Award for breast cancer test pioneer


Award for breast cancer test pioneer

01.07.2015 - Laura van't Veer, co-founder and Chief Research Officer of Agendia, has won the European Inventor Award in the SME category. The Dutch molecular biologist and geneticist is the co-inventor of Agendia’s FDA-approved breast cancer test.

Agendia B.V. is a Dutch and US-American molecular diagnostics company that was co-founded by van’t Veer, who received her PhD on the study of Oncogene Activation and Tumorigenesis at the University of Leiden, in Amsterdam in 2003. She initially served as its Chief Operating Officer until mid 2007, after which she became the company’s Chief Research Officer. Agendia has developed a genetic diagnostic test, MammaPrint, used for breast cancer patients, which estimates the risk of recurrence up to 20 years into the future. van’t Veer’s award recognises the fundamental way in which she has changed breast cancer care with her invention of MammaPrint.

The prestigious innovation award, presented by the European Patent Office (EPO) took place on 11 June in Paris. Now in its 10th year, the accolade honours outstanding inventors who have made an exceptional contribution to social development, technological progress and economic growth.

05.05.2015 The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine has reinforced its top ranks with the appointment of Professor Alan Boyd as its new President. Alan who is currently Vice President of the faculty, will take up office later this year on 19th November replacing Dr Keith Bragman who will have served a three-year term.

© V formation

Alan is owner of Boyds consultancy business and began his pharmaceutical career 28 years ago at Glaxo Group Research Ltd. From 1988 he led ICI’s cardiovascular medical research team, later taking on the role of Director of Clinical and Medical Affairs at ICI Pharma in Canada. In 1999, after four years as Head of Medical Research for Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, he became Director of Research and Development for Ark Therapeutics Ltd where he was responsible for delivering the majority of key development milestones that have shaped the company. In April 2005, he left to set up Alan Boyd Consultants Ltd. The focus of the consultancy is to aid and support early stage life science based companies.

Alan is a graduate in Biochemistry and Medicine from the University of Birmingham. His experience will ensure that the Faculty will help further establish its role as a healthcare partner and in the outside world.

27.04.2015 Cell therapy company apceth GmbH & Co. KG has expanded its senior management team by appointing Ulrike Verzetnitsch as Chief Technical Officer. Ulrike takes on the role with immediate effect and will lead all of apceth’s production activities and manufacturing operations and continue the expansion of apceth’s GMP manufacturing business.

© apceth GmbH & Co. KG

She brings a wealth of experience gathered in the pharmaceutical sector from her roles in leading pharma and biotech companies. Prior to joining apceth, Ulrike was the Head of the Production Unit at Takeda in Singen. Before that she held the position of Director of Production with Baxter. As part of her role, she gained professional experience in the manufacturing of products for worldwide distribution in compliance with the FDA, EMEA and Japanese and other guidelines.

Ulrike began her career in the pharma industry in 2000. She holds a degree in Biochemistry and a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the Technical University in Vienna.

14.04.2015 This year’s Norwegian Bioenergy Innovation Award was awarded to Vincent Eijsink, professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). The award, which was presented to the molecular scientist on 17th March during the CenBio Days 2015, recognises innovative thinking, research-based development and commercial potential.

© Industrial Biotech Network-Norway

According to the award committee, Vincent was honoured for his endeavours and dedication, which has been crucial to the development of Bioenergy in Norway and has also contributed to optimal utilisation of biomass: “His work has had a great, lasting and decisive positive impact on the biogas sector in Norway,” stated the 2015 Committee.

Vincent has a PhD from Groningen, The Netherlands, in enzyme engineering and has been a professor of Biochemistry at NMBU since 1997. He has developed fast enzyme-based methods to test the biogas production potential of various feedstocks mixtures. He is also at the forefront within production of biogas from seaweed, a field with substantial commercial potential. The related fundamental enzyme work, which was published in Science in 2010, has led to several patent applications.

