Management Team

Levicept has a highly experienced Board and Senior Management Team with extensive experience in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Furthermore, Levicept has brought together a multidisciplinary team of pharmaceutical consultants to complement its own core internal expertise to assist in the development of p75NTR-Fc.


Simon Westbrook - CEO and Founder

Simon has a strong track record of innovation and delivery of drug development programmes with 20 years of drug discovery and development experience, including 15 years at Pfizer Sandwich UK. Simon has played pivotal roles in progressing novel, successful projects from conception of idea to delivery of clinical data. Simon is the named inventor on numerous patents, including p75NTR-Fc for the treatment of pain. He was a team member of four programmes that achieved positive readout in proof-of-concept phase II clinical trials, of which he is the co-inventor of three.

Kevin Johnson - Executive Chairman

Kevin has been working with Index Ventures since 2003, focusing on drug development companies, including Acutus Inc, B3NGF and Levicept . Prior to joining Index, Kevin was CEO of PanGenetics, an antibody development company and Index investment that was acquired by Abbott. During his career at Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT), including Head of Research and board membership as Research Director and Chief Technology Officer, he led development of CAT’s platform technologies and their application in the discovery of a number of antibodies currently in clinical development. Two of these, Humira (Abbott Pharmaceutical) and Benlysta (GlaxoSmithKline), are now on the market.

Giuseppe Zocco

Giuseppe is a co-founder and Partner at Medicxi. Prior to Medicxi, Giuseppe co-founded Index Ventures in 1996. He co-led the team that launched Index’s first growth fund in 2007 and, in 2016, had a leading role in the launch of Medicxi’s first growth fund. Giuseppe currently serves on the board of a number of Index and Medicxi portfolio companies, including Levicept.

Giuseppe’s prior investments include Micromet Inc. (acquired by Amgen) and Ariad (NASDAQ: ARIA, acquired by Takeda).

Prior to co-founding Index, Giuseppe spent five years as a consultant with McKinsey.

Giuseppe received a BA in Corporate Finance from the Bocconi University in Milan and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Giuseppe serves on the Board of Directors of the Stanford Alumni Association, Stanford University.

Raj Parekh

Raj is a general partner at Advent, having joined in 2005. He has over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur and investor in the life sciences. He has served on the Board of several Advent portfolio companies including Thiakis, Avila, EUSA and Cellnovo.

Paul-Peter Tak

Paul-Peter Tak joined GSK in 2011. He was Senior Vice President (SVP) Immunology Network, a new external innovation model. It is based on four pillars, the centre of which is the Immunology Catalyst, through which academics join GSK’s campus to explore opportunities in all Therapy Areas, ranging from Oncology to Neuroscience. The Immunology Innovation Fund supports the Catalyst investigators, while the External Immunology Board contains academic experts who advise the company and its professors-in-residence. The fourth pillar is a series of Immunology Network Summits that convene immunologists from R&D Pharma and Vaccines together with external academics. The Immunology Network has delivered osteoarthritis as a new potential indication for anti-GM-CSF therapy, identified CCL17 as a new therapeutic target in pain, and very recently it led to the creation of a new biotech company focused on Immunometabolics (Sitryx Therapeutics) of which he is a co-founder. He is on the Board of Directors of ViiV Healthcare, Galvani Bioelectronics and Sitryx. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Medicxi (Life Sciences Fund).

From 2016 until 2018 he has been SVP R&D Pipeline, Chair of the Development Steering Team and Chief Immunology Officer, co-chair of the Scientific Review Board and member of the Portfolio Investment Board, Discovery Investment Board, R&D Compliance Board and R&D Management Team. In this role he appointed a new TAU Head ImmunoInflammation and a single TAU Head in Oncology, rationalized and prioritized the portfolio, led the decision to exercise GSK’s option to exclusively license Adaptimmune’s rights in the NY-ESO SPEAR T-cell program, and initiated the creation of the Oncology Cell Therapy Discovery Performance Unit and Oncology Experimental Medicine Unit.  In the Infectious Disease TAU he has rationalized the portfolio, created the hepatitis B virus Discovery Performance Unit, and optimized alignment between the TAU and ViiV Healthcare. All three TAUs have been named core TAUs for GSK. As Development Leader, he has implemented experimental medicine in early development across the various TAUs. He also oversaw in 2017 the diagnostic analysis of timelines in Development, and the introduction of new ways of working that are expected to lead to reduced timelines in phase 2 by 25% in 2018 and another 25% in 2019. As member of the R&D Management Team, he oversaw the Work Stream that resulted in GSK’s 2+2 strategy: two established core TAUs (Respiratory and HIV/Infectious Disease) and two emerging core TAUs (ImmunoInflammation and Oncology).

From 2011 until 2017 he has been SVP and Head of the ImmunoInflammation TAU, which he has built. During this time this TAU brought more than 10 new mechanisms of action into the clinic and filed Benlysta s.c., which has been approved by the regulators He was the CEO of Tempero Pharmaceuticals (Cambridge, MD) since 2012 until this biotech company was brought into GSK as a Discovery Performance Unit within the ImmunoInflammation TAU in 2015.

Paul-Peter is Professor of Medicine at the Academic Medical Centre of the University of Amsterdam, Honorary Professor of Rheumatology at Ghent University and Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge.

He received his medical degree cum laude from the Free University in Amsterdam and was trained as a general internist, rheumatologist and immunologist at Leiden University Medical Center, where he also received his PhD. He has worked in basic science at the University of California San Diego for two years. He served as Professor of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Clinical Immunology & Rheumatology at the Academic Medical Centre/University of Amsterdam (AMC) for 12 years. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals (H factor 115), received numerous honours and awards, and has been elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in the U.K.

His scientific work in academia has focused on the discovery of the control of the autonomous nervous system on chronic inflammation (cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway), synovial tissue analysis in different stages of arthritis and in response to various targeted treatments and the development of gene therapy for autoimmune diseases.

In addition to his work in academia he established a biotech company developing intra-articular gene therapy in 2005 (Arthrogen b.v., Amsterdam) which he led as CSO until 2011. Arthrogen recently started its first clinical trial in patients.

Arthur Franken

Arthur Franken has been a partner at Gilde Healthcare since 2001. He is a member of the Supervisory Board of Moximed, ProQR Therapeutics Symphogen and was a member of the Supervisory Board of FlowCardia and MTM Laboratories.