management Team

Richard Johnson
Founder & CEO

Dr Richard Johnson founded Upperton Pharma Solutions in August 1999, and continues to play a key role in the management and strategic development of the company. With over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and drug delivery fields, Richard previously held senior management positions at Andaris Limited (Vectura) and Delta Biotechnology (now Albumedix). Richard holds an honours degree in Biology from University of York and a Ph.D. from the University of Warwick and has a proven track record in successfully developing innovative pharmaceutical products from early feasibility studies through to commercial products.

Ian Lafferty
Chief Technical Officer

Ian has 25 years’ technical, operational experience gained in early phase pharmaceutical development, encompassing the formulation design and development, process optimisation and manufacture of a wide range of dosage forms including oral solids, nasal drug delivery, inhaled powders, suspensions and injectables with a focus on challenging molecules, enabling technologies and high potent handling. Ian also has significant experience in facility design and management.

Ian has previously held senior management and executive roles at a number of emerging and growing CDMOs, providing strategic and operational leadership to ensure excellence in all aspects of providing pharmaceutical services.

Paul Kelsall
Director of Clinical Manufacturing

Paul Kelsall joined Upperton Pharma Solutions in August 2018. Paul has over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, having previously worked for Boots, Reckitt Benckiser, Nova Laboratories and Aesica. Paul’s experience covers both Sterile and Non-Sterile Manufacturing, Formulation Development, Facilities Management and Business Improvement. Paul’s responsibilities include managing the Upperton Pharma Solutions Facility and all the GMP Operations that are conducted on site. Paul is also responsible for the New Business Introduction of all GMP projects.

Sarah Bayliss
Director of Quality & Compliance

Sarah Bayliss joined Upperton in December 2017 as Director of Quality and Compliance. Her previous roles include Corporate QA Operations Manager, Head of Quality, Technical Manager and General Manager for pharmaceutical and medical device businesses within the manufacturing areas of Europe and the USA. Sarah has over 20 years’ experience of implementing, maintaining and remediating Quality Management Systems, working under MIA, IMP, MS and WD licences. Sarah is responsible for ensuring that Upperton Pharma Solutions are compliant and that our Quality Management Systems are implemented and adhered to in-line with the site relevant licensing activities (GMP) under MHRA & FDA regulations.

Karen Coombes
Commercial Director

Karen Coombes joined Upperton Pharma Solutions as Operations Director in 2008, having previously held positions at Advanced Protein Systems, Andaris Limited (Vectura) and Unilever Research. Karen holds an honours degree in Chemistry from the University of Bath and a master’s degree in Biotechnology from the University Of Nottingham and has a wealth of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Karen is responsible for scale up projects and for directing all non GMP manufacturing activities in the company’s pilot plant.

Laura Mason
Director of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Dr Laura Mason joined Upperton in 2016 as a Project Scientist, with promotion to roles of Project Manager and Director of Business Operations, before becoming Director of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2021. Laura has previous experience within solid oral dosage form development having completed her PhD in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham, and her Pharmacy Pre-Registration Year at Merck Sharp and Dohme and Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital. Laura is a UK Registered Pharmacist, the current treasurer of the UKICRS and a member of several pharmaceutical societies. Laura is responsible for the introduction and co-ordination of the company’s R&D projects, ensuring high-quality of service for client projects.

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