Leadership Team

Mary Martin, PhD

Executive Chair,
Board of Directors
Mary Martin, PhD has over 30 years’ experience in drug delivery technology…
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Michael Maguire, PhD

CEO, Founder and Executive Board Member
Michael co-founded and has held the position of CEO of Avectas since…
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Shirley O’Dea, PhD

CSO, Academic Founder and Executive Board Member
Shirley co-founded Avectas in 2012 and is the company’s CSO, in addition to…
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Alan P. Pearson, PhD

Senior Director of Technical Operations
Alan leads the Avectas Technical Operations team…
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Edel O'Toole

Senior Director of Project and Vendor Management
Experienced Project Manager specialised in the Pharmaceutical and Biotech Sector…
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Gillian Hendy, PhD

Director of Business
Development
Gillian leads the Avectas business development team. She has…
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Eoin Heffernan

Director of Finance
& Strategy
Eoin leads the finance team and is responsible for strategic operations…
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Join Our Team

Board of Directors

Mary Martin, Ph.D. has over 30 years experience in drug delivery technology development and all aspects of product development and commercialisation. Prior to joining Avectas, Mary served as Senior Vice President Global Regulatory, Quality and R&D Project Management with Horizon Therapeutics, following its acquisition of Vidara Therapeutics. Mary held senior leadership roles in, and was a board member of, Vidara Therapeutics and AGI Therapeutics. Mary spent the first fifteen years of her career across a number of technical and business roles with the drug delivery division of Elan. Mary holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacology, a Certified Diploma in Accounting and Finance (ACCA) and is a Chartered Director (C.Dir, Institute Of Directors).

Eunan Maguire is an experienced pharmaceutical executive. Most recently he co-founded Adapt Pharma – a leader in opioid overdose treatment – and served as its Chief Operating Officer until its sale to Emergent BioSolutions. Eunan previously co-founded Azur Pharma – a CNS and Women’s Health Pharmaceutical business – and served as its President until it merged with Jazz Pharmaceuticals. He subsequently led strategy and corporate development at Jazz. Earlier in his career, Eunan led business development at King Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer) and Strategy at Elan Corporation. Eunan is an accountant by profession and trained at KPMG. His board memberships include AixThera, ALSHC and ONK Therapeutics.

Ann Brady, PhD., currently serves as President, Theravance Biopharma Ireland and a board member of An2H Discovery Ltd. Ann brings over 20 years experience in the bio-pharma industry through global roles in business development, alliance management, corporate strategy and commercial operations gained in both developed and emerging markets. Ann served in senior executive roles at Shire, plc and élan Corporation, plc. She holds a BA (Mod) Natural Sciences and a PhD (Chemistry) from Trinity College, Dublin and is a member of the Institute of Directors of Ireland (MIoD).
Barry Leonard is an Engineer, Entrepreneur and Company Director. He founded and led Virtus Ltd, an OEM medical devices manufacturer serving global brands including Hill-Rom, Smith & Nephew, Patterson Dental and KCI. At its peak, Virtus employed 250 highly skilled individuals between its Irish and US FDA approved manufacturing sites. Virtus was part-acquired by DCC plc. and ultimately sold to Hillenbrand Industries Inc. in 2014. Barry brings a wealth of manufacturing, medical devices and corporate strategy experience to the board.

Barry Wohl has diverse operating and strategic planning experience in both the medical device and biopharma sectors. He is currently Chief Business Officer at Apnimed, a venture-backed, clinical-stage company developing novel pharmaceuticals for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Previously, he was Senior Director of Alliances at Macrolide Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that role, he co-founded Symbal Therapeutics and led the company to sublicense its lead development candidate to a pharmaceutical partner. He has also worked with global biotech firms of all sizes and development stages as a strategy consultant with IMS Consulting Group (now IQVIA) and concurrently in a sell-side transaction advisory role with IMS Health Capital. He started his career with Medtronic, where he worked as a product design engineer and later as a global clinical trial lead. Barry holds degrees in biomedical and mechanical engineering, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Michael is CEO of Avectas which he co-founded in 2012. He is a capable and motivated business leader with demonstrated track record in both start-up biotechnology and established medical device companies. He has led Avectas’ funding and business collaboration activities. Michael works closely with the Avectas Board, shareholders, internal and external teams to grow Avectas. He holds a BSc.Eng (Biomedical Engineering) from Trinity College Dublin, M.EngSc (Biomedical Engineering) and PhD (Drug Delivery) from Maynooth University

Shirley co-founded Avectas in 2012 and is the company’s CSO, in addition to serving on the Board of Directors. She is charged with evaluating, overseeing and implementing both the internal and external scientific programs. With an accomplished scientific career in cell biology extending over 25 years, prior to co-founding Avectas Shirley completed research fellowships at University of Edinburgh Medical School and served as a Principal Investigator for several industry collaborations. Shirley has extensive experience in leading large scientific groups from her tenure as Associate Professor and PI at Maynooth University. Shirley earned her BSc (Biochemistry) from University College Dublin and PhD (Lung Cancer Biology) from Dublin City University.