10.04.2015 Marc de Garidel, Chairman and CEO of French pharmaceutical Ipsen, became the new chair of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) Governing board at the end of March. The industry veteran has decades of experience working in the pharmaceutical sector and takes over the role from Roch Doliveux, who retired as CEO of Belgian biopharma UCB at the end of 2014.

© Gerard Uferas

Marc has been the CEO and Chairman of Ipsen, a global speciality-driven pharmaceutical company, since November 2010. The Parisian company specialises in neurology, endocrinology and urology-oncology. From 1995 and 2010, he held executive positions at US biopharma Amgen including Corporate Controller of the group in the US. Marc graduated from the French Engineering School ESTP and holds an Executive MBA from Harvard Business School.

IMI is a public-private partnership between the European Union and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). It works by supporting and advancing collaborations between leading experts from industry, universities, small biotechs, patient groups, and regulators across Europe. The IMI's collaborations are currently delivering promising results for Alzheimer’s, infectious diseases, diabetes, schizophrenia and rheumatoid arthritis. In his role as chairman, Marc will work as a guiding force in the IMI’s development and patient access to innovative medicines where there is an unmet medical and social need. 

13.04.2015 London-based Intercept Pharmaceuticals continues to expand in Europe with the recent appointment of Steve Arnold as Regional Vice President and General Manager for Europe. The biopharma focuses on the development and commercialisation of novel therapeutics to treat neglected chronic liver diseases.

© Intercept Pharmaceuticals

Steve has over 25 years of experience in building and leading biopharmaceutical organisations. His expertise and in-depth knowledge in hepatology and immunology will help launch new products and develop strong clinical, payor and patient relationships to Intercept. He will serve on Intercept’s cross-functional European leadership team, spearheading European operations as the Company prepares for the launch of its first product, obeticholic acid (OCA). Steve will be responsible for commercial operations in the UK & Ireland, the Nordics, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Before joining Intercept, Steve was Managing Director for UCB Celltech, UK & Ireland, where he led its market access and commercial operations functions. 

He is currently a member of the Board of Management of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), which represents the biopharmaceutical industry in the UK. Prior to UCB Celltech, Steve spent two years as General Manager at Gilead Sciences in Canada after spending 5 years at Gilead in the UK. Steve will report to Lisa Bright at Intecepts headquarters in London. Lisa was appointed Intercept’s Chief Commercial and Corporate Affairs Officer last December.

01.04.2015 This month, Kostas Kosmatopoulos segues from his current position as Vaxon Biotech’s founder and Chief Scientific Officer to his new role of Chief Executive Officer. As newly appointed CEO, he will use his extensive experience as a medical oncologist and immunologist to lead the company forward in its development in therapeutic vaccines.

© Vaxon Biotech

In 2004, Kostas established Vaxon Biotech on the basis of his work as research director at Inserm, France’s national institute of health, and his work specialising in tumour immunotherapy at the Institute Gustave Roussy (IGR), a leading cancer research institute. The two institutes granted Vaxon Biotech an exclusive worldwide license for three patents. Vaxon subsequently filed seven more patents in its own name. The Paris-based biotech develops unique and innovative vaccine technology and uses ‘optimized cryptic peptides’ that significantly improve immune responses and therefore vaccine efficacy.

Kostas received his medical degree at the University of Thessaloniki, his medical oncology certification from Theagenion Cancer Research Institute, Greece, and his PhD in Immunology at Paris XI University, France. Kostas has co-authored more than 50 scientific and international publications. 

“I am very enthusiastic and delighted to hold this new position at Vaxon Biotech, the company I founded ten years ago,” said Kostas. “I have always been convinced of its potential in anti-tumour immunotherapy, a very promising sector in oncology.”

30.03.2015 Life Sciences company Abzena has appointed biotechnology expert Jim Mills as its Vice President of Technical Operations. The Cambridge-based company provides services and technologies that enable the development of biopharmaceutical products.

