Willingsford is founded and managed by Jeanette and Frank Sams-Dodd. They have previously founded a company together, which provided contract research, licensing, and consulting services to the pharmaceutical industry. The company functioned as a bridgebuilder between pharmaceutical companies and academic laboratories that wanted to perform contract research for the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, they have been involved in the following activities.
Jeanette Sams-Dodd has a degree in business administration, German and Spanish from Copenhagen Business School and a degree in veterinary medicine from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen. During and immediately after completion of her degree in Business Administration, she held positions at Dresdner Bank (now Commerzbank) in Köln, Germany; Hoechst AG (now Sanofi-Aventis), near Köln, Germany; Transportes Campillo, a transports and logistics company in Valencia, Spain; and the Danish State Department. This lead to the opportunity of becoming trainee in the Danish global meat and processed food company Dat-Schaub AMBA with the aim for her to establish a subsidiary in Barcelona, Spain in connection with the Spanish entry into the EU. Here she was CEO for 5 years and was responsible for establishing a network of bulk meat customers within Spain and a network of suppliers across Europe as the Danish parent company was not able to fulfil the demand of the Spanish customers. She also established the import of Danish and Belgium charcuterie products and the marketing, sale and distribution of these to Spanish supermarkets. The wholesale of meat from slaughterhouses was a typically male-dominated area and Jeanette was therefore the first woman ever to enter and subsequently regularly visit (weekly for 5 years) the meat exchange (La Lonja) in Barcelona - after a long, but amicable deliberation whether women were actually allowed access. After 5 years, she left the position as CEO to pursue her degree in veterinary medicine and subsequently co-founded a company offering contract research to the pharmaceutical industry where the contractors were university groups around the world; this provided the industry access to highly specialised research and offered a route of funding for the universities. She also assisted the university groups with industry contacts, licensing and positioning of inventions. It was this network that provided the contact to the inventors of SertaSil and which led to the formation of Willingsford.
She has always had a keen interest in dogs and at the age of 15 achieved to train the first curly-coated retriever in Denmark to ever become field trial winner, which is the highest level of competition possible. This interest was retained and in parallel with other activities, she has improved the methods for educating service dogs for physically disabled people and seizure-alert dogs for people suffering from epilepsy (the dogs can detect an oncoming seizure up to 1 hour in advance) and has written a book on dog development, education, training and language, including the first-ever grammar of dog language (see Canix http://canix.org). Unlike most other books on this subject, it bases its recommendations and conclusions on scientific findings. She speaks and writes Danish, English, German and Spanish fluently and speaks Catalan and French.
Frank Sams-Dodd PhD, Dr.Med. has over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. He holds the MSc degree in zoology from University of Copenhagen, Denmark; the PhD in neuroscience from Cornell University, US; and the Honorary Doctoral Degree in Medicine from University of Copenhagen.
He has been responsible for all stages of the drug discovery and development process from early research to clinical trials and regulatory affairs, and has international management and business administration experience. He has held positions at Lundbeck, Denmark; Amylin, US; Boehringer Ingelheim, Germany; and Bionomics, Australia and France. Frank’s own research http://scholar.google.co.uk includes the development of a new model of schizophrenia which has become industry standard, and several articles addressing the current decline in the productivity of the pharmaceutical industry with specific recommendations on how to improve the development of new effective therapeutics.
Frank is a frequent chairman and speaker at academic and industry meetings. He has been member of the Technology Transfer Committee at the Wellcome Trust, Chief Scientific Advisor to a London-based venture capital company and scientific advisor on a prostate cancer project funded by Cancer Research UK at Strathclyde University.