Management Team

Our management team is highly experienced in a variety of relevant sectors, from molecular biology and genetics to finance and investment banking. This combination of skill sets enables the team to effectively execute our business plan.

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Ali Mortazavi

Chief Executive Officer

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David Ellam

Chief Financial Officer

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Dmitry Samarsky, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

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Torsten Hoffmann, PhD

Chief Operating Officer

Ali Mortazavi

Chief Executive Officer

Ali joined Silence in 2012, initially serving as Head of Strategy, and lead the refinancing and refocusing of the business. He has extensive expertise in UK small companies, particularly in biotechnology and technology investments and ventures. Ali has over 17 years’ experience in finance having co-founded Evolution Securities in 2001, heading up the Group’s principal trading division. Ali is an International Master of chess and has written numerous books and publications on chess openings and strategies.

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Appointed

May 2013

Areas of expertise

Corporate finance, algorithmic trading, investment research and computer programming.

Current external roles

None

David Ellam

Chief Financial Officer

David was appointed Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary of Silence in July 2016. David holds a B.A. in English & Philosophy from Birmingham University, and is a qualified chartered accountant.

Prior to joining Silence, David’s relevant Biotech experience includes several senior finance roles within both UK and US publicly owned life science companies, most recently as Senior EUMEA Finance Director for BioMarin Pharmaceuticals Inc. from 2010 to 2016. Prior to that he was CFO at Plethora Solutions plc (2008-2009), and Group Financial Controller at Ark Therapeutics from 2001 to 2008, during which time Ark undertook an IPO on the London Stock Exchange.

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Appointed

July 2016

Areas of expertise

Finance, applied to the biotechnology industry.

Current external roles

None

Dmitry Samarsky, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr Samarsky brings outstanding and highly relevant expertise in RNA therapeutics with a strong track record in the discovery and development of RNA therapeutics. During his career he has authored numerous articles in high impact scientific journals, book chapters and patents and presented, chaired and advised on the subject at more than 100 international scientific conferences. Widely recognised as an expert in the oligonucleotide field, he joined Silence from OliX Pharmaceuticals where he held the position of Senior VP of Technology and Global Business Development. Previously, as Senior VP of Technology and International Business Development at RiboBio, Dmitry played a pivotal role in placing the company amongst the international players in the oligonucleotide field between 2011 and 2015. Prior to that, Dmitry served as Vice President of Technology Development of RXi Pharmaceuticals from 2007 to 2011, co-inventing and developing the company’s key self-delivering RNAi technology. He was previously Director of Technology Development at Dharmacon, while leading an RNAi application laboratory and field application scientists. His career includes postdoctoral work as H. Arthur Smith Fellow for Cancer Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, graduate research at the Institute of Molecular Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences and a BSc in Biochemistry from the National University of Lviv, Ukraine.

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Appointed

September 2016

Areas of expertise

Biology of small non-coding RNAs, gene expression and regulation, RNA interference and antisense technologies, drug development.

Current external roles

Memberships: Scientific Advisory Council of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society (OTS). Scientific Advisory Board of TIDES, EuroTIDES and AsiaTIDES. Scientific council at the Canton Nucleic Acids Forum (CNAF). The distinguished editorial board of the Journal of RNAi and Gene Silencing.

Torsten Hoffmann, PhD

Chief Operating Officer

Torsten joined Silence as Chief Operating Officer in June 2017. He has over 20 years of international R&D management experience. Prior to joining Silence, Torsten served as Chief Scientific Officer and Managing Director at Proteros from July 2015, and before then as Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President at Zealand Pharma from July 2013. He previously spent 16 years at Roche in roles of increasing responsibility up to Site Head of Medicinal Chemistry at the company head quarter in Switzerland, and Head of the Global Roche Postdoc fellowship program.
Torsten is the lead inventor of the anti-emetic medicine Netupitant, discovered at Roche and approved by the FDA as Akynzeo© in 2014.

Torsten has a PhD in Chemistry from the ETH Zürich, Switzerland, which was followed by a role as research associate at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. He has authored more than 85 publications, patent applications and published conference reports and has served on advisory boards. His awards include the Feodor Lynen award and a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany.

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Appointed

June 2017

Areas of expertise

RNAi therapeutics, peptides and small molecules, drug candidate progression to clinical development, R&D management.

Current external roles

Memberships: Member of the Corporate Advisory Board of Elsevier Life Sciences, Member of the American Chemical Society and the Swiss Chemical Society.