About

About us

Exvastat Ltd have been supported by investment from Cambridge Innovation Capital, who invest in intellectual property rich companies from the University of Cambridge and the wider research community in the Cambridge region.

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We are based in Cambridge, UK

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David Cavalla

CEO

David has multidisciplinary scientific and business experience in both the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. He has a successful record of founding and growing companies, advancing projects with diverse therapeutic approaches and innovative technologies from discovery into clinical development. David’s specialties are drug reprofiling and repurposing, licensing and commercial negotiation.

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Stuart Gibson

CFO

Stuart qualified as Chartered Accountant in 1991 and has over 20 years experience as a FD/CFO and since 2001 he has focused on working with early stage biotech and technology companies . He joined Arakis Ltd in 2001 shortly after the company was formed and played a key role in the companies success culminating in the sale of Arakis to the Japanese quoted pharma company Sosei for over £100M in 2006. Stuart was appointed to the Board of Sosei shortly after and raised further funding on the Tokyo stock market before leaving in 2008. From 2008 to 2015 he worked for ARKeX a new technology company operating worldwide in the Oil & Gas services sector. During his tenure he raised over £40M of capital in equity & debt instruments, and was involved in contract negotiations with customers and business partners including North Africa, Middle East and China. From late 2015 Stuart set up his own consultancy business, Brosnaich Ventures Ltd, and works with a portfolio of early stage life sciences and technology companies providing financial and corporate management support.

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Gunnar Staaf

CBO

Gunnar has extensive commercial experience with pharmaceutical companies and contract research organisations. He has held various positions at Eli Lilly, Novartis, Astellas, and Serentis, a biotech in Cambridge UK. He executed a management buyout of Crystallics and as CEO implemented a turnaround plan taking the company from a loss-making business to a successful global service provider for the pharmaceutical industry and five years later sold the business to Ardena. Since 2019, Gunnar has been a Partner at CCD Partners the strategic consultants delivering M&A and corporate development services in the pharmaceutical industry. He received a MBA from Warwick Business School and an undergraduate Economics degree from the University of Reading.

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Gary Burgess

Chief Medical Officer

Gary has more than 20 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry. From 1999 to October 2011, Gary held positions of increasing seniority at Pfizer Ltd in Sandwich, UK, most recently as Senior Director and Clinical Portfolio Lead for Asia Research. Gary had previously been responsible for the studies with sildenafil in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension which lead to the successful registration of Revatio. In 2011 he joined Conatus Pharmaceuticals, Inc a biotech company focused on the development of drugs for hepatic diseases including NASH, as Chief Medical Officer and was part of the Executive Team that lead the company through a successful IPO in 2013. Gary subsequently became the Industry Chairman for the Liver Forum, a collaboration between Industry, FDA, EMA, Academia and patient Advocacy Groups working on the development of Guidelines for Industry for the development of drugs for the treatment of NASH. Most recently, Gary held the position of VP-Medical at Vectura Ltd, a UK based company focused on the Respiratory Disease Area where he lead the Clinical Operations, Biometrics and Medical group.

Prior to joining Pfizer, Dr. Burgess held the position of Principal Consultant and Head of the Intensive Care Unit and Casualty Department at II Military Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.

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Sarah Fritchley

Director of Clinical Development

Dr Sarah J Fritchley has 12 years’ experience in both pharmaceutical and contract research organisations where she has directed clinical trials for various development stage projects (phases I-IV) in a variety of therapeutic areas. Prior to this, her early career was spent in pre-clinical research within several early stage biotech companies. She completed a PhD at Newcastle University focusing on the role of inflammatory mediators in endothelial inflammation, prior to which she obtained a BSc in Pharmacology from the University of Sheffield.

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Andrew McElroy

Strategic Project Manager

Following his degree and PhD at the University of Cambridge, Andy joined Glaxo as a medicinal chemist in 1983 and moved to Pfizer in 1993 as a manager in the Medicinal Chemistry department. He served as Therapeutic Area lead for Cardiovascular, Neurodegeneration and Tissue Repair Chemistry and was also Therapeutic Area lead for Cardiovascular Research managing a portfolio of projects up to First in Human. In 2009 Andy became the External Research Solutions site head, leading a multidisciplinary team focusing on optimizing external research. In 2011 Andy founded The Research Network Limited, a global scientific consulting and project management group focused on supporting Networked Drug Discovery and Development.

