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Oxford Cancer Biomarkers appoints Joanna Smart as Chair of Board

14 January 2022
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Joanna Smart, an experienced Director and CEO in the life sciences sector has been appointed Non-Executive Chair of Oxford Cancer Biomarkers Ltd.

She will take a leading role in helping the company achieve its growth and funding goals at a pivotal stage of the business, building on the two recent commercial launches of cancer diagnostic tests that form the core of OCB’s suite of AI-driven clinical decision tools.

Joanna has over 20 years’ experience driving enterprise growth, corporate deal-making and technology translation in the life sciences industry across SME’s, start-ups, multinationals and investment banking.

Previously Joanna was CEO of Verso Biosense Ltd, leading the company from academic start-up to clinical stage SME and has led corporate development activities including fundraising, licensing, M&A and IPOs for public and private companies in the UK and the US.

She is currently a Non-Executive Director of Verso Biosense, Deputy Chair of the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) Challenge Award Panel and an adviser to Google For Start-ups.

Oxford Cancer Biomarkers is a spin-out from the University of Oxford, developing and commercialising a suite of AI-enabled diagnostic tools that harness the analytical capabilities of digital pathology and pharmacogenomic markers to optimise cancer treatment pathways.

The company has built a world class team consisting of industry professionals, leading scientists and oncologists and has launched two products – ToxNav® and OncoProg®– into global markets.

OCB continues to expand its portfolio with novel biomarkers and proprietary algorithms that enable clinicians to make personalised treatment recommendations based on real-world evidence and empower patients to make better-informed decisions about their own cancer therapy.

Professor David Kerr, Director and Founder of OCB, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Joanna, with her wealth of experience and perspective, as Chair of the Board. As OCB enters the next exciting stage of growth, her corporate development and governance expertise in the sector will be invaluable.’

Joanna Smart, Chair of OCB, said ‘Oxford Cancer Biomarkers is already changing the lives of cancer patients by providing clinical decision support tools that generate clinically meaningful insights to allow clinicians and patients to take a pragmatic, evidence-based approach to their treatment journey.

"I see significant potential for OCB to be a leader in the fields of digital pathology and personalised medicine and I look forward to working with the team to drive the company to commercial success and to realise value for all stakeholders.’

Peter Davison is deputy editor of The Business Magazine. He has spent his life in journalism – doing work experience in newsrooms in and around Bristol while still at school, and landing his first job on a local newspaper aged 19. By 28 he was the youngest newspaper editor in the country.

An early advocate of online news, he spent the first years of the 2000s telling his bosses that the internet posed both the biggest opportunity and greatest threat to the newspaper industry and the art of journalism. He was right on both counts.

Since 2006 he has enjoyed a career as a freelance journalist. He lives in rural Wiltshire with one wife, two children, and three cats.

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