Executive Team     |     Scientific Advisors     |     Board of Directors

Our Story

Founded in 2012 by Dr. Shirley O’ Dea and Dr. Michael Maguire, Avectas’ highly experienced team of 23 is focused on vector-free delivery of advanced therapeutics, ex vivo. With cargo including mRNA and gene editing tools, the Avectas technology has demonstrated multiple advantages over viral and electroporation delivery. The Avectas team is ready to advance commercial partnerships with industry leaders in the clinical areas of CAR-T, gene editing and advanced drug delivery. 

Executive Team

Dr. Michael Maguire
Founder & Director, CEO
Dr. Maguire is President and CEO of Avectas, which he has led since its inception in 2012. He has 20 years of experience in the life sciences industry, serving as a founder, investor, director and business leader. Dr. Maguire graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, as a biomedical engineer and completed his PhD on local delivery to the lung. Dr. Maguire is focused on creating value by addressing challenges in delivery of advanced therapeutics.

Dr. Shirley O'Dea
Founder & Director, CSO
Dr. O’Dea co-founded Avectas in 2012 and is the company’s CSO. She is charged with overseeing scientific programs. Dr. O’Dea’s basic research provides a strong pipeline of applications for Avectas technology. Dr. O’Dea has previously served as a principal investigator with Johnson & Johnson and has led a large academic group specializing in lung biology at National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

Dr. Gillian Hendy
Head of Business Development
Dr. Hendy leads the Avectas business development team. She has broad commercial expertise including management of sales, marketing, commercialisation and long-term strategic planning for the Avectas product line. Dr. Hendy is a former postdoctoral fellow of Robert Langer and Daniel Anderson at MIT and obtained a PhD in Chemistry from Maynooth University. 

Scientific Advisors

Scientific Advisors Appointments
Prof. Mark Lowdell (Chair) UCL, Royal Free Hospital, London
Prof. Bruce L. Levine University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Evren Alici Karolinska Institute, Sweden
Dr. Karl Peggs UCL, University College Hospital, London

Professor Mark W. Lowdell (Chair)
UCL, Royal Free Hospital London
Professor Lowdell is the Director of Cellular Therapy at University College London (UCL) and runs the largest of the GMP production units with over 600m2 of manufacturing space. He is the qualified person (QP) for release of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs) for clinical trials. Initiating, as well as being involved in eight cell therapy trials at present, five of which are UK national trials. He has been an advisor to UK Government regulatory bodies on the regulation of ATMPs and is an accredited assessor for one of the UK Government departments. He has worked extensively on quality standards for ATMPs and is the UK National Representative to the board of JACIE, the professional body responsible for accreditation of haematotherapies across the EU. Professor Lowdell’s research is in the fields of immunotherapy of viral infections, tumor immunotherapy and advanced regenerative medicine.

Professor Bruce L. Levine
University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
Bruce Levine, Barbara and Edward Netter Professor in Cancer Gene Therapy, is the Founding Director of the Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility (CVPF) in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. He received a B.A. (Biology) from Penn and a Ph.D. in Immunology and Infectious Diseases from Johns Hopkins. First-in-human adoptive immunotherapy trials include the first use of a lentiviral vector, the first infusions of gene edited cells, and the first use of lentivirally-modified cells to treat cancer. Dr. Levine has overseen the production, testing and release of 3,000 cellular products administered to >1,200 patients in clinical trials since 1996. He is co-inventor of the first FDA approved gene therapy (Kymriah), chimeric antigen receptor T cells for leukemia and lymphoma, licensed to Novartis. Dr. Levine is co-inventor on 25 issued US patents and co-author of >160 manuscripts and book chapters with a Google Scholar citation h-index of 77. He is a Co-Founder of Tmunity Therapeutics, a spinout of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Levine is President Elect of the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy and serves on the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine. He has been interviewed by the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, Time Magazine, National Geographic, Forbes, BBC, and other international media outlets

Dr. Evren Alici
Karolinska Institute, Sweden
Dr. Evren Alici is an Assistant Professor of Hematology at Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden. He received his MD and did his residency at the Ege University. He received his Ph.D. in 2006 at Karolinska Institutet. His main research interest is natural killer cells, multiple myeloma, lentiviral and retroviral gene transfer, stem cell transplantation and immunology. He is a member of several international and national committees, advisory boards and scientific meetings. He has mentored many trainees, 3 PhD. students and 2 post docs.

