Two alumni of the Institute of Biotechnology provide invaluable inspiration, guidance and practical support to the research and business students currently studying in the department. In their professional lives both Dr Darrin Disley and Dr Sridhar Iyengar have recognised the opportunity afforded by a scientific advance and applied their business and leadership skills to build significant technology companies. Despite the demands on their time in their own companies, both are extremely generous in offering their expertise and time to help the next generation of entrepreneurs studying in the department.
Dr Darrin M. Disley
Darrin is a parallel entrepreneur, angel investor and enterprise champion. He has been involved in the start-up and growth of numerous business ventures securing over $320 million business financing from grant, angel, corporate, venture capital and public market sources as well as closing over $500 million of product, service, licensing and M&A deals.
He is currently the CEO and President of Horizon Discovery Group plc a company he led from a $275 thousand seed funding in March 2008 to a $113 million fund-raise at IPO (2.8X oversubscribed) exactly 6 years later. The funds raised by the IPO set a new record for a life science company on the AIM market and were the second largest by any research tools company in a London listing.
In 2012, he was named Business Leader of the Year at the European Life Science Awards, in 2014 was named biotech and pharma Executive of the Year by Scrip and in 2015 was named UK Quoted Company Entrepreneur of the Year, Cambridge Business Person of the Year and one of the 175 Faces of Chemistry by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Darrin supports education, entrepreneurship and mentoring programs in the UK via the Professor Christopher R Lowe Carpe Diem Enterprise Fund and has backed over 30 start-up life science, technology and social enterprises. This led to him recently being conferred with a lifetime-held Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion in the 2016 birthday honours list.
He is an Honorary Fellow at the Judge Business School and Enterprise Fellow at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Institute of Biotechnology both at the University of Cambridge and an advisor on science and industry to the University of Salford. He is currently Director and co-founder of Avvinity Therapeutics Ltd and GeoSpock Ltd, Chairman of Desktop Genetics Ltd, Director of Celixir Ltd and HealX Ltd, Board Member of the UK Bioindustry Association, Chairman of Trustees at Footprint Cafes CIO and serves on the advisory boards of Axol Bioscience Ltd, Biotech and Money, the Cambridge Science Centre, the Cambridge Phenomenon, GeneAdviser Ltd and SimPrints.
Dr Sridhar Iyengar
Co-founder, Misfit Wearables, Inc.
Previously Co Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Agamatrix, Salem, NH, USA
Sridhar obtained his Ph.D. as a Marshall Scholar and later, in 2000, co-founded Agamatrix, Inc. http://agamatrix.com/. As Chief Technology Officer and Director, drawing on his many years of research and engineering experience in the mathematical modeling of chemical systems, he implemented of the company’s technology vision. This work has resulted in the launch of numerous products for the control of diabetes, including the range of glucose-monitoring devices marketed under the WaveSense brand and the iPhone-connected meter sold by Sanofi under the brand IBGStar, the first approval by the FDA of a smartphone associated diagnostic device. Sridhar has of late turned his full attention to Misfit Wearables Inc, http://www.misfitwearables.com a company he co-established in 2011 and that is focused on developing wearable products in the consumer wellness and fitness device space.