Les has been CEO of OrganOx, a University of Oxford spinout company, since its formation in 2008. He holds first class honours and PhD degrees in Chemistry from the University of London and has extensive experience in the medical devices industry. Early in his career he worked in R&D with Ciba Corning developing sensor technologies for blood analysis before moving into business development, marketing and general management roles with early stage and multi-national corporations including Byk Gulden and Baxter. He also has experience of leading smaller companies through institutional fund-raisings, an IPO on AIM, an acquisition and securing additional funds from institutional investors.
Les has led OrganOx through 5 funding rounds and development of the OrganOx metra normothermic liver perfusion device from laboratory bench to pivotal clinical studies and full commercialisation and helped secure 3 grants for additional clinical studies and further development.
What is your background? What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I spent the first 15-20 years of my career working in R&D which is a good training ground for an entrepreneur and also spent 5 years developing emerging markets for a major multinational healthcare company, Baxter Healthcare
A vision to do something different and to stimulate change largely through your own efforts.
After the first meeting with the other founders of the company.
So what would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?
Persistence, self-belief and communication skills.
The buzz of achievement and recognition.
Richard Branson. A true inspirational visionary who has created a unique global brand from nothing and maintained integrity and respect.
What was the darkest moment in your career and how did you overcome it.
Seeing the first patient transplanted with a liver which had been preserved on our device, the OrganOx metra.
Listening to so-called “experts” and not having my own self-belief. This taught me to listen but then act on your own judgement as everyone else may have a different agenda.
How have you funded your ideas? Are there any sector-specific awards/grants/competitions that have helped you?
We have secured 5 rounds of funding supported by grants from the NHS, EU and UK Govt.
What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?
Good: access to top class science and knowledge base of entrepreneurs who have “been there, done that” and learning from them.
Bad: traffic getting into Oxford. Poor road infrastructure and parking. Very high property prices for younger employees.
If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship resources, where would you send them?
Oxfordshire Bioscience Network, AHSN, OSI, Said Business School.
Go for it……….you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.