Board of Directors


David HamesDr David Hames (Non-Executive Chairman)

David has a first class degree and PhD in Biochemistry. Following postdoctoral research on eukaryotic gene transcription at the Institute for Cancer Research, Philadelphia, his academic research career centred on the control of developmental gene expression. He was Reader in Molecular Biology at the University of Leeds and has over 90 research publications and more than 300 books as author, editor, and series editor. He has held numerous consultancies with biotech companies. He has founded three companies including Science Warehouse Ltd, a cloud-based e-procurement, catalogue and spend analysis platform for both science and non-science spend, which he grew as Founder and Executive Chairman to host over 17 million products and services for top tier clients.


Ryan CawoodDr Ryan Cawood (Founder & Chief Executive Officer)

Ryan founded Oxford Genetics in 2011 with the aim to revolutionise DNA design, optimisation and assembly to enable molecular engineering to fulfil its promise in synthetic biology and medicine. Ryan has a first class degree in Genetics and a Ph.D. from Oxford University. He is an experienced genetic engineer with extensive knowledge and practical insight working with bacterial, botanical and mammalian recombinant expression systems. Ryan's research interests in synthetic biology and molecular engineering include vaccines and treatments for infectious diseases and cancer. He was inspired to create Oxford Genetics after observing that inefficient DNA design and assembly often limit scientific progress.

Dr Paul Brooks (Commercial Director)

Paul recently joined Oxford Genetics from Sigma-Aldrich, where he was responsible for the commercialisation of their genome editing technologies and associated services. Over the course of his career he has held various positions in both the USA and Europe focused on functional genomics including strategy, business development, marketing, product management and sales. Paul holds a BSc in biochemistry from the University of Wales, a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Manchester, and a MBA from the University of Nottingham.   


Prof Len SeymourProfessor Leonard Seymour (Founder & Chief Scientist)

Len is Professor of Gene Therapies at the University of Oxford and has over 25 years experience at the interface of genetic engineering and medicine. His main interests are in designing viruses and other micro-organisms for targeted cancer treatment. He has published over 200 primary scientific papers, was founder of the British Society for Gene Therapy and is currently the Secretary of the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy. As co-founder of Oxford Genetics, Len provides key scientific insight to help establish the company as world leader in DNA design and modular cloning, providing increased versatility and removing the inefficiencies that have plagued the technology in the past.


Dr Matthew Baker (Non Executive Director)

Dr Baker has a background in immunology and has >15 years in developing biologics in biotech and pharma companies. He was the CEO/CSO and co-founder of Antitope which was acquired by PolyTherics in 2013, and subsequently listed on AIM (as Abzena) through an IPO. Dr Baker currently holds the position of CSO of Abzena Cambridge, UK and is also the co-founder and CSO of Denceptor Therapeutics formed through a joint venture between Baylor Institute for Immunology Research and Abenza. Prior to Antitope Dr Baker has held numerous senior management positions including Biovation (subsidiary of Merck KGaA), Cellular Technologies Limited and Whatman BioSciences. Dr Baker completed a number of postdoctoral positions in Cambridge after receiving his PhD in cellular immunology from University of Birmingham UK.


Dr Mark PaytonDr Mark Payton (Investor & Non Executive Director)

Mark is founder and Managing Director of Mercia Fund Management (MFM). He has a degree in Human Biology from Oxford, PhD from King's College London in molecular immunology and an MBA from Warwick Business School. Prior to joining Mercia Technology Seed Fund, Mark was a research fellow at the Department of Pharmacology (University of Oxford). He has played leading roles within Isis Innovation and was VP Corporate Development at Oxxon Therapeutics Inc. Mark has over 15 years experience in the commercialisation of life science opportunities in the biotech, niche pharma, medtech and diagnostic fields. So far he has raised circa 30m into his portfolio companies in addition to MFM's own investment.