Iraj joined Achilles as permanent, full-time Chief Executive Officer in December 2018. He had held the role on a part time basis whilst also serving as Partner of Syncona Ltd, Achilles’ founding investor. During his tenure at Syncona, he also served as an investment partner and Board member of Nightstar Therapeutics and Blue Earth Diagnostics. Previously he was an Associate-Principal at McKinsey & Company where he specialised in product launch. He has been involved in several major pharmaceutical launches across developed and emerging markets and was a co-founder of McKinsey’s US launch practice and leader of speciality launch in Europe. Prior to that he held roles in scientific research: EMBO Research Scholar (UCSC), Drug Discovery Scientist (RiboTargets, Cambridge). Iraj has a PhD in Biochemistry from Cambridge University.
Professor Karl Peggs
Karl Peggs is a Professor of Transplant Science and Cancer Immunotherapy, Scientific Director NIHR Blood and Transplant Research Unit for Stem Cells and Immunotherapies, Scientific Co-Chair and Board Member of the British Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, and Honorary Consultant in Haematology/Stem Cell Transplantation at UCLH; he is also an Honorary Consultant (non-clinical) at the Royal Marsden Hospital, London. After taking the position of Senior Lecturer at UCL in 2003 and Head of Adult Stem Cell Transplantation Services, UCLH, he spent over 2 years at MSKCC, NYC, USA in the laboratory of Professor James Allison studying murine models of regulatory checkpoint blockade. He runs a joint Research Laboratory with Dr Sergio Quezada in the UCL Cancer Institute and his research interests include viral infections, immune reconstitution, adoptive cellular therapies, and regulatory checkpoint-directed immune-therapeutics. More recently he has established the clinical translational side of the academic CAR T cell programme at UCLH.
Karl was trained at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, and UCH, London.
Professor Charles Swanton
Charlie Swanton is a Royal Society Napier Professor of Cancer and consultant thoracic oncologist at UCL Hospitals and group Leader of the Translational Cancer Therapeutics laboratory at Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and the Francis Crick Institute. He is a world leader in the understanding of genomic diversity within cancers (intratumour heterogeneity) and molecular mechanisms driving cancer branched evolution. He has published over 130 papers and is the recipient of a number of awards in recognition of his research. He is the co-director of the CRUK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence and an appointed Fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences (2014) and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2015). He is chief investigator of the UK cancer evolution program TRACERx. He has unparalleled experience in cell biology, bio-informatics and the development of a sequencing pipeline for the prediction and annotation of neo-antigens.
Charlie holds an MB BS and first class honors degree in Cell Biology and Immunology from UCL medical schools and Ph.D. from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.