Ian Hamilton holds a number of senior positions within the agricultural sector, including Chairman of the dairy genetics business Vytelle (formerly Cogent IVF) and agrochemical supply business Zantra. He also has a consultancy with food safety specialist Anitox, is a Non-Executive Advisor to Wheatsheaf Investments and continues to chair his own private portfolio of companies. Ian holds a BSc (Hons) degree in Agriculture from the University of Edinburgh.
Alan Hale - CEO
Alan has over 35 years’ industrial experience in biotech and technology working in a range of commercial (large, SME and start-up), academic and public sector organisations. He started his career in big pharma before moving into biotechnology. He has directed Research and Development in life sciences, enabling technologies and energy sectors and in technology areas as diverse as synthetic biology, pharmaceuticals, genetics and text analytics.
Alan is experienced in developing new companies in the early stages and in raising finance. His breadth of experience in a range of industry sectors and types plus his hands-on operational knowledge of how to make an organisation work effectively, combines well with his experience working with entrepreneurs and early stage technologies. This expertise provides for a strong strategic focus in Biotangents and his clear vision, balanced with the understanding of how teams can deliver on the ground, is supported by his strong people skills.
Alan contributed in an advisory capacity to the development of Biotangents from its embryonic stage and formally joined the company as CEO in November 2016.
Lina Gasiūnaitė - Director of Science
Lina co-founded Biotangents with Andy in 2015 and now leads Biotangents’ diverse research and development team of molecular biologists, bioinformaticians and engineers in the delivery of diagnostic solutions for infectious diseases in livestock. She is a winner of AccelerateHer and was highly commended at the Scottish Women’s Awards in 2019, both competitions celebrating the achievements of female entrepreneurs.
Lina completed her undergraduate studies in Molecular Biology at Vilnius University and holds an MSc in Biotechnology from the University of Edinburgh. After graduation, Lina continued to work with DNA assembly and metabolic engineering of bacteria in the synthetic biology industry. As a Senior Scientist at a synthetic biology company, she delivered varied projects involving DNA design, assembly and biological engineering in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, local SMEs and multinational companies.
Dr Andy Hall-Ponselè - Director of Operations
Andy founded Biotangents with Lina in 2015 and led grant-funded and commercial revenue-generating scientific projects in the company’s early years. As the company grew, Andy increasingly focused on the operational aspects of the business, leading him to become the Director of Operations in 2018. In this capacity, Andy has overseen the building of a multifunctional, multidisciplinary team of 11 and the move to the company’s current laboratory premises at the Pentlands Science Park in 2019.
Andy holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford, where he used genetic engineering approaches to provide new insights into how plants control the production of metabolites that are used as some of the most critical drugs in cancer chemotherapy. On his return to Edinburgh, where he had previously obtained his BSc (Hons) in Biotechnology, Andy worked as a Senior Scientist in a University of Edinburgh-based start-up. Here he delivered collaborative projects as varied as synthetic promoter design and polysaccharide biosynthesis.
Professor Steve Howell - Investor Director
Steve has over 20 years’ experience of commercialisation in the life sciences industry. Since founding Innova Partnerships in 2006, he has been instrumental in the creation of over a dozen biotechnology start-ups and fulfilled multiple successful exit strategies. This includes the successful negotiation of the exit of medtech company Innova Biosciences, which was acquired by SYGNIS AG for €11.5m in 2017.
Steve is a visiting Professor of Commercial Innovation at King’s College London, a non-executive director of Langford Veterinary Services at the University of Bristol and was previously Director of Business Development at Alere, a leader in rapid point of care diagnostics and now part of Abbott. Steve holds a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Leeds.
Professor Chris French - Scientific Adviser
Professor Chris French is the first member of our Scientific Advisory Board. He is Personal Chair of Microbial Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh and has considerable experience planning and supervising research, with numerous high-impact publications on DNA assembly and biosensor development.
Chris has a history of advising companies within the life sciences and has overseen the University of Edinburgh’s entries in the iGEM competition since 2006. He is also a member of the Flowers Consortium, which was awarded a £6M EPSRC grant for the development of synthetic biology infrastructure for the UK.
David Glen - Corporate Advisor and Finance
David joined DC Consulting in 2008 having trained and qualified with an independent chartered accountancy firm in Broughty Ferry, Dundee. Now heading up DC’s Edinburgh office, David has a strong track record in supporting clients across a broad spectrum of assignments, including helping clients to become “investor ready” prior to guiding them through the raising of investment capital, incorporating equity, debt and grant funding. David brings this expertise to Biotangents, where he advises on corporate and financial strategy.