This month we were delighted to welcome Dr Ceri Morgan as Head of Late Stage Portfolio.
Ceri has been individually ranked #1 by UK investors since 2009 and joins us from Numis Securities, where she was pivotal in driving the Healthcare & Life Science franchises to become ranked #1 in the UK both for investor ratings and the number of corporate advisory clients. In this role she managed numerous client relationships including Abcam, Clinigen, Vectura and Syncona, and throughout her 14 years in specialist sales developed deep connections with both UK and US investors.
Prior to Numis, Ceri was the founding member of Peel Hunt’s UK Healthcare and Life Science team, where she also was key to securing it as a #1 franchise – merging with the Numis team in 2016.
She is a trained physician and a very keen white-water rafter and wildlife enthusiast.
In this newly created role, Ceri will lead the management of our late stage portfolio, the businesses at Series B and beyond, ensuring each business maximises its global impact and financial success.
We spoke to Ceri to find out what attracted her to Oxford, why she has taken on the role of Head of Late Stage Portfolio and her ambitions as a new member of the OSI team.
What attracted you to Oxford and OSI?
For the last 20 years I have worked in the city and dedicated my career to the Life Sciences and Healthcare sectors, primarily helping public companies. But I always felt like I was at arm’s length from the companies that I support and after a while I began to feel superfluous. I wanted a more purposeful job.
I have been aware of OSI since its inception and have watched its journey and growth from afar for the last six years. I have always admired its ambition, it has significant potential, and had full admiration for the tenacity and passion of David Norwood, OSI’s founding CEO, and Jim, OSI’s founding CFO, who has shown incredible belief, dedication, and loyalty.
Jim then introduced me to Alexis, and we had many conversations about OSI, his values and vision. I knew this management team was one I would very much like to work with for the long term.
At OSI I can give back and leverage my experience from both my medical and financial careers – I started off as a medic before I worked in the city. And I must say I am only on day 8 and I am truly impressed with the companies, I hadn’t quite appreciated the true breadth and depth of the portfolio that OSI has built in such a short space of time.
Why did you decide to join as Head of Late Stage Portfolio?
A role focussed on helping to grow and nurture businesses, that have already established themselves, is a brilliant third leg to my career.
I genuinely believe that OSI and its businesses will contribute positively to the UK economy and the world. It is therefore really important that these businesses are nurtured in the right way.
I had long discussions with Alexis and Jim where we discussed how to harness my specific expertise, for myself and for the businesses – I don’t want to let OSI down and I don’t want to let myself down.
Based on my experience in the city, I understand the importance of great, constant, and translatable communication with investors. The Life Science, and the Deep Tech sectors, are deeply technical and putting the technology and impact of the science into context is a skill in itself. I also strongly advocate for and understand the importance of collaboration with the great and the good across the sectors and universes that you operate.
What does this new role entail and how do you plan to approach it?
I think that will be an ever-moving beast. Growth has many paths, so I do expect my role to evolve over time and I fully expect it to become extremely busy. We must remember OSI itself is a young company and the senior management team is now very much focused on the future. What does it want to be known for? How does it replicate its model time and time again? How does it manage success? How does it manage failure? How does it manage growth?
There is an astonishing array of skills, experience and deep industry knowledge across the network and a huge number of brilliant people. These are people whose skill sets could work across the tech and life science spaces; we need to ensure these synergies can be identified. So, my first challenge is, are we making the best of these opportunities? Are we joining the dots? This is true not just in terms of niche expertise but also when looking at deal structures – are the best people involved – and are we sharing knowledge and experience?
Even though my role is focussed on the late stage portfolio, I am very passionate about ensuring that OSI is a helpful, collegiate and nurturing environment – a really slick platform that effortlessly leverages and connects the expertise of everyone involved, and remembers that at the core of every business is Oxford University, the global leader in scientific research and the font of our IP.
When companies join our universe, they will know that they are being supported and cared for to the best of our abilities. We want to give them the best fighting chance, right from the very beginning. Are they talking to the right people? Could they do deals with other companies within the portfolio rather than looking outside? Is there operating leverage?
Then in terms of companies at Series B and beyond, we need to be mindful that the advice required evolves and grows as a company evolves and grows; we cannot treat and advise our late stage portfolio in the same way as our early-stage businesses. The job here will be to ensure we have the right people on the right boards, that companies are getting the right advice, from the right people, at the right time, connecting with the best investors and communicating appropriately.
It is a big job and there are lots of facets, but I am just as passionate about nurturing OSI as a growing business as I am about nurturing the portfolio companies I am tasked with.
What are you personally most excited for at OSI?
I am excited to begin this new chapter in my life, and I am excited to move to Oxford. I am looking forward to simply walking around the parks and bumping into academics and people from across the ecosystem. I was talking to someone on the phone the other day and they said hardly a day goes by when you don’t bump into someone remarkable in Oxford.