INTRODUCTION

Ajan Reginald was born in Kandy, Sri Lanka. When Ajan was five his family emigrated to England because Ajan’s father got a job as a doctor in the NHS. His father is a medical school lecturer (University of Warwick) and his mother is a clinical psychotherapist. The family settled in Coventry and Ajan first gained entrance to King Henry School and then won a scholarship to Rugby School.  For university he studied dental surgery at the London Hospital School of Medicine and Dentistry (University of London) and graduated in 1996. During school and university, Ajan played hockey in England, Holland and Germany including in the English Premier National League.

After university, Ajan practiced as a dentist in London before starting his own practice near Coventry.  In 2002, Ajan voluntarily retired from dentistry after being diagnosed with  a visual impairment that resulted from a hockey injury. Unfortunately, before being diagnosed, he had unwittingly made clinical errors and he ultimately lost his dental licence in 2005.

After retiring from dentistry, Ajan started to re-train in Business and Management and was awarded the UK Fulbright Scholarship in 2002. He graduated with an MBA from Kellogg Business School, Northwestern University in 2004 having won the Biotechnology Scholarship. He joined Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as a summer intern in 2003 and continued to work part-time through Business school to fund his education.

At BCG, Ajan specialised in Pharmaceuticals and Intellectual Property working across the US and Europe. His last client was Roche Pharmaceuticals based in Basel who asked Ajan to join in the Business Development division.  Ajan excelled as a deal maker, culminating with him winning the Roche Gold Olympiad in 2007.  He was then promoted to Global Head of Emerging Technologies for Roche Group Research with the remit to identify the most important new medicines including cell and gene therapies and other breakthrough technologies.

After ~5 years of retraining, Ajan also started the slow process of playing hockey again and started to coach junior players. He played in top level national leagues and  won selection to represent England (over 40s) in 2014 and played in the World Cup in 2016.

 

EDUCATION

King Henry VIII, Coventry; 1983 – 1988.

Rugby School; 1988 – 1990.

University of London – The London Hospital School of Medicine and Dentistry –  Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS); 1991 – 1996.

Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management – Master of Business Administration (MBA), Biotechnology; 2002 – 2004.

University of Oxford – Master of Science (MSc), Experimental Therapeutics; 2014 -2015.

 

Harvard Business School – Advanced Management Program (AMP); 2017.

CAREER

Dentist; 1996 – 2002.

The Boston Consulting Group; 2003 – 2005.

Roche Pharmaceuticals – Business Development Director – ; 2005 – 2007.

Hoffmann La Roche – Global Head of Emerging Technologies; 2007 – 2009.

Celixir (formerly Cell Therapy Limited) CEO, Co-Founder; 2009 – Present.

PRIZES

Rugby School Scholarship – 1988

Fullbright Scholarship – 2002

Kellogg Business School Biotechnology Scholarship – 2004

Roche Gold Olympiad Prize – 2007

 

CURRENT POSITION

Ajan Reginald is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Celixir (formerly known as Cell Therapy Limited), a company that he founded with Nobel Laureate, Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Celixir invents and develops cell and gene therapies for hard to treat life threatening / life changing diseases.  The company’s main focus is in cardiovascular disease and oncology.  Celixir currently has two products in late stage clinical trials and five products in pre-IND development.Ajan leads Celixir’s commercial and operational activities and he is also a co-inventor of the company’s tissue engineering technology platform and cell therapies.

Prior to founding Celixir, Ajan was Global Head of Emerging Technologies for Roche, overseeing the identification, acquisition and development of the next generation of breakthrough Biopharma technologies and products.  Ajan originally joined Roche in 2005 as Business Development Director, where he led M&A teams and major licensing transactions including the $1.3B licensing transaction with Alnylam.

Prior to Roche, Ajan was a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group where he worked in the Pharmaceuticals and Intellectual Property Groups in the USA and Switzerland. For Ajan, these roles were perfect preparation for his future, providing world class training that made him able to perform critical operations under high stress and teaching him the most hard-won skills.

From this background, Ajan founded Celixir(formerly Cell Therapy Limited) together with Professor Sir Martin Evans, a Nobel Laureate, and the first person to isolate and culture embryonic stem cells at Cambridge University in the 1980’s.

Ajan and Sir Martin started the business in 2009, working side-by-side to experiment with stem cells as a way to fix damaged heart tissue.  In those days, anyone ringing Cell Therapy Limited may have had a Nobel Prize winner answering the phone!

Today, Celixir is delivering Ajan’s ambition of marrying cutting edge science with world class business acumen and practices.  The company is using the most advanced medical technologies to develop transformative treatments for life threatening and life altering diseases with the current focus on cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Under Ajan’s leadership, Celixir has proved it is capable of rapidly translating high value cell and gene therapies from the lab into the clinic.  So far, two products have completed clinical trials with positive results.

Celixir’s lead product, Heartcel, a treatment for heart failure has completed Phase II trials and showed a reversal of heart muscle scarring when the cells were injected into heart muscle during coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.  This surprising result allows us to believe that a cure for heart failure (which is the number 1 killer in the Western world and affects over 20 million patients worldwide) may soon be available.

The team at Celixir are now also working hard to develop transformative treatments for patients suffering from cancer and we have three products currently in development which have been designed to treat solid tumours.

Mirroring his success with Celixir, Ajan has also performed at the highest level on the hockey field, representing  England at Masters (over 40s) level, and played at the 2016 World Cup and Home Nations where he scored five goals and won two silver medals.  Through playing in and coaching elite international sports teams, Ajan has learnt the importance of building and nurturing a high-performing team.

The Celixir team that Ajan leads works synergistically to achieve monumental  medical breakthroughs. Celixir’s aim is to save 25 million lives by 2030. It’s an unprecedentedly goal but one that fits our world-class team and our profound desire to win this battle against heart disease and cancer.”

PERSONAL LIFE

Ajan is married with a young son and lives in Warwickshire. He is an avid athlete and trains every day.

MEMBERSHIPS

Royal Society of Medicine
European Society of Cell and Gene Therapy
Royal Academy of Arts
Oxford and Cambridge Club

If you wish to contact Ajan, please send an email to his assistant (ceoea@celixir.com).