ApconiX Welcomes Dr Kerry Illston

Dr Kerry Illston

ApconiX is delighted to welcome Dr Kerry Illston who joins the team of nonclinical safety experts and will be working with Dr Richard Knight. Kerry is an experienced Project Manager with over 25 years’ experience in molecular toxicology, new target identification/validation and nonclinical safety within large pharmaceutical and biotech companies and contract research organisations.

Academic Career

Kerry studied for a BSc in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Birmingham before going on to research the “Isolation and Characterisation of an Altered Specificity Mutant of the Escherichia coli RNA Polymerase σ70 Subunit” in the Molecular Genetics Department at Birmingham for her PhD.

Work Experience

Kerry joined Cobra Therapeutics after completing her PhD as a Senior Molecular Biologist developing vectors for gene therapy.  She then became Associate Head, Predictive Screening Development – Toxicogenomic Mechanisms, at GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals initiating and developing novel genomic based predictive toxicology screens to support the prioritisation of compounds for drug development and exploiting genomics to unravel mechanisms of action for compounds in drug development.

Joining Oxagen Ltd, Kerry helped establish the Gene & Expression Analysis group implementing expression analysis tools as core technologies for the Target Discovery department.  Kerry was also a lead project manager for the identification of novel GPCR drug targets based on expression profiles in control and diseased tissues. Moving into the Drug Development team, Kerry was a key member of the team recognised for the development of novel functional screening assays to identify potential anti-inflammatory agents against GPCR targets gaining insights into the biology of high-profile drug discovery projects in inflammation and autoimmune disease.

Kerry worked for Sequani for 17 years becoming an accomplished Nonclinical Programme Manager with a strong background in driving complex, valuable, high profile drug development programmes. Managing a variety of nonclinical programmes, including development activities from candidate selection through CTA and IND submission, Kerry oversaw all elements of projects including General & Reproductive Toxicology, Genetic Toxicology, Safety Pharmacology, Dose Formulation Analysis, Bioanalysis, Dispensary, Pathology, Bioscience and SEND.

Kerry commented, “Being organised and getting things done has always been my driver.  I still love the science so being involved in different disease areas and targets still fuels that love.”

Working at ApconiX

Kerry added, “I wanted to move from a large company to a smaller company where I could be more involved in the science and get closer to the client.  Establishing and growing relationships is very important to me and ApconiX fits the bill perfectly.”

Richard added “It’s great to have someone with Kerry’s varied scientific background join the ApconiX team.  Her range of skills and experience is already proving really valuable in support of our clients, and they love working with her.”

Interests Outside Work

Kerry particularly enjoys walking in the Malvern Hills near where she lives.