Biotangents was founded by Dr Andy Hall-Ponselè and Lina Gasiūnaitė in 2015 to develop DNA manipulation technologies and apply them where there is a market need. The company is led by Alan Hale as CEO and is supported by Professor Chris French, as scientific advisor, and an extensive network of thought leaders in the life sciences industry.
Alan Hale has over 35 years’ experience in the biotech and technology sectors, working in a range of commercial (large, SME and start-up), academic and public sector organisations. He has directed R&D in the life sciences, taking responsibility for implementing best practice quality assurance and introducing cutting edge technologies. He is experienced in developing new companies in their early stages, both as a hands-on executive building effective teams focussed on efficient commercial delivery, and supporting individual entrepreneurs through mentoring.
Dr Andy Hall-Ponselè
Director of Operations
Andy designed the Leapfrog Assembly™ technology upon which Biotangents was founded and led the successful project to apply it to the biosynthesis of high-value terpenoids. He now leads operations at Biotangents and is part of an ambitious team that has secured and fulfilled multiple contracts to perform DNA manipulation work for industrial and academic customers.
Andy has been involved in synthetic biology since 2008 when, as a student under Professor Chris French, he led the University of Edinburgh iGEM team to a gold medal. He holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford, where he used metabolic engineering approaches to provide new insights into the control of metabolism in plants. On his return to Edinburgh, Andy worked as a Senior Scientist in a University of Edinburgh-based start-up, delivering collaborative projects as varied as synthetic promoter design and polysaccharide biosynthesis.
Director of Science
Lina completed her undergraduate studies in Molecular Biology at Vilnius University and holds an MSc in Biotechnology from the University of Edinburgh. As part of her dissertation, she incorporated standardisation into a proprietary combinatorial DNA assembly technology, making it compatible with the widely used BioBrick™ standard. Lina also acted as an advisor to the University of Edinburgh’s 2013 gold medal-winning iGEM team. After graduation, Lina continued to work in DNA manipulation and metabolic engineering of bacteria, delivering varied projects with local SMEs and multinational partners.
Professor Chris French
Scientific Advisory Board
Professor Chris French is the first member of our Scientific Advisory Board. He is Personal Chair of Microbial Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh and has considerable experience planning and supervising research, with numerous high-impact publications on DNA assembly and biosensor development.
Chris has a history of advising companies within the life sciences and has overseen the University of Edinburgh’s entries in the iGEM competition since 2006. He is also a member of the Flowers Consortium, which was awarded a £6M EPSRC grant for the development of synthetic biology infrastructure for the UK.