Board of Directors

Oliver de Giorgio-Miller

Mr Oliver de Giorgio-Miller

Chairman

Oliver has a wealth of experience in the management and commercial advancement of life science companies. He has worked for over 30 years with several global pharmaceutical and medical device companies including Schering AG, Hoffman la Roche, Intavent-Orthofix and Photo Therapeutics, a Cancer Research UK company and he has extensive experience advising a number of other early stage biopharmaceutical and medical device companies.

Dr Satu Vainikka

Chief Executive Officer

Satu has many years experience of the biotechnology industry, including extensive first hand experience of equity financing, business management and developing life science technology into commercial enterprises. Prior to her current role as CEO of Valirx, she was a founder, director and CEO of Cronos Therapeutics Limited.

In her past roles, Dr Vainikka has developed and exited successful business models, negotiated corporate and academic transactions, and raised funding for a number of companies. (Member of Remuneration Committee) Dr Satu Vainikka has gained the following qualifications and awards:

  • MBA at Imperial College Business School 2000.
  • PHD in signal transduction in oncology, University of  Helsinki 1996.
  • Prestigious “embo” fellowship for Postdoctoral research, at the imperial cancer research (Now CRC).

Dr George Morris

Chief Operations Officer

George has over 25 years’ experience in biological and medical research, and financial services. In the past he has worked for Guy‘s hospital medical school department of medicine, King’s college and University College London. As a Research Scientist, he is an author of numerous books and articles on refereed papers, approximately 70 abstracts, short reports and posters, and an inventor of multiple patents.

George was a founding member of the expert advisory panel, the ‘Biotechnology and Finance Forum’, set up jointly between the European Commission and the European Association of Securities Dealers. George involved in a number of conferences and workshops with the EU research and agricultural directorates and is an ‘expert’ to the Commission, and has been invited into several policy discussion groups.

George has worked with a variety of commercial, governmental organisations and financial institutions in the US, Europe and Australia and many consultancy projects covering various biotechnology and financial activities. He is regularly asked to chair or participate in conferences in his areas of experience, including acting as a ‘Venture Academy’ mentor. Has undertaken numerous continuing professional development courses covering finance and general management as well as in specific areas related to science & technology, statistics.

Mr Gerry Desler

Chief Financial Officer

Gerry is a chartered accountant, who qualified in 1968 with a City firm, before becoming a partner in 1970. Between 1985 to 1990 he was the Senior Partner. During his time in the City, he has specialised in consultancy work, much of it involving funding and venture capital.

He was involved in one of the first joint ventures in what was then the People’s Republic of China in 1980. Gerry was previously the Finance Director of Premier Management Holdings plc, an AIM listed company and is on the board of a number of private companies.  Gerry also holds positions as Company Secretary at Prospex Oil and Gas Plc both Aim listed companies. (Member of Audit Committee)

Kevin Alexander

Mr Kevin Alexander

Non-executive Director

Kevin is a qualified solicitor in England and an attorney in New York and he was a partner at major law firms in both London and the United States for over 25 years. Since leaving the law he has been involved in forming and managing various businesses, both private and public. Kevin is a director of Valirx Plc, and joined the board in September 2006. He has an MA in law from Cambridge University.

Seppo Makinen

Mr Seppo Mäkinen

Non-executive Director

Seppo Mäkinen has more than 25 years of senior advisory and executive experience in board level strategic leadership and venture capital management on life science, his special expertise is on medtech / diagnostics.

The career includes ten years as Director in Life Sciences at Sitra ( Finnish Government Fund ), followed by thirteen years as co-founder and Managing Partner in Bio Fund Management Oy from this time also five years as President of BioFund A/S, Copenhagen. With EUR 200M under management, BioFund was one of the biggest European VC funds investing into international life sciences. In 2008, Seppo Mäkinen exited BioFund and in 2010, he founded Taikon Advisor Oy, a Finnish management consultancy firm focusing on advising and investing in life sciences ventures.

Key achievements include the listing of six companies ( personally involved in three ) on international stock exchanges, building up one of the leading life science Venture Capitalist in Europe, as well as the completion of over ten international trade sale transactions and further over ten international company mergers within the life sciences sector. Seppo Mäkinen has served on the board level, including several chairmanships, in about thirty five large international and SME life sciences companies, including Wallac/Perkin Elmer, Kone Instruments/ Thermo Instruments, Pharming NV, Exiqon, Egalet, and many others.

Seppo Mäkinen is currently Chairman and Board Member in four life science/ healthcare companies and advisor to Merieux Développement Fund.

Prior to moving into the life sciences venture capital arena Seppo Mäkinen obtained a number of years of industry experience mainly on liquid chromatography, including R&D and Sales/ Marketing positions in Millipore/Waters and others. He received his M.Sc. Degree in physical chemistry from University of Jyväskylä in 1979.