Obsidian Biomedical Consulting Ltd (OBC), London, United Kingdom

Description of organisation

Obsidian Biomedical Consulting Ltd. was established in 2009 as a consultancy advising and facilitating the application of cutting edge academic science to practical commercial needs, principally, but not exclusively in the area of predictive medicine and systems biology, ultimately with a vision to improve drug discovery and development, the successful delivery of innovative medicines and a consequent positive impact on 21st Century healthcare. Areas of specialisation are Cardiovascular Genetics, Vascular Biology, Systems Biology, Systems Medicine, Drug Discovery.


Previous experience

Senior executive experience with a strong background in global pharmaceuticals, including start-up situations, mergers, restructuring and outsourcing. Evidence of success in building global teams, leading and executing change management programs and developing business culture. Proven experience in chairmanship of cross-functional teams and advisory groups ranging in size from eight to twenty people, line management of organisations of over 60 people and budgets of up to $8M US, and matrix management across territories of up to 250 people and budgets in excess of €40M. An established track record in breaking new ground with research projects, including pioneering the implementation of a major new research approach within industry.


Profile of staff members

Adriano Henney, a British biomedical scientist, obtained his PhD in Medicine. He has 23 years' research experience in cardiovascular disease working in laboratories in London, Cambridge and Oxford, where his interests focused predominantly on atherosclerosis, with studies ranging from pathology, through molecular and cellular biology to molecular genetics. In 1997, he was recruited by Zeneca Pharmaceuticals from a Senior Fellowship position leading his own molecular genetics group in Oxford, to lead the exploration of new therapeutic approaches in atherosclerosis, specifically focusing on his research interests in vascular biology. Following the merger with Astra, Dr Henney moved within the newly formed company, AstraZeneca, to a position of Global Programme Manager responsible for prototyping strategic improvements to the company's approaches to pharmaceutical target identification, and the reduction of attrition in early development. This involved directing activities both across research sites and across functional project teams in the US, Sweden and the UK. The work undertaken in this Programme resulted in the creation of an entirely new multidisciplinary department that focused on pathway mapping, modelling and simulation. With personnel based in the UK and US, and global project interactions across all therapy areas, the work of this department supported drug projects across Research and Development. Under his leadership, the department evolved to establish the practice of Systems Biology that, together with strong relationships with key academic centres and biotechs, prototyped the application of mechanistic disease modelling approaches to the discovery and development of innovative medicines. Since leaving AstraZeneca in 2009, Dr Henney has continued his interest in Systems Biology through his company, Obsidian Biomedical Consulting Ltd., helping academics to work more closely with industry. In April 2010, Dr Henney was invited to direct a new German national flagship research programme in Systems Biology: the Virtual Liver Network, which is his current major focus.


Recent publications

HENNEY, Adriano Invited Opinion Piece: "The Promise and Challenge of Personalised Medicine: ageing populations, complex diseases and unmet medical need" Croatian Medical Journal, (2012) 53(3): 207-210

Holzhütter, Hermann-Georg, Drasdo, Dirk, Preusser, Tobias, Lippert, Jörg and HENNEY, Adriano "The virtual liver: a multidisciplinary, multi-level challenge for systems biology" WIREs Systems Biology and Medicine (2012 doi: 10.1002/wsbm.1158)

HENNEY, Adriano "Who will take up the gauntlet? Challenges and Opportunities for Systems Biology and Drug Discovery" EMBO Reports and Molecular Systems Biology joint issue (2009) 10 (Special Issue): S9-S13

HENNEY, Adriano & Superti-Furga, Giulio "A Network Solution" Commentary, Nature (2008) 455:730-731