Dr. Karl Peggs
UCL, University College Hospital, London
Karl Peggs is a Senior Lecturer in Stem Cell Transplantation and Immunotherapy at UCL and Honorary Consultant in Haematology/Transplantation at UCL Hospitals. He received his preclinical training and MA at Cambridge University, completing his clinical training at Oxford University Medical School. Following this qualification he completed general medical training at Addenbrookes Hospital Cambridge, and specialist haematology training at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford and subsequently UCLH, London. During this time, he spent three years in the research group of Professor Stephen Mackinnon, establishing adoptive cellular therapies for cytomegalovirus. After taking the position of Senior Lecturer at UCL in 2003, he spent 2 years at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute, New York, in the laboratory of Professor James Allison, studying murine models of regulatory checkpoint blockade. His research interests include immune reconstitution, pathogen-specific adoptive cellular therapies, and regulatory checkpoint-directed immunotherapeutics. He is member of the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research Clinical Trials Committee, a Trustee of the Teens Unite charity, and has contributed to several international working parties on infectious complications and relapse following stem cell transplantation. He is Chief Investigator for 4 UKCRN national studies investigating transplantation in Hodgkin Lymphoma and cellular therapies for cytomegalovirus.

Board of Directors

Board of Directors Background
Dr. Mary Martin Horizon, Vidara, AGI, Elan
Mr. Eunan Maguire Azur, Adapt, Jazz, King, Elan
Dr. Ann Brady Theravance Biopharma, Shire, Elan
Mr. Barry Leonard DCC Healthcare, Virtus
Mr. Barry Wohl Medtronic, IMS Health, Symbal, Macrolide

Dr. Mary Martin
Chair, Board of Directors
Dr. Martin, PhD has over 30 years’ experience in drug delivery technology, product development and commercialization. Most recently she has served as Senior Vice President Global Regulatory, Quality and R&D Project Management with Horizon Pharma. Dr. Martin has held senior leadership roles in Vidara Therapeutics, AGI Therapeutics and the drug delivery division of Elan. Dr. Martin holds a PhD in Pharmacology, a Diploma in company direction (Dip IoD) from the Institute of Directors and a Certified Diploma in Accounting and Finance (ACCA).

Mr. Eunan Maguire
Mr. Maguire co-founded Adapt Pharma and serves as its Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Maguire also served as Senior Vice President of Strategy & Corporate Development at Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc. Mr. Maguire served as the President of Azur Pharma, Inc. and was a Co-founder and President of North America Operations at Azur Pharma Public Limited Company. He was responsible for commercial, medical, legal and administrative activities in the US. Mr. Maguire also served as Senior Vice President of Corporate & Business Development of Azur Pharma Limited. He served as Vice President of Business Development at King Pharmaceuticals and as Vice President of Strategic Planning at Elan Corporation, plc. He has 17 years of experience in the identification, evaluation and execution of pharmaceutical transactions including asset acquisitions and divestments, capital market financing transactions, and corporate merger and acquisitions.

Dr. Ann Brady
Non-Executive Director

Dr Brady currently serves as President, Theravance Biopharma Ireland and a board member of An2H Discovery Ltd. Dr. Brady brings over 20 years experience in the bio-pharma industry through global roles in business development, alliance management, corporate strategy and commercial operations gained in both developed and emerging markets. Dr Brady served in senior executive roles at Shire, plc  and élan Corporation, plc.  Dr Brady holds a BA (Mod) Natural Sciences and a PhD (Chemistry) from Trinity College, Dublin and is a member of the Institute of Directors of Ireland (MIoD).

Mr. Barry Leonard
Non-Executive Director
Mr. Leonard is an Engineer, Entrepreneur and Company Director. He founded and led Virtus Ltd, an OEM medical devices manufacturer serving global brands including Hill-Rom, Smith & Nephew, Patterson Dental and KCI. At its peak, Virtus employed 250 highly skilled individuals between its Irish and US FDA approved manufacturing sites. Virtus was part-acquired by DCC plc. and ultimately sold to Hillenbrand Industries Inc. in 2014. Mr. Leonard brings a wealth of manufacturing, medical devices and corporate strategy experience to the board.

Mr. Barry Wohl
Non-Executive Director
Mr. Wohl has diverse operating and strategic planning experience in both the medical device and biopharma sectors. He is currently Senior Director of Alliances at Macrolide Pharmaceuticals, a venture-backed, preclinical-stage biopharma company. Prior to that role, he co-founded Symbal Therapeutics and led the company to sublicense its lead development candidate to a pharmaceutical partner. He has also worked with global biotech firms of all sizes and development stages as a strategy consultant with IMS Consulting Group and concurrently in a sell-side transaction advisory role with IMS Health Capital. He started his career with Medtronic, where he worked as a product design engineer and later as a global clinical trial lead. Barry holds degrees in biomedical and mechanical engineering, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.