Biopeople

Minister of Life Sciences

Minister of Life Sciences

29.07.2014 - The UK government has named George Freeman, MP, as minister for life sciences. The position has been newly created and is aimed to bridge the departments of health and business.

Freeman has extensive background as a biotech venture capitalist. Before being elected to Parliament in 2010, he was Founder and Chairman of 4D Biomedical Ltd, a specialist translational medicine consultancy. Before that, he was CEO of Cambridge-based start-up Amedis Pharmaceuticals and Director of Early Stage Ventures at Merlin Biosciences.

Freeman served as Government Life Science Advisor from 2011 to 2013 to the Minister of State for Universities and Science. In this capacity, he supported the coordination of the Prime Minister's Life Science Strategy. He is involved in the UK Government department UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to promote the UK Life Science sector including representing the UK Government on trade missions to the USA and Sweden.

25.07.2014 With the appointment of Ann-Tove Kongsnes and Hilde Furberg to its board of directors, Swedish specialty pharma company Pharmalink AB has gained experts from both business development and pharmaceuticals.

Pharmalink AB

Ann-Tove Kongsnes is an Investment Director at Pharmalink investor company Investinor, which is Norway’s largest investor in venture and expansion capital. She was previously an investment manager at ProVenture Managment AS and worked as a Business Development Manager at Leiv Eiriksson Nyskaping AS, among others. In addition to Pharmalink, Kongsnes is a board member of Investinor’s portfolio companies Ayanda AS, Nordic Seafarms AS, Polight AS, and Soundrop AS. She is also deputy board member at Bergenbio AS and head of International Affairs at Investinor.

Hilde Furberg has 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. She is currently Senior Vice President Rare Disease EMEA at Sanofi’s Genzyme, which she joined in 2002. Prior to Genzyme, Furberg spent 15 years at health care company Baxter in various business roles of increasing seniority, before which she was involved in the start-up of Pharmalink. She used to sit on the board of companies such as Algeta ASA, Clavis Pharma ASA, Pronova Biopharma ASA and Probi AB.

At the shareholders’ meeting that saw the two new board members, Elisabeth Lindner stepped down from the board while Olav Hellebø was also elected new member.

12.07.2014 Will Lewis has joined Uniqure’s supervisory board in June 2014. The human gene therapy specialist company expects to profit from Lewis’ expertise in both scientific and financial aspects of management as well as experience in orphan diseases.

Uniqure

Will Lewis has more than 20 years of executive experience in the pharmaceutical and finance industries both in the US and internationally. He served as president and CEO and as a member of the Board of Directors of Insmed, a US biopharma company specialised in inhalation therapies for orphan lung diseases. He co-founded Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, where he also filled the role of president and chief financiel officer. Prior to Aegerion, Lewis spent 10 years working in the U.S. and Europe in investment banking for JP Morgan, Robertson Stephens and Wells Fargo.

Lewis also serves as a member of the board of directors of Oberlin College and is a member of the Visiting Committees of the Weatherhead School of Management of Case Western Reserve University and The Hawken School. Jörn Aldag, CEO of uniQure, commented “[Lewis’] exceptional experience in the field of orphan diseases as well as his broad knowledge of the US and European financial markets will be of high value to the company.”

08.07.2014 Swiss start-up Spinomix has added long-time investor Dr. K. Peter Hirth to its Board of Directors.

K. Peter Hirth

Hirth received his Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Heidelberg and worked as a research scientist with the German Max Planck Institute before joining Boehringer Mannheim as Vice President of Research. As president, he helped build US drug discovery company Sugen from its inception. From 2001 onwards, Hirth served as co-founder and CEO of Plexxikon, where he built a drug discovery platform to bring several new chemical entities into the clinic in a variety of indications. Hirth currently serves as a Board member of KineMed, Kolltan and Alios Biopharma. Lausanne-based Spinomix hopes that the appointment of Hirth will help develop the technology platform company towards commercial maturity.

