Building a diabetes major


Building a diabetes major

03.05.2016 - Diabetes vaccine developer Diamyd Medical has a new CEO. From now on, Ulf Hannelius will lead the Stockholm-based company.

Hannelius holds a PhD in molecular biology from the Karolinska Institute and an MBA from the Stockholm School of Economics. Since November 2015, he held the position of Business Development Manager at Diamyd. Prior to that, Hannelius held the same position at Swiss Labtronica SA. In 2011, he founded the life science consultancy provider Aneega AB. As CEO and President, he will focus on building up Diamyd as a “significant” diabetes company. He takes over from Anders Essen-Möller, who was interim CEO.

06.01.2014 Belgian Biotech FlandersBio has appointed Erwin Blomsma as its new chairman to continue the development of the company’s new strategy, which it intends to roll out both locally and globally.

© Okapi

Erwin started his career after a post-doctoral study at the University of Leuven in Belgium at Janssen Pharmaceutica in 1996 as Technology Manager. In 2000, he co-founded a contract research organisation Crystallice, which was later absorbed by another CRO, Avantium Technologies, where he became VP Technology in 2001 and COO in 2004. In 2007, Dr Blomsma co-founded and became CEO of Okapi Sciences, a company focused on animal health. Okapi Sciences developed a healthy pipeline of veterinary drugs, one of which was licensed to Novartis Animal Health in 2013. Since March 2014, he has been the general manager of Aratana Therapeutics NV in Leuven and VP of Aratana Therapeutics Inc.

“I am honoured to take up the task to lead FlandersBio into a next stage of growth and expansion,” said Erwin. “We will fully continue to develop the synergies with micro-electronics, ICT, medical technology and novel industrial and food applications in this further growth.”

29.12.2014 Chemist-by-training Sue Harris has been appointed as a non-Executive Director on the board of Abcam plc, a UK-based biotech company.

© Abcam plc

Harris has over 30 years of experience in financial and commercial roles. She held senior executive roles at Marks & Spencer, Standard Life and most recently worked as Finance Director at Lloyds Banking Group. Sue is a Member of the Audit and Assurance Council of the Financial Reporting Council and previously was a Non-Executive Director on the Board of St. James’s Place and a Member of the Audit and Remuneration Committee of the British Bankers’ Association.

19.12.2014 Gil Beyen has been appointed independent director of Belgian biotech Novadip Biosciences, a spin-off from Louvain University and Saint-Luc University Hospital active in skeletal regenerative medicine.

© Novadip Biosciences

Beyen is currently CEO and chairman of Erytech Pharma. Before that he served as CEO of French biotech Tigenix, which he also co-founded. In this capacity, he led the development and regulatory approval of ChondroCelect, the first Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product in Europe. He was also instrumental in the listing of the company and the subsequent merger with Cellerix. Beyen holds an MSc in Bio-Engineering from the University of Leuven and obtained an MBA from the University of Chicago in 1990.

09.12.2014 Belgian Ablynx NV welcomed Johan Heylen as its new Chief Commercial Officer. The Flemish drug developer announced the cast in mid-November.

© Ablynx

Heylen will assume responsibility for all commercial activities. Having more than 20 years of experience in global biopharmaceutical sales, marketing and business development at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Servier and Wyeth, he most recently was Executive Director, Global Commercial Lead, Cancer Immunotherapeutics, at pharma heavyweight GSK. At GSK, Heylen was responsible for the development and implementation of the launch strategy for GSK’s cancer immunotherapeutics portfolio. Prior to that, Heylen led and launched the successful global commercial and marketing efforts for three of GSK’s paediatric vaccines, Rotarix, Priorix and Varilrix, which together achieved sales of more than €1.5bn. "He will also bring valuable expertise to our business development team as we seek to develop our relationships with pharmaceutical companies around the world,” expects Edwin Moses, CEO of Ablynx. 

With Heylen at the steering wheel, Ablynx is now ready to board the market with its nanobodies. This summer, the antibody specialist managed to raise €41.7m through a private placement of new shares.

