About Us

MarraBio started as a spinout from Professor Jeremy Lakey’s laboratory at Newcastle University in 2023, with the goal of commercialising the Caf1 technology that had been pioneered there.

Our Story

Although Caf1 has been the subject of many studies in the field of vaccine research, it was Prof. Lakey who first thought of using it as a biomaterial in 2011.

After multiple academic studies demonstrated the useful properties of Caf1 and how it might be developed for use in various applications, the team decided to form MarraBio to further develop the technology and bring it to market.

After a successful seed funding round in 2023 with investment funds from CPI Enterprise, Maven Capital Partners, Northstar Ventures and TCS Biosciences Ltd., the team has grown and is focused on the mission of using engineered Caf1 proteins to improve and simplify mammalian cell culture, to accelerate research and new technology development and democratise advanced therapies.

Our Team

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Aidan Courtney

Executive Chair

Aidan has over 20 years’ experience of establishing and building companies in life science and other technology sectors. He has worked with the founders since before incorporation of MarraBio to develop the company’s strategy.

Aidan brings deep knowledge of the cell therapy and cell based drug discovery sectors having co-founded five companies in these fields. These include Roslin Cells (2006) and its two spin outs, Roslin CT and Censo Biotechnologies. In 2012/2013 while CEO of RC, he led the creation of the EBiSC consortium which consisted of 28 commercial and academic research partners across nine EU countries to create the European repository for induced Pluripotent Stem Cells with €22 million grant from the EU.

He is currently Non-executive Chairman of the cell therapy company VascVersawhich recent spun out from Queen’s University Belfast and is also an adviser to the IBMT Fraunhofer Institute in Berlin. Aidan has a degree in Economics from Cambridge University, a Masters degree in Innovation Technology Law from Edinburgh University and is a qualified accountant. He has served on numerous UK based industry advisory committees including the KTN Heath Advisory Committee.

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Dr. Daniel Peters

CEO

Daniel has 7 years’ experience working on the Caf1 project and has published numerous papers on engineered and native Caf1, as both first and senior author. Working as a post-doctoral researcher in the Lakey laboratory, he has focussed on the design, engineering and characterisation of proteins.

Dan began his career at the University of York, completing his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry before staying on to complete a PhD, investigating the structural biology of protein/RNA complexes. A brief post-doctoral position studying engineered protein nanorods ignited his interest in protein engineering, after which he joined Prof. Jeremy Lakey’s group in Newcastle in 2015

Since 2020 Daniel has combined his academic research with commercialisation training. He has completed the "Future Founders" workshop, the BIA PULSE training programme, and the ICURe programme as an ECR in cohort 35.  The conclusion of his ICURe project was a recommendation by the expert panel that the Caf1 technology should be developed through a spin-our company. This aligns with Daniel’s own strong interest in the commercialisation of research, believing it to be the best way of translating discoveries from the lab bench and into society.

Jeremy Lakey

Prof. Jeremy Lakey

CSO

Jeremy is Professor of Structural Biochemistry at Newcastle University and co-founder of Orla Protein Technologies Ltd. Throughout his career he has used his expertise in protein biophysical chemistry to develop new products. He has also collaborated closely with the bioprocessing industry to develop new analytical methods.

The Caf1 project began in his laboratory with a focus on vaccine development before the surprise discovery that it is an excellent biomaterial. He has over 200 publications, 3 granted patents and an H-index of over 50. His experience of both the academic science and its commercial exploitation will prove invaluable for the project’s success.

Helen Waller

Dr. Helen Waller

CTO

Helen has over 20 years’ experience in her current role as a Senior Research Technician and Laboratory Manager in the Lakey research group at Newcastle University and over 9 years hands on experience with the Caf1 project. She has been involved in many of their outstanding research projects and is author and co-author on over 40 publications.

In her early career Helen worked in industry as a laboratory technician for Lamp Metals Ltd. after which she gained an 1st Class Honours Degree in Analytical Chemistry followed by a PhD in Biochemistry. Her expertise is in the scalable production and purification of proteins using bacterial fermentation and in recent years she has pioneered a scalable and cost efficientproduction and purification process for Caf1.

Emma Corbin

Dr. Emma Corbin

Senior Cell Biologist

Emma originally moved to Newcastle to complete her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry. During this time, she was awarded a Wellcome Trust summer studentship which launched her enthusiasm for the lab and set her sights on a PhD.

Emma has recently completed her PhD which studied wonderfully complex cellular signalling pathways in cancer cells. Through her studies she has gained expertise in cell biology, molecular biology, and cell signalling. Emma’s experience will be harnessed to continue the development of using Caf1 in cell culture systems.

Lucy Young

Lucy Young

Production / Research Technician

Lucy joined MarraBio in 2023 as a Research/Production technician following completion of her BSc in Biochemistry from Newcastle University.

Her work focuses on producing and characterising the Caf1 proteins using a wide range of biochemical and biophysical techniques.

Izzie Brindle

Izzie Brindle

Production / Research Technician

Izzie joined MarraBio in 2023 as a Research/Production technician following completion of her BSc in Biochemistry from Newcastle University.

Her work focuses on testing the bioactivity of the Caf1 proteins with a variety of different cell types, including iPSCs and MSCs.