Executive Team     |     Scientific Advisors     |     Board of Directors

Executive Team

Founded in 2012 by Dr. Shirley O’ Dea and Dr. Michael Maguire, Avectas’ highly experienced team of 25 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. 


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. Daniel Anderson MIT, Koch Institute, Langer Laboratory
Dr. Paul Burke Principal, Burke Bioventures LLC. Pfizer, Merck, Amgen
Prof. Roy Curry UC Davis, Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology
Dr. Ben Kleinstiver Harvard Medical School, Mass General Hospital
Prof. Mark Lowdell UCL, Royal Free Hospital, London

Professor Daniel G. Anderson
MIT, The Koch Institute, Langer Laboratory
Professor Anderson is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering, a member of the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, and the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. He received his PhD in molecular genetics from the University of California at Davis. At MIT, he pioneered the use of robotic methods for the development of smart bio-materials for drug delivery and medical devices. His work has led to the first method of quick synthesis, formulation, analysis, and biological evaluation of large libraries of bio-materials for use in medical devices, cell therapy and drug delivery. In particular, the advanced drug delivery systems he has developed provide new methods for nano-particulate drug delivery, non-viral gene therapy, siRNA delivery and vaccines.

Dr. Paul Burke
Burke Bioventures LLC
Dr. Burke is Principal of Burke Bioventures LLC, where he brings two decades of experience launching and leading R&D programs for transforming discovery and preclinical pipelines. He was formerly the founding head of Pfizer’s Global Center of Excellence for targeted drug delivery and imaging, and Chief Technology Officer of Pfizer’s Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Unit. Prior to that he was Executive Director, RNA Therapeutics at Merck & Co. where he led delivery R&D, charged with developing enabling technologies for maximizing value from the company’s $1.1B acquisition of Sirna Therapeutics. Dr. Burke joined Merck following a decade-long tenure at Amgen, where he held positions of increasing responsibility including his most recent as Executive Director, Pharmaceutics. In this role he launched initiatives for extending product lines (including Aranesp® and Neulasta®) and for integrating drug delivery in the discovery pipeline, with a focus on enablement of new therapeutic classes. Prior to Amgen Dr. Burke held staff scientist positions at Alkermes and Mitsubishi Kasei (now Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma).

Professor Roy Curry
UC Davis, California
Professor Curry is a Professor Emeritus of UC Davis School of Medicine. He received his PhD in Physiology from Monash University in Australia. At UC Davis, he focused his research on theoretical and experimental studies of the regulation of the transport of water and solutes across the wall of microvessels. Professor Curry has published over 140 peer reviewed scientific publications. He has received numerous honors and awards including the Distinguished Professor University of California, Davis, Foreign Member of the Norwegian National Academy of Science and Letters, Established Investigator of the American Heart Association and the NIH MERIT award, among others.

Dr. Ben Kleinstiver
Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital
Since joining the Scientific Advisory Board in early 2016, Dr. Kleinstiver has been working with Avectas to develop the intracellular delivery platform as it relates to genome editing applications. He is an Instructor at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Dr. Kleinstiver’s research interests lie in understanding and improving the utility and safety of genome editing tools. His current work is focused on optimizing, altering, and defining the specificities of CRISPR-Cas nucleases. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Western University, Canada, and currently holds a Banting Fellowship as well as a Charles A. King Trust Fellowship.

Professor Mark W. Lowdell
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.

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
Director
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.