AerosolShield is a tool for staff to rapidly form a workable protective barrier around a patient before carrying out life-saving procedures.

Ridge Pharma is an emerging UK pharmaceutical business founded in 2017 by Chief Executive Officer Brendon McDonagh and Non-Executive Chairman, Harry Stratford, Ridge Pharma is focused on the in-licensing and marketing of prescription medicines.

Gentronix is a specialist CRO focused on delivering predictive toxicology products and services to global chemical sectors. Working with companies from early screening through to regulatory safety assessment delivering innovative solutions for both genetic toxicology and skin sensitisation.


Peter joined the Group in 2015 as Head of Life Sciences & Biosciences, with over 20 years’ experience in this sector, and became Chief Operating Officer in 2018. He is responsible for a number of the life science portfolio investments including Locate Bio, Concepta plc, Sense Biodetection and Axis Spine Technologies and in July 2020 he oversaw the successful exit of The Native Antigen Company.

Peter is the champion of several of our key initiatives and working groups as well as heading up the VCT and EIS divisions of Mercia and is a member of:

Mercia Knowledge Committee – a Group wide Information and Data Development team

Mercia Responsible Investment Committee – a Group-wide team committed to delivering the ESG strategy across the business.

Mercia O2 Committee – offering the benefits of diverse opinions, ideas and points of view.


Previous experience

Peter has been involved with a number of turnarounds and exits within the sector, including the acquisition of Surgicraft’s loss-making business where, as managing director, sales quadrupled within three years and the business was subsequently sold to a private equity backed business and Diagnostic World, a fast-growing diagnostic provider to the NHS.


Sandy joined the Mercia in 2017, originally in the University Team focusing on the North of England she has now moved to the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) team with responsibility for the East Midlands; this fund focuses on proof of concept and early stage opportunities.

Sandy is a member of the Mercia Responsible Investment Committee – a Group-wide team committed to delivering the ESG strategy across the business.

Previous experience

Sandy has hands-on experience of early-stage companies having founded and worked as CEO for a university spinout for eight years. She also has experience of acting as a consultant on spinout formation in the HE sector as well as most recently managing the spinout portfolio at the University of Leicester. In addition, Sandy has acted as both director and observer on a number of early-stage company boards, and holds the Certificate in Company Direction from the Institute of Directors. She has a technical background with a PhD in Chemistry, and started her career in corporate research and development.


Mark is an Investment Director with over 18 years’ venture capital experience, with particular expertise in the life science sector. He has been involved in all aspects of creating venture backed businesses, including sourcing new opportunities, working with founders and management teams to build valuable propositions, through to public market listings and trade sales. He has been a non-executive director of several private and public companies. Mark  has worked across several early-stage venture funds, including the RisingStars Growth Funds, the North West Fund for Venture Capital, Finance Yorkshire Seedcorm Fund, and is actively looking for new life science deals for the Northern Powerhouse Fund. He has been heavily involved in the following investments; Concepta plc, Evgen and Abingdon Healthcare.

Mark is a member of the Mercia Responsible Investment Committee – a Group-wide team committed to delivering the ESG strategy across the business.

Previous experience

Mark spent two years as bioscience ventures manager at London-based Imperial Innovations. Prior to joining Imperial, Mark had spent the previous five years with Mercia’s technology team based in the North West, and before that, six years at Merlin Biosciences, a venture capital and advisory company dedicated to the life sciences sector.


Isabel is an Investment Associate focusing on the Life Sciences & Biosciences sector and provides support to Mercia’s portfolio companies.

Previous experience

Isabel has a range of experience in the drug development sector from early-stage research companies through to GMP manufacture and clinical trials. She holds a PhD in Molecular Virology and a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Yourgene Health is an international molecular diagnostics group which develops and commercialises genetic products and services.

Sense is developing user-centred, handheld diagnostic test devices in the fields of infection and oncology.

BrainTrain2020 Limited are clinically validating a device that will improve sleep.