Sally Rose 1955 - 2015

On 26th September 2015 Sally Rose passed away having battled lung cancer for 12 months.

Sally started working at Wellcome in Beckenham, Kent, at the age of 18 and completed her academic study on day release. Amongst those she worked with at the time were Anne Hersey, Dave Livingstone, Dick Hyde, John Wood. In 1993 she obtained a PhD at Reading University with work on Multivariate QSAR and Molecular Similarity, with Hal MacFie as main supervisor. After the merger with Glaxo and the closure of the Beckenham site in 1995, she was a co-founder of BioFocus, one of the very first chemistry-outsourcing companies. Following the successful launch and growth of BioFocus, she joined Cresset as Business Development Manager. Following her early retirement to France, Sally had a successful second career as a published author of two novels.

Andy Vinter, Chairman of Cresset, leads the following tributes to Sally.

Sally ROSE (1955-2015)

“Sally was a very bright lady. The problem was that she never accepted her worth. When I asked her to join Cresset after she left BioFocus, a tear came into her eye as though she was surprised to find she was valued – such was Sally’s modesty. Always gentle and diplomatic, her influence was much greater than she realised. Beneath that tendency to underestimate herself there lurked a strong will. Sal was not someone who could be hoodwinked and hated bullying of any sort. Experience I imagine she picked up from her BioFocus days gave her an invaluable grasp of business practice. At Cresset, where she took on the role of Business Development, her insights into the wiles of customer and financial ‘suits’ saved us on more than one occasion from some potentially disastrous encounters. My only regret is that we never found time for Sal to get back to what she loved most- QSAR. For me, three words sum up Sally: dignity, integrity and modesty.”
Andy Vinter
Chairman, Cresset

“My first Job after post doc was with a small startup company called BioFocus. In retrospect this turned out to be one of the first companies of its sort in the UK and beyond, but I didn’t really appreciate until much later in my career how significant BioFocus was and the exceptional quality of the team whose inception it was. Sally was an integral part of the BioFocus Management Team including Paul Doyle, John Harris, Dave Stone, Keith Moscrop and Alan Clabon, mostly former Wellcome scientists prior to the GSK acquisition. With my rose tinted spectacles firmly in place, I can say that those early days were quite extraordinary, with company meetings involving everyone, it really was something quite different. It was at BioFocus that I was first exposed to computational chemistry and modeling through Sally’s influence. I recall that Sally was incredibly encouraging, and as a lowly bench chemist at the time with just an interest, that really spurred me on to learn more. One regret I do have is that I didn’t take Sally up when, to my surprise, she eventually offered me a job in her computational group many years later, but she clearly saw something that I was not aware of. I guess her predictive skills went far beyond QSAR given where I am today. I have very fond memories of those days of which Sally was a big part. I had much respect for Sally, she was very smart, calm and very professional but also kind and very approachable – a rare find indeed.”
Martin Slater
Colleague, BioFocus; Director of Consulting Services, Cresset

“Sally was always a joy to work with. When I joined Cresset as CEO, Sally as Director of BD was very supportive and we made a nice team together. She was a happy person and always armed with her KitKat and a smile when arriving at work after a long drive from her home. She was a very competent scientist and together with her engaging personality was able to operate effectively in the largely male preserve that is still science today. I think she was right to retire early to France, as she knew her genes were stacked against her, and have a number of happy years with her husband Han and to indulge another passion of writing. I have read both of the Pevi books and found them most enjoyable. Sally’s hair was amazing to! She will be missed.”
Bea Leigh
Former CEO, Cresset

“One little thing I remember is when Sally bought her Audi TT with the first share money. It was a hardtop and I asked her why not a convertible – she said with hair like hers, all curls, why should she want one! Dear Sally will miss her a lot.
John Harris
Colleague, BioFocus

“I first met and worked with Sally in her biophysics phase ( and I think her Fiesta XR2 girl racer days), looking at using red ghost cells as a model for passive access. From there her knowledge of QSAR and statistics became her passion and expertise and just at the time of real rational design and contribute a lot to the reputation of both Wellcome and subsequently of the BioFocus computational group.

In the early days of BioFocus both myself and Sally spent a lot of time ‘on the road’ selling the company skills and reputation to potential customers – adding a lot to the MBA of life we were going through. As others have said, Sally’s sense of humour and fortitude kept us going as one thing we learnt about BD as such, you have a lot of disappointment before the highs (kissing lots of frogs).

I can only really echo Andy’s comments about Sally the person. Her antennae and sensitivity were good at working out the situation and if it wasn’t great a good situation then humour would prevail. When first BioFocus joined with Cambridge Drug Discovery, myself, Mark and Sally used the codenames Harry, Ron & Hermione . . . . .”
Paul Doyle
Colleague, BioFocus; COO, Peakdale

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