Harpal Kumar was appointed President of GRAIL Europe in April 2020, with responsibility for leading GRAIL’s entry and growth in Europe. Prior to this, from September 2018, he was Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation for EMEA, based at the London Innovation Center, responsible for external R&D collaborations and co-investments.
Harpal gained a Masters in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cambridge and an MBA as a Baker Scholar from Harvard Business School. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow and the Institute of Cancer Research. He holds an Honorary Chair in Cancer Sciences at the University of Manchester. He was knighted in the 2016 New Years Honours list for services to cancer research.
After a brief period working as a research scientist with the UK Atomic Energy Authority, Harpal worked for four years in the London office of McKinsey and Co, specialising in healthcare. He then became CEO of The Papworth Trust, which focuses on pioneering rehabilitation services for people with acquired and congenital disabilities.
Harpal left Papworth in 1997 to become founding CEO of Nexan Group, a venture capital-backed medical device company, creating and marketing novel cardio-respiratory monitoring technologies to reduce premature mortality in patients with congestive heart failure.
Harpal joined Cancer Research Technology Limited (CRT, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK) as Chief Executive in October 2002. In addition to his role with CRT, he became Chief Operating Officer of Cancer Research UK in July 2004, before becoming Chief Executive in April 2007 until June 2018.
Harpal was Chair of the Taskforce and author of “Achieving World-Class Cancer Outcomes: A Strategy for England 2015-2020”, published in summer 2015. He is a Non-Executive Board member of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) and the Senior Independent Member of Innovate UK.