Scientific Advisory Board

Professor Lowdell is the Director of Cellular Therapy at University College London (UCL) and runs the largest of the GMP production units with over 600m2 of manufacturing space. He is the qualified person (QP) for release of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs) for clinical trials. Initiating, as well as being involved in eight cell therapy trials at present, five of which are UK national trials. He has been an advisor to UK Government regulatory bodies on the regulation of ATMPs and is an accredited assessor for one of the UK Government departments. He has worked extensively on quality standards for ATMPs and is the UK National Representative to the board of JACIE, the professional body responsible for accreditation of haematotherapies across the EU. Professor Lowdell’s research is in the fields of immunotherapy of viral infections, tumor immunotherapy and advanced regenerative medicine.
Bruce Levine, Barbara and Edward Netter Professor in Cancer Gene Therapy, is the Founding Director of the Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility (CVPF) in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. He received a B.A. (Biology) from Penn and a Ph.D. in Immunology and Infectious Diseases from Johns Hopkins. First-in-human adoptive immunotherapy trials include the first use of a lentiviral vector, the first infusions of gene edited cells, and the first use of lentivirally-modified cells to treat cancer. Dr. Levine has overseen the production, testing and release of 3,000 cellular products administered to >1,200 patients in clinical trials since 1996. He is co-inventor of the first FDA approved gene therapy (Kymriah), chimeric antigen receptor T cells for leukemia and lymphoma, licensed to Novartis. Dr. Levine is co-inventor on 25 issued US patents and co-author of >160 manuscripts and book chapters with a Google Scholar citation h-index of 77. He is a Co-Founder of Tmunity Therapeutics, a spinout of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Levine is President Elect of the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy and serves on the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine. He has been interviewed by the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, Time Magazine, National Geographic, Forbes, BBC, and other international media outlets.
Dr. Evren Alici is an Assistant Professor of Hematology at Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden. He received his MD and did his residency at the Ege University. He received his Ph.D. in 2006 at Karolinska Institutet. His main research interest is natural killer cells, multiple myeloma, lentiviral and retroviral gene transfer, stem cell transplantation and immunology. He is a member of several international and national committees, advisory boards and scientific meetings. He has mentored many trainees, 3 PhD. students and 2 post docs.
Karl Peggs is a Senior Lecturer in Stem Cell Transplantation and Immunotherapy at UCL and Honorary Consultant in Haematology/Transplantation at UCL Hospitals. He received his preclinical training and MA at Cambridge University, completing his clinical training at Oxford University Medical School. Following this qualification he completed general medical training at Addenbrookes Hospital Cambridge, and specialist haematology training at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford and subsequently UCLH, London. During this time, he spent three years in the research group of Professor Stephen Mackinnon, establishing adoptive cellular therapies for cytomegalovirus. After taking the position of Senior Lecturer at UCL in 2003, he spent 2 years at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute, New York, in the laboratory of Professor James Allison, studying murine models of regulatory checkpoint blockade. His research interests include immune reconstitution, pathogen-specific adoptive cellular therapies, and regulatory checkpoint-directed immunotherapeutics. He is member of the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research Clinical Trials Committee, a Trustee of the Teens Unite charity, and has contributed to several international working parties on infectious complications and relapse following stem cell transplantation. He is Chief Investigator for 4 UKCRN national studies investigating transplantation in Hodgkin Lymphoma and cellular therapies for cytomegalovirus.

Technical Advisory Board

Professor Brian Glennon is Professor of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering in University College Dublin. Brian is also co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at APC and leads the introduction and integration of new technology into APC’s ACHIEVE and BIOACHIEVE programs.

Professor Byrne is a Senior Advisor to the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the worldwide leading applied research organisation. He was awarded the Gold Ring of the German Society of Engineering (VDI) for his insights into the fundamentals of material removal processes. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Taylor Research Medal of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, USA, in recognition of his outstanding research contributions. In 2017 he was awarded the Fraunhofer Taler Medal for his outstanding international contribution to applied R&D and Innovation.

He is the founder of GB Innovation Ltd. (2014) and is specialising in excellence in R&D and Innovation and associated incentive schemes. Gerry is actively engaging with and supporting numerous organisations in their R&D progression both in Ireland, Germany and internationally.