Career Highlights

2013 - 2015 | CEO


2011 - 2013 | SVP Emerging Business

Shire Speciality

2007 - 2011 | SVP Global Product Strategy/Portfolio Management


2004 - 2007 | SVP Global Head of Cardiovascular, Metabolic Medicine Development Centre


1997 - 2004 | VP Global Head of Cardiovascular, Metabolic and Urology Therapeutic Areas


1998 - 1999 | Leadership roles in operations, marketing/sales

Astra Pharmaceuticals

1996 - 1998 | Executive Director


Aziz Mentor - UK

Extensive experience in R&D, clinical development, marketing, sales and commercial operations in the biopharma and biotech industries. Lawson has driven both R&D and commercial organisations in various roles for GSK, Shire and the biotech industry. Former CEO, he has led a major liquidity event and investor exit and offers extensive experience, not only in people management, but also crisis management in the pharmaceutical industry.

Specific Expertise

  • board management
  • licensing/scientific assessment
  • financing business growth
  • crisis management
  • IPO
  • restructuring/turnaround
  • strategy/business growth
  • M&A

Career history

Lawson graduated as a vet in 1979. attained a PhD in viral pathobiology and became a licensed pathologist. He brings this specialist background to his considerable experience in the pharmaceutical industry where he joined in 1988.

As SVP responsible for global commercial operations at GlaxoSmithKline, Lawson’s roles have spanned preclinical, clinical development, marketing and sales and commercial operations. He has led R&D for Shire Speciality.

Prior to executing a successful liquidity event in 2015, Lawson was CEO of Ambrx Inc., and has since enjoyed consulting and serving on corporate boards.

Current Portfolio

Since stepping back from full-time corporate life Lawson has an extensive portfolio of consulting companies, private equity groups and business interests of international reach.

Currently he is:

  • Chairman – Viking Therapeutics. Public US company with assets in late stage clinical development
  • Board member – Dechra PLC (FTSE 150)
  • Board member – Netherlands Translational Research Centre (NTRC – early-stage company in Oss, NL)
  • Board member – ExeliomBio (early-stage company in Paris, France)

Memberships and recognition

  • Member of The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
  • Fellow of The Royal College of Pathologists

Personal Interests



music – playing the oboe

choral singing



Key Influencers

“Christine Lagarde, Chairman of IMF, for her pragmatic and straightforward style. Valentin Fuster, eminent Cardiologist, for his ethics, his care for science and patients. Sir Andrew Witty, former CEO of GSK, for his ethics, vision and communication skills.”

Mentoring Experience

“I have extensive mentoring experience as a senior pharma exec and as a CEO. I currently mentor two CEOs for companies on whose Boards I have a seat.”


USA – esp. Pennsylvannia

London, Manchester, Glasgow