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Start Codon Ltd.. (7/10/19). "Press Release: Start Codon Strengthens Senior Team with Key Appointments". Cambridge.

Organisations Organisation Start Codon Ltd.
  Organisation 2 Merck KGaA
  Group Merck (DE) (Group)
Products Product venture capital
  Product 2 business park management / science park management
Persons Person Rooke, Daniel (Start Codon 201907– Partner + Head of Operations before Cycle Pharmaceuticals + Taylor Wessing)
  Person 2 Holloway, Sakura (Start Codon 201907– Partner + Head of Diligence before Merck KGaA + OneVentures Pty Ltd + Benitec)

> Daniel Rooke appointed Partner and Head of Operations

> Sakura Holloway appointed Partner and Head of Diligence

Start Codon, a new model of life science and healthcare business accelerator, announced today two appointments to its senior team. Daniel Rooke has joined as Partner and Head of Operations, and Sakura Holloway as Partner and Head of Diligence. Founded earlier this year, Start Codon is a strategic initiative, which offers significant funding and support to rapidly translate the most disruptive and innovative research into world class start-up companies. Daniel’s focus will be on the negotiation of investments, follow-on funding rounds and exits, as well as the management of the group’s intellectual property. Sakura will support Start Codon’s deal flow by identifying potential companies for investment and performing due diligence. She will also act as a mentor during the acceleration program.

Daniel is a senior lawyer with expertise in the healthcare and technology sectors. He was previously the General Counsel of, and member of the management team at, Cycle Pharmaceuticals Ltd, a Cambridge-based pharmaceutical company focusing on the rare and orphan drug markets, where he built the legal team from the ground up and was heavily involved in the planning and implementation of Cycle’s global strategy and operations. Prior to moving in-house, Daniel was a senior lawyer at, amongst others, Taylor Wessing LLP where he built a practice advising a wide range of technology and healthcare clients across the UK and worldwide, ranging from start-ups to multinationals, on a variety of venture capital and private equity investments, M&A transactions, tech transfers and licensing deals.

With a technical background in biological sciences, including immunology and molecular biology, Sakura has held several key roles in intellectual property, commercial and VC investment. She joins Start Codon from Merck KGaA, where she headed up business development operations in the European life sciences sector and was involved in sourcing and evaluating technologies for in-licensing and acquisitions. Previously, Sakura was Investment Analyst at OneVentures Pty Ltd, an Australian VC firm focussed on investing in clinical stage assets in the therapeutics, medical devices and diagnostics fields. In addition to leading various deals, she was responsible for IP diligence across the healthcare team and acted as IP advisor to OneVentures’ portfolio companies. Prior to this she was IP counsel at Benitec Biopharma Ltd, Head of Commercialisation for RNAi technology at The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Director of IP at Cephalon Australia Pty Ltd (now Teva Australia), where she developed internal IP strategies and contributed to diligence activities during various in-licensing and M&A activities.

Dr Jason Mellad, CEO at Start Codon, said: “The appointments of Daniel and Sakura form part of our ambitious plans and mission to provide a new model of life science and healthcare business accelerator, with a world-class team to create maximum value for us, our investors and our investee companies. Daniel and Sakura’s industry experience and expertise will be invaluable to the companies joining our acceleration program. I look forward to working with them in our next phase, as we identify the most exciting life science and healthcare companies from around the globe.”

The first cohort of 5 companies is now being recruited. Start Codon is looking for companies with disruptive innovations that will revolutionise modern healthcare and platform technologies underpinned by strong intellectual property, with a particular emphasis on novel therapeutics, diagnostics, medtech and digital health.

Enquiries from potential candidates and investors should be directed to


Photo: For a high-resolution image please contact

Daniel Rooke
Partner & Head of Operations
Start Codon

Sakura Holloway
Partner & Head of Diligence
Start Codon

For further information, please contact:

Lorna Cuddon
Zyme Communications
Tel: +44(0)7811996942

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Notes to Editors

About Start Codon

Start Codon is a new model of life science and healthcare business accelerator, and the first in Cambridge, UK to provide companies with a combination of seed funding, facilities, mentoring and access to a dedicated team and network of industry leading contacts. Investors in Start Codon include Cambridge Innovation Capital, the Babraham Research Campus through Babraham Bioscience Technologies, Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, Dr Jonathan Milner and Dr Ian Tomlinson.

Founded to identify ideas that have the potential to impact the diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment of disease, and support their path to successful Series A funding, Start Codon aims to revolutionise the way life science and healthcare innovation is commercialised by reducing risk in investment opportunities and developing companies in the Cambridge, UK cluster that are built to succeed globally.

For more information please visit

Record changed: 2019-07-16


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