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30 Women Leaders in UK Healthcare (part 2)

Part two of our list of thirty women leaders 11-20

30 Women Leaders in UK Healthcare

11. Jackie Hunter, CEO, BenevolentBio

Jackie Hunter

Jackie Hunter is a hugely experienced drug discovery scientist who is now championing the use of AI to transform pharma R&D.

She made major scientific contributions to neuroscience R&D within the pharmaceutical industry at GlaxoSmithkline, and also championed the vision for the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst and theEuropean Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).

This drive towards opening research to new influences and insights led her to become joint CEO of BenevolentBio in 2016, a company dedicated to accelerating drug discovery with machine learning, using platforms such as deep learning linguistic models, knowledge graphs and algorithms.

The company is still in the early stages of proving its technology, and recently signed a deal to work with a group of charities for the blind aimed at discovering new treatments for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Jackie is convinced BenevolentBio can produce compelling data from its ongoing studies. In the meantime, she is challenging not just the accepted ways of conducting drug discovery, but also some of the male behaviour that can mar the working environment. She recently told the Financial Times that she regularly challenges male behaviour, no matter how trivial, including anything which will subtly but definitely exclude women from advancement, saying “it’s those little things that make a big difference”.

This is her way of attempting to help speed up cultural change in the male-dominated tech industry. She is adamant that women must consider careers in technology because the field “is going to transform the way we do so many different things”.

12. Dr Amanda Begley, Director of Innovation and Implementation at UCLPartners

Amanda Begley

Dr Amanda Begley is Director of Innovation and Implementation at UCLPartners, one of England’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) that help the NHS to deliver innovation at scale to benefit patients and the wider population.

Amanda is focused on increasing the pace of innovation diffusion in the NHS, using ‘patient pull’ and ‘peer-to-peer horizontal’ approaches – or in other words, anything other than top-down. Among the projects she has completed at UCLPartners was working as a GSK Fellow, looking to encourage collaborative solutions between pharma, academia and the NHS to achieve better outcomes for patients.

Her focus is to build partnerships and expertise to deliver innovation at scale and pace for patient and NHS benefit.

She is co-Founder and national Director lead for the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA), which is delivered as a partnership between NHS England and the country’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks, hosted at UCLPartners.

She has been selected as one of the NHS70 Women Leaders, is a Fellow at the Centre for the Advancement of Sustainable Medical Innovation (CASMI), and a Non-Executive Director of RCGP’s Innovation and Research Board.

Following her PhD, Amanda joined the NHS as an Assistant and Trainee Clinical Psychologist. She has worked as a commissioner and senior manager across primary, community and secondary care, and as Head of Innovation at London’s Strategic Health Authority.

13. Jen Hyatt, CEO and founder, Big White Wall

Jen Hyatt

Jen Hyatt is the woman behind Big White Wall, a digital behavioural health service that provides personalised support and recovery pathways for people with mental health problems.

While mental health is one of the biggest burgeoning problems facing the world, few digital interventions have been proven to be effective. Big White Wall is an exception to this, with numerous studies showing it has had a positive impact on users’ well-being.

This has led the NHS to identify the company as a High Impact Innovation that it hopes can meet the needs of patients that cannot be met by an overstretched health service.

14.  Professor Melissa Hanna-Brown, Associate Research Fellow, Pfizer UK

Prof Melissa Hanna-Brown

For an industry focused on discovering and marketing groundbreaking medicines, pharma still struggles with adopting innovative working practices.

Many big pharma companies are now looking to address these issues – and Pfizer UK’s Professor Hanna-Brown is a leader in  this movement. Based at Pfizer’s UK research centre in Sandwich, Kent, Melissa is  part of Pfizer’s Technology & Innovation team. She and her colleagues work closely with external organisations to bring the best technologies and organisations together to accelerate medicines development timelines.

She is also playing an active role in promoting gender parity and Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) at her company. Writing in Pfizer’s 2018 Gender Pay Gap Report, Professor Hanna-Brown commented: “To sustain and promote our inclusive culture, we need everyone to play a part. We want to see every UK colleague setting a D&I goal in 2018. This will help us collectively achieve a level playing field for all colleagues. It’s the right thing to do socially, morally and for the success  of our company.”

15. Dr Sarah Woollaston, MP, Chairman, Health Select Committee

Woollaston is one of Westminster’s most influential MPs, chair of two key groups, the Liaison Committee and the Health Select Committee.

Having served as a doctor for 20 years in the NHS, Woollaston entered Parliament in 2010, and has proven herself willing to stand up to her own Conservative government on matters of principle. As Chair of the Health Select Committee, she raised concerns about the NHS sharing confidential patient data with immigration officials, eventually forcing NHS Digital to end the practice.

Originally pro-Brexit, Woollaston swapped sides before the referendum, and has since become highly critical of the government’s approach to Brexit. She has led numerous inquiries into its likely impact on health and life sciences, and also defied personal and misogynist abuse for taking a stand on numerous issues, including being one of 11 Conservative MPs who rebelled to give Parliament a meaningful vote on Brexit.

