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The team helping to develop and commercialise innovative ideas

We have a dedicated and experienced team that works hand in hand with our founders to develop their innovative ideas, build their company and drive that company forward to help to secure follow on financing

The team

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    Dr Jason Mellad

    Co-Founder and CEO


    Jason is Start Codon's Co-Founder and CEO and is responsible for developing and implementing its strategy, managing and dealing with investor relations and working closely with Start Codon's portfolio companies to set and monitor their progress and to help them secure further investment and non-dilutive finance. Jason regularly sits as a director or observer on the boards of Start Codon's portoflio companies.

    Jason is a scientist entrepreneur passionate about translating innovative technologies into more effective therapies and better patient outcomes. Previously, he was CEO of Cambridge Epigenetix which has developed a proprietary epigenetic biomarker discovery platform for the development of new diagnostic assays and the identification of novel drug targets. While at Cambridge Epigenetix, Jason transformed the research tools company into a leading liquid biopsy player and led two successful fundraises (Series B and C) for a total of $49.8m.

    Prior to joining Cambridge Epigenetix, Jason was a Business Development Manager for Horizon Discovery’s diagnostics division where he was responsible for developing and launching new reference standards for genomic clinical assays. He also served as an Associate at Cambridge Enterprise, the technology transfer office of the University of Cambridge, where he managed a broad intellectual property portfolio and fostered new spinouts.

    Jason was awarded a Marshall Scholarship to obtain his PhD in Medicine from Clare College, University of Cambridge with a focus on vascular biology. He has a BSc (Summa Cum Laude) in Molecular Biology and Chemistry from Tulane University.

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    Daniel Rooke

    Co-Founder and COO


    Daniel Rooke is Start Codon's Co-Founder and COO and is responsible for managing the operations of each of Start Codon's group companies, dealing with all legal matters related to Start Codon and its investments and providing strategic, legal and operational support to Start Codon's portfolio companies to increase their value and position them appropriately for their next round of fundraising. Daniel also sits as a director or observer on some of the boards of Start Codon's portfolio companies.

    Daniel is an entrepreneur with expertise gathered over many years working in the healthcare/life sciences and technology sectors. Daniel is a lawyer by background and has held positions as a General Counsel at a Cambridge-based but US focused pharmaceutical company operating in the rare and orphan drug space, and as a senior venture capital and M&A lawyer at, amongst others, international law firm Taylor Wessing. Whilst in private practice, Daniel was rated in various legal guides as a “leading individual” for venture capital investments, and has completed several hundred fundraising rounds over his career.

    Daniel sits on the Consulting Editorial Board for Life Sciences at Lexis PSL (part of Lexis Nexis), is a contributing author for Practical Law’s life sciences resources and is also a lecturer and mentor on the Cambridge Judge Business School’s "EnterpriseTECH" and “EnterpriseTECH STARS” programmes, that focus on mentoring the next generation of scientific and business leaders in Cambridge. Daniel holds a law degree (LLB) and post graduate qualifications in law.

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    Emma Plowman

    Director of Talent


    Emma is Start Codon's Talent Director and is responsible for running the Start Codon Talent programme and helping Start Codon's portfolio companies to effectively plan and implement their people strategies. This includes building partnerships and collaborations internally and with industry to develop an innovative approach to finding, developing, and supporting talent for Start Codon and its portfolio companies.

    Emma has over 20 years' experience in developing people and talent and is passionate about supporting organisations to develop simple, business focused and innovative people outcomes. Emma has held senior roles across several organisations such as arm and AstraZeneca. More recently Emma developed and implemented a transformational culture programme at Anglian Water and, outside of Start Codon, works with a portfolio of small and scale up companies to help them build innovative businesses.

    Emma is passionate about supporting her community and in developing routes to work for those in society that might not have been given the right opportunities. She is passionate about building communities and connecting people. Emma is known for her no-nonsense practical approach delivering people outcomes that really contribute to business success.

