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30.11.2015 - Recently founded UK-based speciality biopharmaceutical company Mereo Biopharmaceuticals has brought in Paul Blackburn to take over as Non-executive Board Director and Chairman of the Audit.

Blackburn is currently Senior VP Strategic Finance Projects at GlaxoSmithKline. He previously held senior finance executive positions at GSK and recently served on the GSK Audit and Risk Committee. He is also a Non-Executive Director of Syngene International and a member of Syngene's Audit and Risk Committee and Stakeholder Relationships Committee. He holds a BSc in Management Sciences from Warwick University and also a professional accounting qualification from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

In parallel to Blackburn’s addition to the Board, Mereo has also appointed Anthony Hall as Head of Orphan Diseases, Jacqueline Parkin as Head of Respiratory and Endocrinology, Fiona Bor: Head of Intellectual Property and Ian Hodgson: Head of Clinical Operations.


29.10.2015 Stockholm-based BioLamina AB, a manufacturer of primary cell culture based on human recombinant laminins, has engaged Stephen Minger as its Scientific Advisor. The cell technology expert has been a prominent figure in stem cell researcher in the UK.

© BioLamina

Minger held the position of GE Healthcare’s Global Director for Research and Development for Cell Technologies for more than three years and is still working as a scientific consultant for the company in the fields of Cellular Sciences and Regenerative Medicine. He earned a PhD in pathology from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. For ten years, Minger worked as a lecturer in Biomolecular Sciences at King's College London.

In 2002, Minger’s research group was among the first to deposit a human embryonic stem cell line into the UK Stem Cell Bank. He was actively involved with the UK Department of Health and with the Minister for Public Health in the consultation with both Houses of Parliament that led to the passage of the Human Embryo Bill of 2009 and the inclusion of new forms of animal-human embryos within primary legislation. Stephen was the Stem Cell Expert and a Member of the UK Gene Therapy Advisory Committee (GTAC) at the Department of Health from 2006-2012 and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Canadian Centre for the Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine.


26.10.2015 Marie Bézenger has joined Deinove’s Executive Committee. As Director of Operations, she will manage the downstream development of the fermentation processes and their scale-up to foster their commercialisation.

© Deinove

Bézenger spent over 20 years within the Danish Chr. Hansen group, one of the world's leading producers of natural ingredients, where she held the positions of Head of the Dairy Cultures Department, Innovation Director of Dairy France in the Cultures & Enzymes Division, and also Major Accounts Technical Director. Before joining Deinove, Bézenger was Director of Operations at Fermentalg.

She holds a PhD in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Montpellier.


23.10.2015 Bicycle Therapeutics, a biotech developing a new therapeutic modality based on bicyclic peptides, has a new CEO. Kevin Lee has taken over the position in September.

© Bicycle Therapeutics

Lee joins Bicycle from Pfizer, where he last served as Senior VP and CSO of the Rare Disease Research Unit. He held responsibility for more than 20 novel programs across the full spectrum of R&D, established Pfizer’s Rare Disease strategy and founded the Rare Disease research consortium. He also conceptualised and implemented the company’s Gene Therapy strategy with the creation of the Genetic Medicine Institute.

Lee, who holds an MBA from Warwick Business School and has been awarded an honorary Chair in Molecular Pharmacology from the University of Warwick, also founded Cambridge Biotechnology, whcih was later acquired by Biovitrum. He has authored over 100 scientific publications.


20.10.2015 In September, the Research Council of Norway awarded cancer researcher Harald Stenmark with the council’s Award for Outstanding Research 2015. Stenmark is a professor at the University of Oslo’s Faculty of Medicine and a part-time professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology Faculty of Medicine.

© University of Oslo

He also heads the Centre for Cancer Biomedicine, a Norwegian Centre of Excellence hosted by the University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital.

Stenmark has made important discoveries related to the regulation of cell growth and cell division, mechanisms for uptake and transport of proteins in cells, and how these processes involve cell signaling processes. He has contributed substantially to scientists’ understanding of cellular breakdown.

