our TEAM

The Schimmoellers

Björn Schimmöller - Chief Executive Officer

Björn took his childhood enthusiasm and joy for building new things from the ground up with Lego® into the chemistry classroom and later to university, where he studied Process Engineering at Karlsruhe Institute for Technology, Germany. During his diploma thesis at ETH Zürich, Switzerland, his love for research only grew and he extended his stay to earn a PhD in Material Science in Prof. Sotiris Pratsinis’ group, where he was part of a world-class inorganic chemistry laboratory and was fortunate to receive life-changing mentorship.

After completing his PhD, Björn sought to solve real-world problems by applying science. At Cabot Corporation in the USA, he gained extensive experience in nanomaterial R&D, developing new technology platforms and products. Later, by transitioning into a commercial role, he led a high tech >$30M revenue functional materials business segment. Ultimately his work took him to Oxford, UK where he was leading a global R&D team, supporting building a functional materials business from scratch. It was there that he met his co-founder Jon.

Fascinated by the intersection of inorganic materials and their myriad applications to influence and make people’s lives better, Björn’s entrepreneurial mindset and passion for people has found an outlet at iuvantium. Here he is responsible for staying focused on the company’s vision, by developing and executing the business strategy while ensuring that we stay true to our “why”.

To recharge, Björn spends time with his wife and two sons exploring the outdoors, collecting art, finding serenity in his garden with focus on carnivorous plants and cooking memorable meals.

Jon Austyn - Chief Scientific Officer

Jon’s early dream of becoming an academic was grounded in his desire to create something impactful, so others would benefit after he was gone. He became fascinated by immunology as an Oxford undergraduate and was further inspired by his greatest mentors Siamon Gordon and Ralph Steinman, during his doctoral and postdoctoral studies. Jon then made his career in the field, and spent much of his time trying to realize his dream amongst the spires of Oxford, It also took him to living in which took him to New York and Sydney, and, for shorter periods, in HongKong and Xiamen, China. Over the last ~40 years, Jon has embraced his passion for conducting blue-skies research, coordinating large-scale international research networks, and inspiring the next generation of immunologists as an educator. Jon’s desire to translate his ground-breaking research into real-life applications, and to explore every option to do exactly that, finally culminated in founding a spin-out from the University of Oxford with his co-founder Björn. Now, by leading the R&D strategy at iuvantium, constantly exploring new applications for its immunomodulator platform, and expanding our IP portfolio, he’s working to realise his ultimate dream. Outside of work, Jon enjoys solitude, and spends much time, exploring remote beaches, the countryside, and botanical gardens far and wide.

Farooq Khan - Head of AI Architecture

Farooq is our AI wizard. Working in the area of statistical analysis for more than 15 years and founding his own AI company to develop new AI methodologies for drug discovery he is determined to leave his mark in the space.

Farooq has over 5-years of experience in AI research. Recognised for his innovative AI research, he won an Innovate UK Smart Grant to develop AI for drug discovery and was selected for the highly prestigious NVIDIA Inception Program. With over 15 years of experience in computational complex systems science R&D, he oversaw the application of machine learning in areas of energy engineering, public policy and political campaigning.  Developing complex systems science research and the nascent transdisciplinary science frontier, he was a co-founding external partner of Mathsys – Mathematics for Real-World Systems Centre for Doctoral Training – at the University of Warwick. Farooq studied courses in synthetic and systems biology at the University of Cambridge, complex systems science at the Institut des Systèmes Complexes (ISC-PIF) and Rhône-Alpes Complex Systems Institute IXXI at the École normale supérieure de Lyon and neuroscience at the University of Oxford.

Now, by leading the AI strategy at iuvantium, thinking hard about the necessary architecture to let our vision become reality he found his calling.


Prof Jeffrey Almond

Jeffrey Almond is a Visiting Professor at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford and at the Department of Microbiology, University of Reading.  He is also an Oxford Martin Fellow with the Oxford Martin Programme on Vaccines.

Previously (1999-2014) he was Vice President and Global Head of Research and External R&D at Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine division of the Sanofi group, based in Lyon France. There he was responsible for a portfolio of vaccine projects across infectious diseases and cancer, and for establishing and managing R&D partnerships with Academia and Biotech companies relevant to the commercial interests of Sanofi Pasteur. 

Prior to joining Sanofi, Jeffrey Almond spent most of his career in the UK. He was lecturer at the University of Leicester from 1979-85 and Professor of Microbiology and Head of the School of Animal and Microbial Sciences at the University of Reading 1985-99.  He has served on numerous national and international committees including being a member of Council of the MRC and the UK Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee. Previously he has held senior officer positions in several learned societies including the International Union of Microbiological Societies and the Academy of Medical Sciences. Professor Almond is currently a member of several boards and scientific advisory boards mainly concerning infectious disease control, both in the public and private sectors in Europe, the UK, India and the USA.