    Emma has an Economics Degree from Kingston University, has undertaken Postgraduate studies in the Psychology of Management and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

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    Michael Salako

    Investment Director


    Michael is Start Codon's Investment Director and is responsible for managing Start Codon's deal flow pipeline, performing deep technical analysis and market assessments of exciting technologies and providing ongoing strategic support and advice to Start Codon's portfolio companies. Michael also sits as a director or observer on some of the boards of Start Codon's portfolio companies.

    Michael has both broad scientific and commercial expertise. With a strong passion for facilitating entrepreneurship, he worked for 10 years at Cancer Research UK, focused on identifying, developing, transacting and seed-investing in next-generation oncology programmes and spin-out opportunities (both within and outside the charity’s network).

    Michael has a first-class degree in Biochemistry, a PhD in Molecular Virology and Molecular Toxicology, an MBA focused on finance and entrepreneurship, postdoctoral experience in immuno-oncology, drug discovery expertise to Principal Scientist level and is a Certified Licensing Professional. He is the recipient of a number of awards and is an active and frequent speaker, panellist and judge on the life science/healthcare startup scene.

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    Robert Gorton



    Robert is the part time CFO of Start Codon and is responsible for overseeing the finance function, as well as providing strategic and operational support to the fund and its management company.

    Robert was previously a venture capitalist and a member of the investment committee at a technology, internet and media fund in London, which was successful in achieving a top decile investment performance. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant having trained with KPMG and worked for several years in KPMG’s Corporate Finance London office in a M&A team, advising on disposals, acquisitions and corporate valuations.

    As well as the above professional roles, Robert has hands-on operational and commercial experience, having founded the Internet’s first dedicated fashion e-commerce search engine. Robert acted as the combined CEO and CFO of this business, which achieved rapid revenue growth and multiple industry awards, before it was acquired by one of the world’s largest media companies listed on the NYSE.

    Currently, Robert works as a financial and strategic adviser and CFO to fast growth private equity and venture capital backed companies.

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    Jennie Redstall

    Head of Community and Programme


    Jennie is Start Codon’s Head of Community and Programme - working with Start Codon's portfolio companies to help them on the path to success.

    Her role is all about fostering the community and enabling our family of startups to access the resources, skills and knowledge needed to thrive. This is achieved through our innovative START Programme, by engaging with an extensive network of partners, and by sharing her own expertise with our companies.

    Jennie has over 25 years of event management experience and has worked across a variety of 'People' functions in the last two decades. For the last 12 years, she has specialised in communications and engagement, which has included heading up global teams and driving equality, diversity and inclusion progress. She’s worked across a range of sectors, including education, technology and academic publishing; always bringing a passion for communicating complex subjects to a wide variety of audiences.

    A big-picture thinker, who isn’t afraid to dive into the details, Jennie is all about working with purpose, making connections and driving engagement. She holds a degree in Language Studies (linguistics with German) from the Open University and an MA in Internal Communication Management from Kingston University. She has also completed her PGDip in HR Management, is a qualified change manager, and holds a proofreading and editing diploma.

    Outside work, Jennie often volunteers her time and skills to non-profit organisations - whether coaching girls’ rugby, coordinating charity events or providing professional advice to charities.

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    Helen Slack

    Senior Executive Assistant


    Helen is Start Codon’s Executive Assistant, making sure the whole organisation runs smoothly and works across the team managing diaries, events, supporting the portfolio and is a key member of the team. Helen ensures that our founders and portfolio companies get time with the Start Codon team and other contributors in our network. As a Venture Studio ensuring that we have operational support is critical as it enables us to deliver the programme and directly contributes to the success of the portfolio. Helen is part of the Cambridge PA forum spending time with peers and colleagues driving change and innovation in her profession.

    Before Start Codon Helen was a member of the team at Cambridge Innovation Capital and was a Practice Manager for a GP surgery.

    Helen has spent her career in healthcare because she has a passion for giving back to her community and being involved in public purpose endeavours.

    Helen is passionate about the theatre, music and festivals. She spends most of her free time with her family and friends and walking with her rescue dog.


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