The Team

Dr Fiona Marston, Chief Executive

Fiona has over 25 years experience in healthcare, biotechnology and venture capital. She was the co-founder and Chief Executive of the anti-infectives company Novacta Biosystems until the end of 2007. Before this Fiona was Chief Executive of Pharminox Limited, Novarticulate BV and Metris Therapeutics Limited. She worked in venture capital for Rothschilds and J&J Development Corporation in the mid-90s specialising in the strategic development and management of early-stage companies. Fiona’s early career was in business development at CRC Technology Limited and at Celltech plc.


Dr David Knowles, Chairman

David has established an impressive international reputation in anti-infectives R&D at leading pharmaceutical companies in Europe and the US. He was responsible for setting up a new facility at SmithKilne Beecham to explore bacterial genomics, and also led antibacterial development for the company. He has since been CSO at Piramed and RiboTargets, who each achieved successful exits.

Professor Simon J. Foster, Founder, Chief Scientific Officer

Simon Foster has been working on fundamental aspects of the biology of Staphylococcus aureus for over 15 years and is a senior academic researcher in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Sheffield.

Prof. Foster has undertaken numerous high-profile research council, charity and industry funded projects resulting in over 120 peer reviewed publications and nine patent applications.  Major areas of research have encompassed cell wall structure and function, stress resistance, host-pathogen interaction, essential gene analysis and the search for new vaccine targets.

Currently, his laboratory is focussed on the understanding and control of S. aureus and MRSA. The Absynth Biologics approach is based on research from Simon Foster’s laboratory.

Dr Peter Grant, Non-Executive Director

Having obtained an honours degree in Biochemistry in 1981, Peter completed his PhD before joining Genzyme UK Limited ("Genzyme") as a Senior Research Scientist working within the clinical diagnostics division.

Following a move to Celltech from Genzyme, Peter was part of the start-up team at Enzymatix Limited ("Enzymatix"). During a five year period Enzymatix grew five independent research areas with Peter as the Head of Research and Development.

wo of these areas were later spun-out to form Chiros Limited (later Chiroscience which merged with Celltech plc) and Celsis, with Peter as a co-founder and Research and Development Director. Following venture capital funding rounds, Peter was an integral part of the team that successfully floated Celsis on the full list of the London Stock Exchange in July 1993.Peter gained significant experience in acquisitions, divestments and licensing through his role as Director of Business Development and Technology at Celsis.

He is currently Operations Director of FusionIP which he co-founded in 2002 and listed on AIM in 2005. Fusion enjoys the rights to IP generated by Cardiff University and the University of Sheffield from which he spun out Absynth Biologics, where he remains as a Director. He is also Chairman of Adjuvantix, Asalus, Medella and Progenteq, and a non-executive director of Diurnal Limited.

 Dr Marc d'Abbadie, Non-Executive Director (Spark Impact; Manager of the North West Fund for Biomedical)

Marc is an Investor Director at SPARK Impact and a member of the Investment Committee. His responsibilities include making and managing investments from the North West Fund for Biomedical.

He was previously an Investment Manager at London-based Inventages, which manages one of the world’s largest life-science focused venture capital funds with assets of $1.5b. Before that, Marc worked at Technikos, a medical device venture capital investor. He was also a consultant at McKinsey & Co., where he worked with large public companies including financial services and the pharmaceutical industry.

Earlier, Marc was a Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, where his field of interest was protein engineering which led to both peer-reviewed publications and revenue-generating patents. In parallel to his studies, he founded, managed and raised capital for a biotechnology start-up.

Marc obtained his M.A. in Natural Sciences from Trinity College and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, both at the University of Cambridge. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.


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