08.12.2014 Clinical stage biopharma firm Intercept Pharmaceuticals, focused on therapeutics to treat chronic liver and intestinal diseases, has appointed Lisa Bright as Senior Vice President and Head of Europe.

© Lazar Partners

The NASDAQ-listed company announced the news in mid-November when the appointment became effective. Bright will be a member of the Intercept senior management team and will spearhead Intercept's European operations based in London. She brings in more than 25 years of biotech and pharmaceutical industry experience – and she has all the necessary knowledge about liver diseases. As a Vice President at Gilead Sciences she was in charge of the Launch Planning for Europe, Asia, Middle East and Australasia of hepatitis drug Sovaldi. At Gilead, she held positions of increasing responsibility, including Vice President Northern Europe and Vice President Head Government Affairs for Europe, Middle East and Australasia. Bright's leadership of Sovaldi's European launch contributed to the most successful product launch in pharmaceutical history, Intercept pronounced.

03.12.2014 Karus Therapeutics, a developer of medicines for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and cancer, has taken on two stars from the pharma world to strengthen its R&D team – Simon Roitt and Peter Finan.

Simon Roitt © Karus

Bringing 20 years of clinical development experience in the healthcare sector, Simon Roitt has been appointed as Head of Clinical Development at the UK company. With previous senior roles at Roche, GE Healthcare and Biocompatibles, Simon who joined Karus in August, will implement the company’s clinical development plans. As Karus’ newly appointed Head of Biology, Peter Finan has an extensive career in the pharma industry and has held a number of senior roles at Novartis over a period of 16 years. His last position at the pharma giant was VP, Global Head in respiratory disease. In his new role, Peter will work on Karus’ most advanced programme – a treatment for inflammatory disorders.

17.11.2014 French specialty vaccine developer Abivax has appointed Karl Birth­istle as Vice President Global Regulatory Affairs. At the same time, his colleague Daniel Kenny was named Chief Commercial Officer & VP of Business Development at the firm.


A physician by trade, Birthistle moved sideways into the pharma and biotech industries, where he has held positions focussing on drug, biologics and vaccines development, working at British SmithKlineBeecham, Dutch Pharming, Austrian Baxter Bio­Science and other firms. His most recent post was as Director of Clinical Development and Safety Assessments for Philip Morris in Switzerland. Birthistle remains Deputy Head of the Clinical Review Division of Swissmedic, the Swiss regulatory authority.

13.11.2014 Jamal Temsamani has been appointed as Director of Drug Development and Corporate at VECT-­HORUS, a Marseille-based biotechnology company that designs and develops peptide vectors facilitating the delivery of drugs or imaging agents.


Temsamani is also a member of the VECT-HORUS Management Committee. The molecular biologist most recently held the post of Vice President of R&D at French generic drug maker CLL Pharma and at Synt:em before it was acquired by CLL. He also worked at Hybridon’s Europe arm, where he was Scientific Director. Temsamani has published dozens of scientific articles, and is a co-inventor on 40 patents.

10.11.2014 German Alzheimer's specialist Probiodrug in November invited Inge Lues – who has acted as Chief Development Officer since 2013 – to join the board.

© Probiodrug

 Chairman of the Supervisory Board Erich Platzer said Lues had been instrumental in the company’s recent IPO on the Euronext Amsterdam. Before joining Probiodrug in 2008 as a research and development advisor, Lues was Head of Global Drug Discovery and Non-Clinical Development Pharma at Merck KGaA. Prior to that, she led Merck’s Business Area in Central Nervous Systems.

30.10.2014 Scottish specialist reagent manufacturer Link Technologies Ltd. has appointed David Ricketts as its new CEO. Ricketts has taken over the company’s lead from John Bremner in October.

© Link Technologies

Ricketts, a graduate of Oxford University, spent the last two years as CEO of stem cell specialist FibromEd. Before that, he was CEO of Belgian Pharma Diagnostics and also focused on business development for various smaller R&D companies.

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