In joining Protas this May, Jonathan made the leap from private practice into not for profit. We find out what drew him to our cause.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Irish! I’m originally from Belfast, but I moved to England for my undergraduate law degree at Oxford University in 2010.
I’ve been in England since then, except for a year-long stint in Canada, where I studied a Master in Laws at the University of Toronto.
I qualified as a solicitor about four and a half years ago, and I’ve practiced in intellectual property (IP) since – mostly patents with some experience with trademarks, copyright, designs, trade secrets and other confidential information.
Outside work I enjoy sports. I’m an Irish rugby fan and I play ice hockey and golf. I’ve also occasionally dabbled in bobsleigh.
What interested you about joining Protas?
I’m really interested in Protas’ mission, even on a personal level.
I have a genetic blood disorder called hemochromatosis, which causes me to load iron over time. It’s rare except in Celtic communities, where it’s often called the “Celtic curse”.
There’s no cure for hemochromatosis, and the treatment involves going to the hospital every 10 weeks to have a venesection (the removal of blood) – a bit like modern-day leeching. I understand what it’s like having a medical condition that has underdeveloped treatment and little education around it.
Within Protas, I like contributing to something that has a positive societal impact. Protas was set up to help improve medical treatments and outcomes for patients, and I’m excited to be part of this.
Tell us about your role at Protas.
As Legal Counsel, I deal with any legal issues that come to Protas. It’s a little bit of everything, from complex IP issues to contractual negotiations or regulatory advice.
Although I qualified four and a half years ago, I have nearly seven years of experience in law firms, with lots of experience working in the life sciences field.
I’ve worked on various IP disputes relating to pharmaceutical and biotechnology products and medical devices. These range from disputes about antibodies for chronic conditions like Crohn’s disease, various arthritides, macular disease and medical devices for administering medications.
This experience is relevant to my work at Protas. It means I’ve worked with some of our core partners in the past and I know the challenges involved in getting products to market.
What do you work towards in your free time?
I’m an amateur triathlon-er. (I’m not sure I’m talented enough to refer to myself as a “triathlete”.)
Broadly, this involves spending lots of money on kit and then spending 30-40 minutes trying not to drown in it, before going on an average bike ride and a brisk walk.
I like the thrill of the race, but particularly enjoy that I can measure my progress in each discipline – swimming, cycling and running – from one race to the next.
I also enjoy the locations and scenery. My favourite triathlon is based in Hathersage in the Peak District. It’s extremely hilly, so not the most pleasant in terms of the race itself, but it’s such an enjoyable experience because of the setting.
What’s your favourite book/music/film/TV show?
For TV, its Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. Technically these are two shows, but they are a continuation of the same story so I’m claiming them as one.
I like the satirical approach to societal norms of the past, and I think Philip Glenister is great as Gene Hunt. I missed both these series first time around, but I caught up by binge watching them during lockdown.
In terms of music… any song by The Cranberries. I’m a massive fan. I’m not sure if I’m embarrassed or proud to reveal that I’m in the top 0.01% of Cranberries listeners according to Spotify Wrapped.
My favourite songs are “Dreams”, “The Pressure” and “Go Your Own Way” (I’d say it’s better than the Fleetwood Mac version…).
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