16. Eva-Lotta Allan, UK biotech dealmaker

Eva-Lotta Allan

Eva-Lotta Allan is an independent board director on biotech boards including publicly-listed Targovax.

Until earlier this year she was the Chief Business Officer at Immunocore (since 2013), one of the most hotly-tipped UK biotech companies in the field of immunotherapy.

She started her career in the lab at the Karolinska Institutet in her native Sweden, but made the switch to commercial roles, quickly rising to take on senior business development and corporate roles for Vertex and Ablynx.

At Immunocore, Eva-Lotta contributed significantly to a $320m Series A fundraising in July 2015, at the time the largest in Europe and second-largest around in the world in the private life sciences sector.

The strategic partnerships she has forged on Immunocore’s behalf with big pharma  companies have secured vital funding and allowed the company to grow – AstraZeneca, Genentech and GlaxoSmithKline have each signed significant strategic discovery deals during Eva-Lotta’s five years at Immunocore.

17. Magdelena Skipper, Editor of Nature

Magdelena Skipper

Magdalena Skipper was named as the first ever woman editor-in-chief of influential bioscience journal Nature in May.

Skipper has a PhD in genetics from the University of Cambridge, UK, and worked for a short time as postdoctoral researcher at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London before entering publishing as editor of Nature Reviews Genetics and rising through the ranks.

She says she wants to further Nature’s focus on ensuring that scientific findings are reproducible and robust, currently an Achilles heel for much academic research.

“Science is becoming increasingly analytically complex and data rich, so there is an increased focus
on data and computation. We have taken some amazing strides,” Skipper said when her appointment was announced last month, but she added there was more to be done in this field, and in supporting ‘open science’ and data transparency.

18. Ingrid Marchal-Gerez, Senior healthcare solutions leader, J&J and President, HBA, London Chapter

Ingrid Marchal-Gerez

Pharma companies are increasingly recognising they need to provide their customers with solutions – and not just novel products – because healthcare systems around the world are struggling to adapt to growing patient demand, static budgets and accelerating technological change.

J&J has its own healthcare solutions division, and Ingrid Marchal-Gerez leads the design and development of solutions to improve outcomes, in collaboration with regional and local marketing teams.

A native of Paris, Ms Marchal-Gerez earned a PhD in biochemistry in Lille and an MBA in London. Early in her career she followed her entrepreneurial instincts and co-founded a bioinformatics company.

Her role today at J&J is to engage health systems with that same ‘can-do’ mindset, offering solutions such as digital innovation to help frontline clinicians modernise and improve patient services. Ingrid is also President of the London chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA), and is ready to challenge existing barriers to the advancement of women within the sector.

Speaking in a personal capacity, and not representing her company’s views, Ingrid commented on her twin drives of greater collaboration within healthcare, and for gender parity.

“Everybody in healthcare is motivated to improve patient experience and outcomes,” she says. “There is no quick fix, but collaborating with healthcare systems to identify how to apply technology that can have impact is very rewarding.”

In her role at the London chapter of the HBA, she is also committed to its overriding goal of achieving gender parity between men and women in life sciences – something which is still far from being a reality. This will require efforts from men, women, companies and institutions to challenge the prevailing culture, and overcome unconscious biases which make us assume women can’t or won’t fulfil a leadership role.

“Many studies have shown the business benefits of gender parity, yet there are still more CEOs named John than there are female CEOs,” says Ingrid.

“The HBA believes that achieving gender parity will make the healthcare industry stronger and better equipped to innovate in our fast-changing world. This is not just a women’s issue, but a business and everybody’s issue.”

19. Kate Bingham, Managing Partner, SV Life Sciences

Kate Bingham

Kate is one of the best-known faces in UK biotech venture capital, which plays an increasingly important part in the life sciences ecosystem.

In her 25-plus years in the sector, her investments have resulted in the launch of six drugs, spanning inflammatory and autoimmune disease and cancer. As well as serving as one of five Managing Partners on SV’s Investment Committee, managing more than $2bn in total assets, Kate also played an active role in setting up the UK’s new Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF) and serves on the DDF Investment Committee.

20. Prof Rebecca Fitzgerald, MRC Cancer Unit, University of Cambridge, and Honorary Consultant in Gastroenterology, Cambridge University NHS Hospitals Foundation Trust

Prof Rebecca Fitzgerald

Frustrated by the shortcomings of biopsies for suspected oesophageal cancers, Prof Rebecca Fitzgerald and has developed a novel diagnostic device – the CytoSponge – to solve the problem.

The device involves a patient swallowing a pill-sized capsule with a sponge inside, which travels to the stomach where the capsule opens. Retrieving the sponge by pulling on an attached string allows the CytoSponge to collects cells for testing from the oesophagus, collecting a much fuller sample of cells than a biopsy. The device has now been licensed to Covidien GI Solutions and is in late-stage trials for Barrett’s oesophagus.

Read on: 30 Women Leaders in UK Healthcare - Part 3:  21-30

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

19th June 2018

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

19th June 2018

From: Healthcare

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