The Research Council’s annual Award for Outstanding Research, also known as the Møbius Prize, carries a cash prize of NOK1m.


19.10.2015 Danish drug discoverer Nuevolution A/S has appointed Jeanette Wood as Scientific Advisor and Director. Wood, who holds a PhD in Pharmacology from University of Otago, Dundein, New Zealand, has led various global drug discovery teams and research groups in the past.

© Nuevolution

She currently holds the position of Chief Scientific Officer of Swiss biotech Genkyotex. Previously, she worked at international companies such as Novartis and Singapore-based S*BIO. Wood has authored numerous scientific publications and patents, and has served as an Adjunct Professors at Universities in Basel, Singapore and Korea.


16.10.2015 As part of its reorganisation process, Swedish Medivir AB has created a new function bundling regulatory responsibilities and expertise. Åsa Holmgren has been appointed EVP Strategic Regulatory Affairs and will head the new unit.

© Medivir

Medivir, which specialises in  infectious diseases and oncology drug development, just recently recruited the pharma veteran. Before joining Medivir, Holmgren held the position of Senior VP of Regulatory Affairs at Orexo, and before that spent 12 years as Senior Global Regulatory Affairs Director at AstraZeneca. She holds an M.Sc. in Pharmacy from Uppsala University.


07.10.2015 The Håkan Mogren Foundation selected Elisabet Lidbrink for its 2015 medical stipend. The oncologist receives the SEK250,000 prize for her humanity and “contributions to alleviating human suffering”.

© Karolinska Institutet

Lidbrink has worked in cancer care for the last 30 years, and is an oncology consultant at Karolinska University Hospital.

“Elisabet Lidbrink puts the patient first and always from a place of passion and empathy. She is an amazing mentor to the next generation of oncologists and a role model who exemplifies what true cancer care is all about,” commented Håkan Mogren.


05.10.2015 French biomaterial pioneer Global Bioenergies SA has appointed John Pierce as its new Chairman of the Board of Directors.

© Global Bioenergies

Pierce is a veteran in the field of Industrial Biology and was until recently the Chief Bioscientist at British Petroleum plc. Prior to BP, he led the development of biotech applications at DuPont. Pierce received a PhD in carbohydrate chemistry and enzymology from Michigan State University.


01.10.2015 Novartis Chairman Joerg Reinhardt is taking over as chairman of the Novartis Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

© Novartis

Reinhardt, who holds a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from German Saarland University, previously served as chairman of the board of management and the executive committee of Bayer HealthCare. Prior to that, he held the position of Chief Operating Officer of Novartis from 2008 to 2010, and as Head of the Vaccines and Diagnostics Division of Novartis from 2006 to 2008. He also served as Chairman of the Board of the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation in the US from 2000 to 2010, as a member of the supervisory board of MorphoSys from 2001 to 2004, and as a member of the board of directors of Lonza Group AG in Switzerland from 2012 to 2013.

Reinhardt succeeds Andrin Oswald. Peter Piot of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Rebecca Weintraub of Harvard Medical School, and Mr. Rainer Boehm from Novartis Pharmaceuticals have also been appointed to the foundation’s trustee board. Previous Board members George Gunn and Jean-Marie Lehn stepped down in the past year.


28.09.2015 Munich-based drug developer leon-nanodrugs GmbH has appointed Theron Odlaug as CEO of the company and its newly formed US subsidiary leon-nanodrugs Inc.

© leon-nanodrugs

Odlaug, who holds a Ph.D. in Public Health from the University of Minnesota, comes with 35 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry.

Previously, he was Executive Chairman of Cedarburg Pharmaceuticals and Executive Chairman and CEO of Planet Biopharmaceuticals.  From 2008 until 2011, he was President and CEO of CyDex Pharmaceuticals, and prior to that, Managing Partner of EIR Healthcare Advisors and Executive VP of Fujisawa Healthcare.

leon-nanodrugs has also announced the appointment of Anne Burger as Finance Director.

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