Management Team

Steve Webber


Chief Scientific Officer

Steve joined TopiVert in 2011 as Chief Scientific Officer with the additional responsibility for managing day to day company operations as well as leading the development of the company’s technology and pipeline. He is an Executive Director of TopiVert.

Steve has 18 years of experience working in all phases of drug discovery, from target identification through to Phase I clinical trials. He moved to TopiVert from his previous role as Senior Director of Drug Discovery at Almirall Pharma in Barcelona. Steve also held positions of increasing responsibility in Rhone-Poulenc Rorer and Aventis and was Vice President of Biology in the Respiratory CEDD in GlaxoSmithKline. 

Steve trained as a pharmacologist, with degrees from Portsmouth Polytechnic (BSc) and University College London (PhD), and is an author on over 100 peer-reviewed publications.

Ajay Duggal

MB ChB, MRCP, Dip Pharm Med

Chief Medical Officer

Ajay joined TopiVert in January 2015 to provide medical oversight on TopiVert's programs.

Ajay has 15 years of experience in drug development and has been involved in many successful global regulatory submissions and approvals for small molecules, biologics, peptides, polymers and anti-sense platforms, as well as taking compounds from bench to bedside. His broad experience spans all phases of drug development, organisational leadership and portfolio prioritisation and strategy. Ajay was previously VP and Global Therapy Area Head for General Medicine at Takeda, with leadership responsibility for clinical development activities across multiple therapy areas including GI, renal, bone, pain, urology and women’s health. Ajay has also held positions at Genzyme, Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS).

Ajay qualified from Sheffield University Medical School and subsequently gained MRCP and the Diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine.

Matthew Fyfe


Head of Chemistry

Matthew joined TopiVert at its inception in 2011 to spearhead its medicinal chemistry, CMC and intellectual property activities.

He has 16 years of experience as a medicinal chemist and drug discoverer, having formerly held the position of Director of Drug Discovery at Oryzon in Barcelona and Director of Medicinal Chemistry at Prosidion in Oxford. Matthew successfully led multiple projects in different therapeutic areas that have been purchased by major pharma companies.

Matthew obtained degrees from the University of Glasgow (BSc), Columbia University (MA) and the University of Birmingham (PhD) prior to postdoctoral studies at UCLA. He is a Chartered Chemist, a Fellow of The Royal Society of Chemistry, an author of more than 40 peer-reviewed publications and an inventor on over 70 patent applications.

Adele Rowley


Head of Preclinical Projects and IBD Program Leader

Adele joined TopiVert in October 2012 to direct preclinical development of the company’s advanced NSKIs and to act as Program Lead for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. She is also responsible for overall project portfolio strategy.

Adele has over 20 years of drug discovery experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry ranging from target discovery and validation to early stage clinical development. She previously held the position of Director of Therapeutics at Cellzome in Cambridge, UK where she was a co-founder, and prior to this held roles of increasing responsibility at GlaxoSmithKline.

Adele has a degree in Biology from the University of Bath and received her PhD in from Dalhousie University in Canada before undertaking postdoctoral studies at Cancer Research UK. She has authored over 20 scientific publications and is an elected fellow of The Royal Society of Biology.

Mike Taylor


Head of Clinical Development

Mike joined TopiVert as Head of Clinical Development in August 2014 to lead TopiVert’s innovative clinical research programmes, including the TOP1288 Phase 1 study and proof of concept study in ulcerative colitis.  

Mike has over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry having held roles of increasing responsibility leading successful drug development strategies from First in Human clinical trials to marketing authorisation. He was previously Managing Director of Sunovion Europe, the London based drug development subsidiary of a top 10 Japanese pharmaceutical company and prior to that was Head of Clinical Operations at Astra UK.

He has a Pharmacology PhD from the University of London and a Certificate in Company Direction awarded by the Institute of Directors.

Nick Staples


Chief Business Officer

Nick has more than 20 years’ industry experience in life sciences, healthcare and capital markets worldwide, having led a range of international transactions and strategic projects including M&A, fundraising (more than £100 million to date), licensing, divestments and new business ventures.

He is also CBO at Artios Pharma Ltd and his previous positions include senior corporate and business development roles at USUS Lifesciences Consulting, Vectura, SSL International (acquired by Reckitt Benckiser in 2010) and Protherics (acquired by BTG in 2008). He was also formerly a life sciences equity analyst at WestLB Panmure and a management consultant in life sciences at PA Consulting.

Nick gained a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Cambridge and a BSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Leeds.

Claire Walshe


Head of Biology

Claire joined TopiVert in 2011 to lead the Company’s biology team, with responsibility for compound testing, the translation of preclinical results to humans and for developing human biomarkers. She is also the Project Leader for TopiVert’s ophthalmology programme.

She moved to TopiVert from Molecular Vision, another Imperial Incubator company, where she was Assay Development Manager.  Claire has also held positions at Arana Therapeutics, Boston Scientific and in the CV group at RVC, University of London.

Claire holds a PhD in Immunology and Immunotherapy from Southampton University.