After completing an MA in Chemistry and a DPhil in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, Dr Willcocks became one of the initial members of IPGroup Plc following its landmark deal with the Chemistry Department at Oxford. Ultimately leading the Life Science team, Dr Willcocks' role encompassed all aspects of technology commercialisation, including spin-out company formation and business and corporate development, as well as private and public equity financings.
Dr Willcocks was a key player in the creation of 14 life science businesses based on technology from three universities, leading proposals for the investment of £4m in seed financing from IPGroup and holding positions of Director and Chairman for 6 portfolio companies. Working alongside the executive teams of the portfolio companies, Dr Willcocks played an integral role in out-licensing transactions, co-development deals and acquisitions. As well as supporting fundraisings for portfolio biotechnology companies, raising an aggregate of £20m, Dr Willcocks also assisted with IPGroup's own IPO in October 2003 on the LSE, raising £30m and capitalising the company at over £100m. Dr Willcocks was actively involved in the establishment of ONL whilst at IPGroup before joining full time in January 2006.
He is also a leading real tennis player, and regularly competes in international tournaments.