Meet Oxford’s Female Founders

11th March 2021 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
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In partnership with Oxford Sciences Innovation we are celebrating International Women’s Day and will be marking the occasion with an informal fireside chat event via Zoom.

You are invited to meet four of OSI’s incredible female founders, each one of them responsible for leading a world-changing company, built on Oxford science, whilst also championing the representation of Women in tech, science and executive positions.

Ilana Wisby, Oxford Quantum Circuits

Caroline Godfrey, PepGen

Danuta Jeziorska, Nucleome Therapeutics

Rosamond Deegan, Omass Therapeutics

Our female founders will reflect on their own personal journeys as women leading Oxford University spin-outs and discuss the opportunities, challenges and ideas to champion and support the advancement and representation of women.

The event will be chaired by Kate O’Brien, Head of Legal & Company Secretary, Oxford Sciences Innovations. Kate is passionate about advancing female corporate representation and entrepreneurship, and is currently spearheading OSI’s commitment to the Investing in Women Code.

Find out more about these amazing Women Leaders in their biographies below.

From Quantum computing to decoding the nucleome to the development of much needed treatments. These Women represent just a small selection of Women Leaders across Oxford.


Kate O’Brien, Head of Legal & Company Secretary, Oxford Sciences Innovations

Kate joined OSI in 2017. Previously, Kate practiced at Herbert Smith Freehills in London and Paris. Prior to this, she worked as an attaché to the British Embassy in Paris. Kate holds an MA in Jurisprudence from the University of Oxford, and spent a year studying Spanish Law and Catalan Law at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. At OSI, Kate provides guidance to the team on the negotiation and execution of investments, as well as general corporate, commercial and IP matters. She is also OSI’s company secretary and advises the Board on corporate and governance matters. She has a keen interest in regulatory and policy reform in the deep tech and venture space, and leads OSI’s engagement in this area.

Ilana Wisby, Founding CEO and Director, Oxford Quantum Circuits

Ilana is the Founding CEO of OQC. In her role she is responsible for setting the strategy and direction of the company, defining and modelling our culture and values, building and leading OQC’s senior team, and for allocating resources to the company’s priorities. Ultimately, Ilana makes sure that OQC remains at the forefront of the quantum revolution. Thanks to her academic background, having gained a PhD in quantum physics from Royal Holloway, University of London, where she spent most of her PhD as a student in industry at the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, she’s also providing technical input in the design of our quantum computer. Ilana’s ambitions can be summed up in a single word that comes up a lot in a conversation with her: impact. Not just in the fledging quantum computing industry, but in the world writ. She believes in pushing the boundaries and doing things that have never been done before, thanks to quantum computing. Ilana takes pride in breaking grounds on multiple levels: as a pioneer in quantum physics and as an executive woman in tech.

Caroline Godfrey, SVP Discovery & Academic Founder, PepGen

Following work in genetics in both the private and public setting, Caroline completed her PhD at University College London under the supervision of Professor Francesco Muntoni. Caroline then moved to the University of Oxford to develop drug delivery technologies. This work was conducted under the guidance of Professor Matthew Wood and Dr Mike Gait, and served as a major part of the research underpinning PepGen’s technology platform. Caroline played a key role in the establishment of PepGen, and was instrumental in raising investment to support the company’s growth and development.

Danuta Jeziorska, Founder & CEO, Nucleome Therapeutics

Danuta is a Founder and CEO of Nucleome Therapeutics and an Honorary Senior Scientist at the University of Oxford. Previously, she co-founded Innovation Forum Oxford, for which she was recognised as one of the Movers and Shakers in BioBusiness in 2018. Her scientific expertise lies in decrypting how genes are regulated, a field which she has been working on over the last 12 years.

Rosamond Deegan, CEO, Omass Therapeutics

Ros Deegan joined OMass Therapeutics as CEO in May 2019 from Bicycle Therapeutics where she served as President, Chief Business Officer and a Director of the US subsidiary of the Company. Ros established the company’s Boston-based subsidiary and over a three-year period led three major transactions and grew the US organisation to more than 20 employees. Prior to that Ros served as Senior Vice President, Business Development and Operations at Trevena, Inc, where she had previously held the role of Head of Finance and Operations. During Ros’ tenure at Bicycle and Trevena, the companies moved four programmes into the clinic, and raised over $300 million in private and public financings. In her earlier career, Ros was Director of Business Development at GSK in the US and, prior to that, she served as Director of Operations for GSK’s Centre of Excellence for External Drug Discovery (CEED) and as Marketing Manager for GSK’s UK launch of Bonviva for post-menopausal osteoporosis. Ros is a graduate of Cambridge University and received her MBA with distinction from INSEAD.

IDEA Oxford

IDEA (Increasing Diversity in Enterprising Activities) is a new initiative from the University of Oxford, designed to tackle some of the key challenges and inequalities faced by groups who are currently vastly underrepresented in enterprise and industry across the world. The first in a suite of IDEA initiatives is aimed at empowering, inspiring, connecting and upskilling more women leaders, business founders and pioneers.

Why do we need this?

The playing field is not, and has never been, level. Globally, women hold fewer than a quarter of senior leadership positions, and last year less than 2% of European tech investment capital went to female founders. The UK government’s 2019 Alison Rose Review highlights gender inequalities throughout the entrepreneurial life cycle, showing that women entrepreneurs are at a disadvantage every step of the way. We need to act now to change this picture for current and future generations of women, and to create the conditions that will enable significantly more women to become leaders and entrepreneurs.


11th March 2021
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
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