Meet the Team

About   I

We take pride in being your approachable and responsive partner, providing and responding to feedback regularly, supporting you all the way through your journey.

Sam Whitehouse. CChem, FRSC

Executive Chairman

Sam is Executive Chairman of High Force Research and is an experienced executive of scientifically focussed companies, with a demonstrated history of working in life sciences bringing technologies to commercialisation.

Sam has a PhD in Chemistry from Sheffield University and has built several companies in the North of England over his career including pharmaceutical development, diagnostics, medical devices and life science products. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and an Export Champion for the UK Department of International Trade.

Tristan Sillars. FCA

Chief Executive Officer

Tristan is CEO of High Force Research. He is an experienced board level professional who has operated across a variety of businesses throughout the North East of England, more recently specialising in life science.

Tristan has a wealth of experience in leadership, finance, commercial operations and logistics. He has led many different businesses through fundraising activities and growth strategies, including medical diagnostic and early stage pharmaceutical companies. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Stuart Penny HFR

Stuart Penny. MRSC, CChem

Chief Technical Officer

A Chartered Chemist, as Operations Director, Stuart introduced GMP operations to High Force Research and is currently responsible for overseeing development of new chemical entities through development to small scale GMP manufacture. Stuart is responsible for preparing all GMP proposals and manages a team of GMP trained Chemists. When time permits, he likes to return to the lab to help out with synthetic projects.

Before helping establish High Force Research he previously worked in the Fine Chemicals Industry where he gained many years experience as a Process Development Chemist in laboratory and pilot plant operations.

Neil Sim HFR

Neil Sim. MChem, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Neil is Chief Scientific Officer at High Force Research. He holds a PhD in Organic Synthesis from Durham University, having worked under the supervision of Prof. David Parker FRS on the development of a novel range of imaging probes targeted at the glutamate receptors.

Having originally joined High Force Research in 2014, Neil has worked on a variety of projects both at early-phase route scouting and late-stage development towards GMP manufacture. He is responsible for client support, quotation, project introduction and management and leads a team of experienced R&D chemists on the delivery of all new projects.

Roy Valentine HFR

Roy Valentine. BSc, PhD, CChem

Non Executive Director

Roy’s background includes employment at Ciba Geigy, Givauden and he helped to establish Wendstone Chemicals which was later acquired by Laporte, before setting up High Force Research together with Stuart Penny and Bob Redfern. Roy served as Chairman and CEO of High Force Research.

Gemma Alderson. BSc

QC Manager

Gemma joined High Force Research in 2020 after working at GSK for over 10 years and completing a BSc in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science. She has worked with final product formulations and API’s analysing shelf-life stability as well as analysing reference materials for API’s, intermediates and related impurities.  She also has experience managing a medical device laboratory at Helena Biosciences.

Gemma’s role involves the management of the Quality Control Laboratory and ensuring that products manufactured at High Force Research are analysed following the client’s specification.

Zoe Hudson HFR

Zoe Hudson. BSc, MSc

Head of Quality Assurance

Zoe worked at GSK before joining High Force Research in 1996 where she initially started work in the synthetic development laboratories. She quickly became involved with all GMP aspects of High Force Research’s work and was fundamental in setting up the quality control department.

She became QC Manager (2002) prior to being appointed QA manager (2004) before her present role as Head of Quality Assurance. Zoe oversees all regulatory compliance and quality matters and is the first port of call for everything QA-related.

Jane Klotz. Assoc CIPD

HR Manager

With over 25 years of experience in human resource management, Jane joined the team at HFR in May 2021 to support the business growth, including recruitment and training, and to develop initiatives to enable the company to be an employer of choice, through engagement and well-being programmes, succession planning and career development.

Jane has previously worked in a range of SME businesses in the North East including hospitality, e-commerce and engineering, as well as event management and post-16 education. With an in-depth knowledge of HR, training, business improvement and compliance, her role on the management team is to provide a hands-on approach to the success of the organisation.

Nicola Lembicz HFR

Nicola Lembicz. BSc, PhD

Head of Manufacture

Nicola joined High Force Research in 1996 after completing her PhD at Newcastle University with Prof. Bernard Golding on ‘The Design and Synthesis of Novel Inhibitors of the DNA repair enzyme MGMT.’

She has successfully completed many research projects with High Force Research and has particular expertise in nucleoside and carbohydrate chemistries. Nicola is responsible for all new and current research and development projects and oversees traceable manufacture at the Bowburn site.

Barry Thompson HFR

Barry Thompson. BSc, PhD

Technical Project Manager

Barry joined High Force Research in 2002 after completing his PhD at Sunderland University under the supervision of Prof. Paul Groundwater & Prof. Otto Meth-Cohn, studying the multistep convergent synthesis of Alnusoxide via two alternative routes.

His role at HFR is primarily focused on process development and the scale-up of chemical processes to the kilogram scale, utilising the large scale reactors and equipment at High Force Research’s Bowburn site. Expertise includes the development of API intermediates, electronic and inorganic compounds, plus polymers and nanoparticles.

Mark Westhorpe

HSE & Estates Manager

Mark has over 25years of experience within a highly regulated QA/QC laboratory in the Chemical industry and brings a wealth of experience to the team.  In his last role before joining High Force Research, Mark was Regional Quality Manager with responsibilities in Europe and India.

Mark joined the Company in June 2022 and is responsible for all matters relating to Health and Safety, along with managing the Logistics function at High Force Research.


We fulfil our client’s needs by offering a dependable, honest and flexible service delivering high quality products and services at the right price, and on time.