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.

  • Ian Tomlinson

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    Dr Ian Tomlinson



    Ian Tomlinson has over 30 years of experience in the lifesciences sector from academic research to biotech startup to big pharma. He co-founded Domantis Limited with Sir Gregory Winter, which was acquired by GSK for $454 million. He then served as Senior VP, Head of Worldwide Business Development and Head of Biopharm R&D at GSK, where he led an ambitious strategy to grow GSK's pipeline of clinical stage biopharmaceuticals from under 10% in 2008 to over 50% by 2016.

    Following his departure from GSK, he chaired the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, the UK's first open innovation biomedical campus and is currently chair of Apollo Therapeutics, a unique venture dedicated to turning academic biotechnologies into cutting edge medicines in collaboration with Astrazeneca, GSK, J&J, Imperial College, UCL and the University of Cambridge and Start Codon, first life sciences accelerator based in Cambridge, UK, that aims to nurture vibrant new lifescience companies that are built to succeed globally.

    Dr Tomlinson graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, UK. He then spent 11 years at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, where he worked on antibody genes, antibody structure and various antibody technologies prior to starting his career in industry.

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    Michael Salako PhD, MBA

    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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    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 strategy. 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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