Herbert Wyndham was a student attending Oxford University who built a machine capable of accelerating the genetic evolution of living organisms. His first test subject was his pet dog, which he managed to evolve into a creature who stood upright and had the intelligence of a chimpanzee. (The dog was accidentally killed by a hunter.) His experiments provoked anger and hostility among his peers, so Wyndham left the university to carry on his experiments without detractors. Joined by his friend Jonathan Drew, the two men were recruited by SHIELD who supplied them with the capital and creative freedom to continue their research. Wyndham's work centered on the improvement of his genetic accelerator while Drew studied spiders' natural immunological resistance to radiation. Subjecting himself to his own machine in secret, Wyndham began to accelerate his own intellectual capacity, enabling him to make increasingly greater discoveries.
Wyndham's partnership with Drew began to fray when their superiors increasingly heaped more and more accolades upon Wyndham whose research they saw as more integral to SHIELD objectives. When Drew's wife Merriem was raped and murdered, Drew became so despondent that he took his own life, leaving his daughter, Jessica, in Wyndham's custody.
As Jessica entered adolescence, she began manifesting mutant powers. Wyndham learned from Drew's research notes that he had been subjecting his daughter to mutagenic experimentation for years. Jessica Drew, who had gained spider-like powers from her treatment, became the patient zero for Wyndham's Super Agents Initiative.
Carol Danvers, and Wendell Vaughn were recruited to Wyndham's program due to their distinguished careers, but also due to a genetic predisposition that made them more likely than previous test subjects to except genetic modification.