Mary Porter

Mary brings a strategic focus to intellectual property law matters, a focus annealed over time in close partnership with her inventors and business clients. As iuvantium AB member, Mary is not providing legal advice and supports the leadership team purely from a strategic perspective.

Her IP law practice has been international in scope and has encompassed the acquisition, protection, enforcement and monetization of technology, patent, trademark and other intellectual property assets, dispute resolution, and extensive transactional counseling.

She is currently Partner at the IP law firm Finch & Maloney in the US. Mary began her career as a trial attorney before commencing in-house practice in the field of intellectual property. She served as intellectual property counsel to several international corporations, most recently retiring from the position of Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Cabot Corporation. Before entering the practice of law, Mary worked as a scientist at The R.T. French Company, worked for a brief, but sweet, time at the Hershey Foods R&D laboratory and taught as an adjunct professor at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Mary’s IP law experience spans a range of technical fields, notably high temperature materials, chemistry, polymers, food ingredients, adhesives, abrasive tools and materials, mechanical devices, chemical processes and engineering and downstream applications for chemicals and materials.

Mary has a JD degree from Villanova Law School, is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. She holds a B.S. degree in Food Science from The Pennsylvania State University and a M.S. degree in Food Science, Biochemistry minor, from Oregon State University. She has a certificate in Mediation from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

Prof Dermot O'Hare

Professor Dermot O’Hare is a Professor of Organometallic and Materials Chemistry at Oxford, Director of the industrially funded SCG – Oxford Centre of Excellence, and MPLS Associate Head for Industrial Liaison and Innovation.

Dermot was born in Newry, Co. Down and studied at Balliol College, Oxford for his BSc and D. Phil under the direction of Professor M.L.H Green. He was a visiting research fellow at CR&D E.I. du Pont de Nemours in Delaware, and returned to Oxford with a permanent University position and Tutorial Fellowship at Balliol College, and later a University Professorship.

In 2020 he became Senior Research Fellow at Balliol and Professor of Organometallic and Materials Chemistry. He has been honoured by the Institüt de France, Académie des Sciences, the Royal Society of Chemistry (Ludwig Mond Prize, Corday Morgan Medal, Sir Edward Frankland Prize) and by the Exxon European Chemical and Engineering Prize.

Dermot leads a large, multi-disciplinary research team working across the broad areas of catalysis, nanomaterials, polymers and the green economy, working towards finding solutions to global issues relating to energy, zero carbon and the circular economy. In 2019 he won the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Tilden Medal for outstanding research in the chemical sciences.

Robert Burns

Dr Robert Burns

Robert is a Board Director of Targovax and has been CEO of three companies active in research and development of antibodies (Celldex, Affitech, and 4-Antibody AG). Previously, he has been Chairman of Haemostatix, up until the successful divestment to Ergomed. Robert has previously held leading positions in commercial operations and business development at Ludwig Cancer Research, Oxford Glycosciences, British Biotechnology, Applied bioTechnology, and Corning Incorporated. Robert holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Birmingham.

Simon Gunson

Simon is looking back at a >30 year career in the pharmaceutical industry and is an experienced operations executive in the pharma industry having served as VP of R&D Operations, New Product Develpment and Site Director for Glaxo-Smith-Kline and most recently SCAPA Healthcare. Simon brings extensive knowledge in technical project management, operations and manufacturing strategies, and has developed business cases for innovation projects. He spent 1 year in China as Head China Category R&D for GSK and supported global teams in many roles during his tenure with GSK.

kevin pollock square

Kevin Pollock, PhD

Kevin currently serves a Director of Real World Evidence at Bristol Myers Squibb. Prior to joining BMS, he was the lead healthcare epidemologist for the Scottish Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) programme including the quantitative and qualitative analysies of data using statistical techniques. His role inlcuded lecturing duties at Glasgow, Strathclyde and Edinburgh University. With over 20 years experience in the are of vaccines, vaccination and real world data analysis Kevin is mission driven and has great aptitude for thinking differently about how to combine clinical and non-clincal data for evaluating a particular vaccination programme.

In addition to his job duties, Kevin served on the Board of Trustees for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust – the only UK charity dedicated to women affected by cervical cancer.

He received his PhD in Biochemistry and Immunology from University of Glasgow in 2006 followed by a 2 year PostDoc on “Vaccine adjuvants and the ability to manipulate the host immune response”. From 2016 to 2020 he was honory Lecturer in Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at his alma mater.