N4 Pharma is a specialist pharmaceutical company developing a novel silica nanoparticle delivery system for vaccines and therapeutics for licensing to pharmaceutical and biotech partners. This nanoparticle, Nuvec®, has the potential to help commercialise cancer immunotherapy drugs and improve the effectiveness of viral vaccines.

The company was established in 2014 by Nigel Theobald, previously head of healthcare brands at Boots Group plc and founder of a series of successful businesses, including Oxford Pharmascience Group plc. Joining Nigel on N4 Pharma’s Board are Dr John Chiplin, who has significant operational, investment and transaction experience in the life science and technology industries, Dr David Templeton, pharmacology and pre-clinical drug discovery expert, Dr Chris Britten, an experienced pharmaceutical executive and Luke Cairns, Corporate Financier. You can read more about the board here.

N4 Pharma added to its R&D team in 2018 with the appointments of Dr Allan Hey as Head of Nuvec® CMC Program Development and Dr Melody Janssen as a Consultant for the Nuvec® biological research program.

N4 Pharma floated on the AIM stock market in May 2017. The investor pages of this website hold more information about this.


N4 Pharma has acquired the exclusive rights to commercialise a patent application for our vaccines division. It concerns the delivery of DNA and mRNA vaccines, for which N4 Pharma has registered the trademark Nuvec® in the UK.

Experienced Board

The management team has a proven track record at a senior level in major international pharmaceutical companies and extensive experience of start-ups in the pharmaceutical and biotech field.

Dr John Chiplin

Non-Executive Chairman

Dr John Chiplin has significant operational, investment and transaction experience in the life science and technology industries. Between 1995 and 2014, Dr Chiplin served as CEO of three leading publicly listed software, biotechnology and cancer immunotherapy companies in the US. Based in London, Dr Chiplin’s current board roles include Adalta, Cynata, Regeneus and Scancell Holdings plc (AIM: SCLP). He is also Managing Director of Newstar Ventures Ltd, an international private equity firm focused on emerging companies.

Nigel Theobald

Chief Executive Officer

Nigel has over 25 years’ experience in healthcare and in building businesses, strategy development and its implementation and a strong network covering all aspects of pharmaceutical product development and commercialisation. He was the head of healthcare brands at Boots Group plc in 2002 before leaving to set up a series of successful businesses, including Oxford Pharmascience Group plc, which he grew over 5 years into an AIM quoted company with a market capitalisation of £40 million upon departure. Nigel formed N4 Pharma in 2014.

Dr David Templeton

Technical Director

An experienced R&D manager who has worked in major pharmaceutical, biotech and in the generic industry with specific expertise in early clinical development and translational biology, toxicology and safety pharmacology, lead selection, candidate characterisation, PK/PD analysis and bioanalysis. David has worked in various pharmacology and pre-clinical drug discovery roles for Pfizer, Xenova, Smithkline Beecham and GSK and was the head of non-clinical development at Celltech Limited from 2003 to 2004 before moving to Merck Generics UK as head of biometrics. He was appointed as director of clinical pharmacology of Eisai Limited in 2007 until in 2010 setting up his own consulting business offering discovery and early development advice to several pharmaceutical companies.

Luke Cairns

Executive Director

Luke has spent over 16 years working in corporate finance and is a former head of corporate finance and managing director at Northland Capital Partners, an FCA regulated stockbroking firm. Having left Northland in 2014, Luke founded LSC Advisory Limited to provide advisory and consultancy services to growth companies. He has worked with many growth companies across a number of sectors and regions on a wide range of transactions, including IPOs, secondary fundraisings, corporate restructurings and takeovers. He is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries.

Dr Chris Britten

Non-Executive Director

Dr Chris Britten is an experienced pharmaceutical executive and is currently Head of M&A at Neuraxpharm, a privately-owned European CNS specialty pharmaceutical company. He has over 20 years’ experience in R&D, corporate development and investment banking. Previous roles include Global Head of M&A at Sandoz (Munich), Managing Director at Torreya Partners (London), Head of Business Development at Sanofi Pasteur MSD (Lyon) and Director, Life Sciences at Deloitte Corporate Finance (London). Chris also spent many years at GSK in both drug discovery and corporate development.

Our business

Lots of organisations are looking to cure cancer and hard-to-treat diseases like influenza. Many are taking an immunotherapy approach, using a specifically engineered mRNA molecule (or other nucleic acid like pDNA). In the body, the mRNA activates the immune system to either attack the tumour or produce sufficient antibodies to act as a prophylactic vaccine. To achieve this, you need to get a sufficient amount of the drug payload into the cells effectively but without causing the body unwanted side effects.

That’s what we do with our breakthrough silica nanoparticle, Nuvec®.

Nuvec® particles have a unique irregular surface structure that simply and effectively traps and protects the mRNA as it travels to the cells. Once inside the cell, it is released to deliver a localised immune response. Nuvec® is also a natural adjuvant so it attracts large numbers of antigen presenting cells to increase the level of immune response needed for the body to develop immunity from the target pathogen.

To date, companies have tended to use existing delivery systems such as lipid nanoparticles, but unlike Nuvec®, these were not designed for working with nucleic acids and although they can also produce good immune responses they can also induce release of systemic inflammatory cytokines, meaning the patient will feel unwell, plus they may cause liver toxicity.

Nuvec® thus gives you a much greater chance of ensuring an effective cancer or antiviral drug comes out of the clinic.

Our revenues come from licencing Nuvec® technology to the people developing these cancer treatments or antiviral vaccines. They’ve got the innovative drug and we’re helping them by delivering it. Only by combining their unique mRNA / pDNA with our breakthrough delivery system will the therapy be successful.

The stages in this process are typically:

  • In vitro proof of concept data

  • In vivo pre-clinical efficacy and toxicology

  • Partnership collaborations to test the delivery system

  • Licensing agreement.

If you’d like further information or have any queries, please contact us.