Special Careers Talk by Alumnus Simon Tate - Managing Director of Life Sciences at Intermediate Capital Group plc
Brief Outline of Simon Tate’s Career
Simon graduated from the University of Dundee in 1989 with a B.Sc in Biochemistry. His final year undergraduate research project was carried out in Philip Cohen’s lab. Simon joined the pharmaceutical company Glaxo, now called GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), immediately after obtaining his B.Sc. In 1997, he set up a multi-disciplinary ion channel discovery section at Glaxo, the first in any pharma industry, which pioneered the cloning and functional expression of sodium channels and led to new ways to screen for drugs that target ion channels, Several ion channel projects progressed into the clinic as a consequence of this initiative. Simon was promoted to Vice President (VP) and Head of Pain Drug Discovery and development at GSK. In this role, Simon delivered successful proof of concept studies in chronic pain and identified novel targets which led to clinical candidates. During his R&D career Simon played a key role in 25 drug discovery programmes that reached or progressed through clinical development. This included taking the first cyclooxygenase 2 (Cox-2) inhibitors into late-stage clinical development. He also led the stem cell therapeutic area review in GSK, which led to a $25million cross disease alliance with the Harvard Stem Cell Institute at Harvard University, USA. Simon also helped to establish GSK’s Research and Development (R&D) centre of excellence for Neuroscience in Shanghai, China in 2007. He established and led the Neurosciences Discovery Technology Group in Shanghai, which spanned the fields of Psychiatry and Neurology biomarker discovery and target validation. He also established the department of Gene Expression and Protein Biochemistry at GSK.
Simon left GSK to become a co-founder of Convergence Pharmaceuticals becoming its Chief Scientific Officer. Simon led the R&D activities for Convergence, which became a leading company in the field of pain and ion channel drug discovery. In 2014, Convergence reported successful clinical proof of concept studies in both trigeminal neuralgia and radicular low back pain leading to its acquisition by the company Biogen. Simon was appointed Vice President and Head of the Pain Therapeutic Area at Biogen and became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of its Convergence Pharmaceuticals division.
In the latest and current phase of his career, Simon left Biogen to become a founding partner in Bridge Valley Ventures, a venture capital fund focussing on investments in the life sciences, which has successfully delivered excellent returns to investors, leading to its acquisition by Intermediate Capital Group plc. where Simon is now the Managing Director of its Life Sciences Division in London and a board director of three neuroscience-focused companies.
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