network of research laboratories. Since leaving Olivetti, Hermann has founded over 20 technology companies. In 1997, he co-founded Amadeus Capital Partners. At Amadeus he invested in CSR, Solexa, Icera, Xmos and Cambridge Broadband.

Hermann is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Institute of Physics and of the Royal Academy of Engineering and an Honorary Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. In 2001 he was awarded an Honorary CBE for ‘innovative service to the UK enterprise sector’. In 2004 he was made a member of the Government’s Council for Science and Technology and in 2013 he was made a Distinguished Fellow of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT. 

Hermann has honorary doctorates from the Universities of Loughborough, Bath, Anglia Ruskin and The University of Strathclyde.

Jeff Roix

Chief Operating Officer

Jeff joined PhoreMost Ltd as Chief Operating Officer at its inception in 2015, with over a decade of experience in academic, industrial and venture settings.  Prior to PhoreMost, Jeff was an Associate at BioMed Valley Discoveries Inc., with responsibilities across various stages of preclinical and clinical research in a fully virtual development start-up, including key leadership in the translational development of BVD-523, a first-in-class ERK kinase inhibitor undergoing Ph1/2 clinical studies for cancer therapy.

Prior to BioMed Valley, Jeff was employed at Constellation Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, MIT’s Center for Cancer Research and the National Cancer Institute.  His experience is highlighted by diverse publications in basic and applied research of genetics, pharmacology and oncology.  Jeff received his BA from the Harvard Extension School.