Industry veteran joins Avacta

Avacta Group, the listed life science business based in Cambridge and Wetherby, has appointed Neil Bell as Chief Development Officer of Avacta Life Sciences with immediate effect.

Mr Bell will be responsible for late stage pre-clinical and early clinical development of Avacta’s pipeline of pre|CISION pro-drugs and Affimer immunotherapies.

He has over 30 years’ experience in the drug development industry, having held senior positions in global pharmaceutical companies and innovative biotechs.

The early part of his career was spent in clinical development at Eisai and Pfizer before becoming Therapeutic Area Head for Gastroenterology and Neurology at Ipsen.

In each of these roles he led numerous Phase I to III clinical studies, gaining significant experience across all facets of drug development; from strategy to pre-clinical development, manufacturing and regulatory, to clinical study design and implementation.

In his role as Head of Global Clinical Operations for Teva Pharmaceuticals, he led an international team responsible for the delivery of clinical programmes in neurology, autoimmune and oncology therapeutic areas.

Following this period, he joined Daichi-Sankyo as Head of Clinical Operations where he led the clinical operations team through early and late stage development activities across cardiovascular, pain and oncology, and was responsible for building an effective drug development organisation in Europe serving the global clinical programmes and leading to the successful global approval of Edoxaban.

Most recently, he held the role of Senior Vice President, Head of Global Clinical Operations at Autolus, a UK cell and gene therapy company backed by Syncona, which listed in the US in 2018, a process in which he played a key role.

“Not only does Neil have tremendous drug development and operational experience, but he also brings significant strategic insight and will be a key member of the senior leadership team driving the Group’s drug development and corporate strategy for the therapeutic business,” said Dr Alastair Smith, Chief Executive of Avacta Group.

“I am very much looking forward to working with Neil as we continue to transition the business to a clinical stage biotech with multiple clinical programmes in the UK, Europe and the US, building upon the world-class proprietary platforms and assets that we have developed in-house and with partners over the past few years.”