Procarta was spun out from the John Innes Centre and Plant Biosciences Limited in March 2008.
The founders, Dr. Michael McArthur and Prof. Mervyn Bibb, discovered a novel way to control expression of genes in bacteria (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105: 1020) and developed the technology to treat drug-resistant bacteria. The company raised seed funding in late 2008 and achieved key scientific milestones, including the demonstration that the lead product was effective in an MRSA infection model. This, in combination with a strong IP position, enabled Procarta to secure major new investment in late 2010 with the round led by the VC fund Morningside Group.
Management and Advisors
Dr. David Knowles (SKB, RRP, CellCentric, Piramed)
With 20 years of experience in anti-infective research and development and subsequent positions on several major international pharmaceutical companies including Beecham Pharmaceuticals, Wellcome Research Laboratories and SmithKline Beecham Dr David Knowles is a strong chair for Procarta Biosystems. For the last 15 years David Knowles has worked in the biotech: in 1999, he joined the board of RiboTargets plc and served as CSO for over 3 years before becoming Director of R&D at British Biotech, (overseeing the merger with Vernalis).
David has also worked as an independent consultant for a number of international Private Equity Investors before becoming CSO and R&D Director for Piramed Ltd. in 2005. He has served on the Scientific Advisory and Supervisory Boards of a number of biotech companies, including MerLion Pharmaceuticals and Axxima AG. He is a past Member of Council of the American Society for Microbiology and is on the editorial board of Current Opinions in Microbiology.
CSO & Director
Dr. Michael McArthur (Regulome, JIC Faculty)
Michael McArthur is a Molecular Microbiologist with over 15 years experience of academic and biotechnology research: filing 15 patents and raising $30 M in private and grant funding. His defining scientific interest is how the control of bacterial genes can be used to create new antibacterials.
Michael gained his PhD from University of Cambridge and has held academic positions in the EU (Cambridge, John Innes Centre, ICMB in Crete) and University of Washington, Seattle. Whilst there his technologies were used to found a diagnostics company, Regulome Inc, for whom he served as Director of Research. Recently he was appointed the Professor of Nanomedicine at the School of Medicine, UEA.
Dr. Issac Cheng (Morningside)
Dr. Isaac S. Cheng, MD served as Director of R&D at Tissue Regeneration, Inc./Serica Technologies, a Morningside portfolio company which was acquired by Allergan. Dr. Cheng is employed at Morningside Group (Holdings) Limited and Morningside Ventures. He served as an Associate Director at Novartis Pharmaceuticals in Clinical Development and Medical Affairs.
He joined Morningside in 2006. He serves on the boards of Morningside’s portfolio companies Procarta Biosystems, BioScale, Liquidia Technologies, Synchroneuron Inc and Atreaon. He has been a Director of Traversa Therapeutics, Inc. from 2009. Dr. Cheng served as a Director of Advanced Cell Diagnostics, Inc. Dr. Cheng was also the recipient of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Fellowship which supported his research in the Genetics and Aging Unit of the Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School. He received his M.D. from Tufts University School of Medicine.
Mark White (Rainbow Seed Fund)
Mark joined Procarta in August 2010 and is also Investment Director at Midven and Investment Director and Investment Committee member of the Rainbow Seed Fund. He has over twenty years experience in investment with extensive periods in UK investment banking and emerging markets, including raising and managing a R100m fund in South Africa.
Most recently, he led the transformation of NESTA’s investment operations, building it into the most active technology seed investor in the UK. He holds an MBA from London Business School.
Dr. Martin Stocks (PBL/Iceni Seedcorn Fund)
Martin Stocks is Business Development Manager, Plant Bioscience Limited (PBL). He manages the Health and Medical Technology portfolio of PBL and, until recently, was responsible for managing the Model Gut recently sold to Bioneer Farma A/S, Denmark). He is a member of the Investment Executive of the Iceni Seedcorn Fund (a local venture investment fund), a Director of Iceni Advisory Ltd and sits on the board of two Iceni investee companies.
Dr. Stocks has a 20 year background in academic research, specialising in immunology, molecular biology and protein engineering, which resulted in his co-founding and running a start-up biotechnology company -Iclectus Ltd (as CSO). Dr. Stocks also provided independent consultancy for the technology transfer and VC communities in the UK.