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Keith Purdy

CMC Leader

Keith is a Pharmacist and holds a PhD in pharmaceutics.His entire career has been within pharmaceutical R&D and he has experience across all CMC areas and formulation types within Boots R&D, Fisons, Astra and AstraZeneca.Latterly Keith led the CMC project team delivering the AZ cardiovascular drug “Brilinta” from its first time in human study through to global regulatory approval and launch.Since 2013, Keith has been an independent pharmaceutical consultant assisting a wide range of SMEs, academic units and large Pharma in formulation development, clinical trial supplies and overall CMC project management.

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Frances Holmwood

Grants Administrator

Frances has worked in both large pharma and small biotech for 25 years in a variety of research based roles, including synthetic chemistry, chemical IP and patent writing, data and information management and business management. More recently she has provided project management support to a number of Pharmaceutical R&D start-up companies.

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Julia Jones

Director of Finance

After graduating from Loughborough University in 1997, Julia joined PricewaterhouseCoopers and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2001. Julia then gained a broad range of experience with key finance positions in Industry. For the last fourteen years, as the founder and Managing Director of Archangel Accounting Ltd, Julia has provided tailor-made support to many companies, including those with venture capital backing, privately owned businesses, and charities.

22 years of experience as a Finance Professional with an established record of supporting biotech companies from start up through to exit, assisting in securing and then the management of circa £200mil of Venture Capital funds, strong skills in software implementation and accounting processes to aid the performance of ambitious businesses. Specializing in pharmaceutical investment funded companies.

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Robert Tansley

Chairman

Robert is Investment Director at Cambridge Innovation Capital, a venture fund actively investing in IP-rich healthcare companies in the Cambridge (UK) cluster. His portfolio of investee companies includes Congenica, Inivata, STORM Therapeutics, Morphogen-IX, Cambridge Medical Robotics and Carrick Therapeutics.

After seven years working in hospital medicine, Robert joined the pharma industry gaining broad experience in development, regulatory and commercialisation at Sanofi, MHRA and Roche. He has subsequently worked for a number of UK, European and US biotech companies including Arakis (Medical Director, sold to Sosei), Treague (Founder, CEO), Avilex Pharma (founding CEO) and KalVista (part of founding management team, listed on NASDAQ, November 2016). Robert qualified in medicine from University College London, and is a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine. He holds an MBA from London Business School (distinction) and an M.Phil in Biostatistics from the University of Cambridge.

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David Cavalla

CEO

David has multidisciplinary scientific and business experience in both the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. He has a successful record of founding and growing companies, advancing projects with diverse therapeutic approaches and innovative technologies from discovery into clinical development. David’s specialties are drug reprofiling and repurposing, licensing and commercial negotiation.

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Julian Gilbert

Non-Executive Director

Julian has more than 30 years of commercial and technical experience in the pharmaceutical industry gained at a number of companies including Chiroscience Plc, Mundipharma International Limited, BTG and GSK. Most recently, Julian was co-founder and CEO of Acacia Pharma Group plc, a leading hospital pharmaceuticals company, raising c.£100m in private and public funding to develop and commercialise BARHEMSYS®. Prior to this, he was co- founder and Commercial Director of Arakis Limited, a specialist pharmaceutical company repurposing known drugs, that was sold to Sosei in 2005 having licensed Seebri®/Ultibro® to Novartis . Julian has a degree in pharmacy and a PhD in pharmaceutics, both from the University of Nottingham and is a Non-Executive Director of Nuformix plc.

Meet the team

Find out about our incredible team working together to save lives.

David cavalla

David Cavalla

CEO

Stuart Gibson picture

Stuart Gibson

CFO

Gunnar Staf Photos Exvastat

Gunnar Staaf

CBO

G Burgess photo

Gary Burgess

Chief Medical Officer

Sarah Fritchley

Sarah Fritchley

Director of Clinical Development

Andrew mcelroy

Andrew McElroy

Strategic Project Manager

Keith purdy

Keith Purdy

CMC Leader

Frances holmwood

Frances Holmwood

Grants Administrator

Julia jones

Julia Jones

Director of Finance

Board of Directors

Robert tansley

Robert Tansley

Chairman

David cavalla

David Cavalla

CEO

Julian

Julian Gilbert

Non-Executive Director