03.07.2014 British Ario Pharma Ltd has strengthened its scientific capacities by adding two research experts to its team: respiratory expert Peter Barnes and COPD researcher Wisia Wedzichato.

Ario Pharma, SL

The Cambridge-based respiratory disease specialist has appointed Peter Barnes and Wisia Wedzichato its Scientific Advisory Board. The current President of the European Respiratory Society, Barnes has published more than 1,000 peer-review papers on asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The most highly-cited respiratory researcher in the world over the last 20 years also co-founded RespiVert (now Johnson & Johnson). Wedzicha is a member of the Guideline Development Group for the revision of the NICE COPD guidelines, and has a particular interest in the causes, mechanisms, impact and prevention of COPD exacerbations and the role bacterial and viral infections play in them. She directs an active research group in that area and has published extensively on the topic.

01.07.2014 Tumour angiogenesis pioneer Napoleone Ferrara has been appointed Chairman of Tiziana Life Sciences plc’s (London) Scientific Advisory Board.

Tiziana, SL

Honoured with the 2010 Lasker Award for his discovery of the angiogenesis drug target VEGF, the Distinguished Professor of Pathology at the University of California’s School of Medicine in San Diego will advise Tiziana on its  BCL3 targeted cancer drugs, which are in development for mestastasis prevention. 

26.06.2014 Ophthalmic gene therapy company GenSight Biologics SA (Paris) has named Jean-Philippe Combal as its Chief Operating Officer to push development of its Phase I LHON replacement therapy (GS010).

GenSight, SL

Combal worked with Fovea Pharmaceuticals from 2006 to 2011, where he initially led product development before moving on to become VP Strategic Marketing of Fovea-Sanofi’s Ophthalmic Division. Since 2011, he has developed Galderma International’s marketing of clinical projects. In his more than 20 years in the industry, Combal has worked at Servier, Pierre-Fabre Medicament, Fournier-Solvay Pharma and ExonHit Therapeutics.

24.06.2014 Rolf Stahel joined Ergomed’s (Guildford, UK) board as Non-Executive Chairman.

Ergomed, SL

Stahel brings over 30 years experience in the pharma industry to the drug development services company. He led Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc as CEO from 1994-2003 and worked before that for 27 years with Wellcome plc. Stahel has also played the Non-Executive Chairman role at Newron Pharmaceuticals, Cosmo Pharmaceuticals, PowderMed and EUSA Pharma.

19.06.2014 Recombinant spider silk producer AMSilk GmbH (Planegg, Germany) has named Jens Klein as its Managing Director.

AmSilk

He succeeds Axel Leimer, who had led the company since 2008. Klein previously worked with industrial biotech company Evonik Industries AG and was a member of the executive board of med-tech, biotech, and high-tech investment company Mulligan BioCapital AG. Prior to Mulligan, he was the commercial head and managing director of subsidiaries of Fresenius AG (Bad Homburg).

17.06.2014 Udit Batra has taken the helm as new CEO and President at Merck Millipore’s Consumer Health Division from Robert Yates, who has left the company.

Lichtbildatelier Eva Speith

Prior to his new position, Batra served as Head of Consumer Health at the German company. The chemical engineer joined Merck Serono from Novartis, where he had held a range of executive management positions since 2006. Before joining Novartis, Batra worked at Merck & Co., McKinsey and Johnson & Johnson.

29.05.2014 Drug discovery provider Sygnature Discovery Ltd. has appointed Gerry Thomas as its new Director of Business Development.

Sygnature

Thomas spent more than 20 years in drug discovery and development at Boots Pharmaceuticals, BASF/Knoll, OSI Pharmaceuticals, Prosidion and Shire Pharmaceuticals. At Sygnature, the medicinal chemist will be instrumental in promoting the company’s integrated drug discovery capabilities and expertise across Europe and North America. 

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No liability assumed, Date: 28.07.2014

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