© Abzena PLC

Jim brings a wealth of experience in the fields of biotechnology and biochemistry. Before joining Abzena in March, he held the position of CEO of Cantab Biopharmaceuticals, which he joined in 1997, initially to work in process development. Whilst at Cantab he took on roles of increasing levels of responsibility in biopharmaceutical manufacturing before becoming Director of Operations following the acquisition of Cantab by Xenova in 2007. In 2010, he took the helm as CEO when the company was taken over by Celtic Pharma Holdings.

“We are delighted to welcome Jim to Abzena and I look forward to working with him as the Company continues its commercial and corporate development,” said John Burt, CEO of Abzena.

In his new position as Vice President of Technical Operations, Jim will take on a lead role in the development of the Group’s strategy to support its partners’ access to Abzena’s technologies for biopharmaceutical development, as well as providing support for the commercial activities of the group. 

23.03.2015 Business authority Paul Wallace joins the helm of Cambridge-based MISSION Therapeutics’ as Chief Business Officer. MISSION specialises on the discovery and development of elucidating and targeting the ubiquitin pathway to treat cancers and other diseases. Among other projects, Paul will formulate its future business strategy in the exploration of development partnerships.

© MISSION Therapeutics

Paul’s abundance of experience in drug discovery development spans almost 20 years. Most recently, he was Executive Vice President and Head of Business Development at Medivir AB, where he was also a member of the Executive Management Team responsible for strategic and operational leadership, R&D portfolio management and investment planning. Prior to his roles in business development, Paul enjoyed a career in pharmaceutical research and undertook his PhD and post-doctoral studies at the University of Cambridge.

“With MISSION currently embarking on the preclinical development of its lead molecules, Paul’s extensive business development experience will be invaluable in helping us find the right strategic partnerships to fully realise the potential of these assets. Our core focus is cancer, but our platform discovery approach has yielded highly promising molecules for other indications, such as Parkinson’s disease. We see partnering as an attractive option for taking these non-core projects forward,” commented Anker Lundemose, MISSION Chief Executive Officer.

18.03.2015 Neovacs strengthens its top tier this month as it names Therese Croughs as its new Chief Medical Officer. She brings over 20 years’ of drug development and regulatory affairs experience to the Paris-based biotech, which focuses on immunotherapies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

© Neovacs

Therese has garnered her experience in different sized companies in various stages of clinical development across Europe, American and Asia. Beginning her career in the pharma industry at Bayer, she worked there for ten years on the design implementation and oversight of clinical trials and product registrations. After leaving Bayer, she joined Novo Nordisk as international medical adviser for EU clinical developments. She entered the biotech industry in 2004 as Director of Adhesive Technology and New Projects Business Units of BioAlliance Pharma. Prior to joining Neovacs, Therese was Chief Medical Officer at Cytheris for over six years.

“Her expertise in immunology and oncology, and extensive experience in defining worldwide clinical development programmes for immunotherapies and biologics will be instrumental for Neovacs at such a critical time in our clinical development,” announced Jean-Jacques Bertrand, Chairman of Neovacs.

Therese will lead the clinical development programmes for IFNα-Kinoid in lupus and dermatomyositis, as well as preparing the launch of the VEGF-Kinoid development programme.

11.03.2015 Now that Jonathan Emms’ new duties at Pfizer will be taking him out of the UK and across to the US, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has appointed John Kearney as their next President.


Kearney has been working in the pharmaceutical industry for the last 35 years. He is currently General Manager UK and Ireland at drug developer Amgen, where he has worked since 2007.

Prior to that, the economics graduate has held executive roles at GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer, and has been on the Board of the ABPI since 2008. The ABPI works on behalf of the UK’s research-based biopharmaceutical industry.

“I am delighted to be building on the recent leadership of Jonathan Emms, at a time when the pharmaceutical industry as a whole is delivering such a high quality and quantity of new science and treatment innovations. I look forward to playing my part in ensuring those innovations are able to make a real difference in the funding and provision of health services, in the outstanding work of healthcare professionals in the UK, and – ultimately – to patients," said John on his new position.

Kearney will take office on 24 April.

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