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.

28.01.2014 In mid-January, Horizon Discovery – UK's provider of research tools to support the development of personalised medicines – appointed Dr. Ian Gilham Chairman of its Board of Directors.

Horizon Discovery

His health care industry career spans thirty years of experience. The current Chairman of genetic testing company Muliplicom and POC diagnostics provider Biosurfit comes in from in vitro diagnostics developer Axis-Shield plc which was taken over by Alere in 2011. Prior Gilham held senior positions with healthcare companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Abbott Laboratories, Celltech and Amersham.

23.01.2014 French biotech Theravectys has appointed Pierre d'Epenoux as Head of Strategy and Business Development.


In combination with the appointment of Paul Gineste as Head of Clinical Development, the specialist in vaccine development aims to strengthen the company’s global strategic planning. D'Epenoux has 20 years of experience in strategic development with international pharmaceutical companies. Before joining Theravectys, he worked as Head of Strategy and Business Development Europe at Sanofi.

21.01.2014 Polish biotech Selvita is boosting its chemistry division and appointed Dr. Mirosława Zydroń as director of the chemistry division and member of the Management Board.


In combination with the appointment of Dr. Krzysztof Brzozka as executive vice president and Chief Scientific Officer, the management board changes are due to the extension of the scale of the company’s operations.

Mirosława Zydroń will be responsible for the further development of the Chemistry Services Division. She was in charge of the formation and organisation of the division and the strategic development of the chemistry research services since joining the Kraków-based company in 2009. Pawel Przewiezlikowski, the Chief Executive Officer of Selvita, commented: “(Mirosława’s) Chemistry Services Division has been expanding rapidly, delivering successful projects to our existing customers from the innovative and generic pharma industry as well as starting new relationships in pharma, chemicals and agrochemicals markets in the USA, Europe and Asia.” Zydroń added: “Our current goal is to constantly grow in a stable way and further strengthen our market position in the area of R&D outsourcing.”

20.01.2014 New CEO and president at Gyros AB: Erik Walldén has handed over leadership at the Swedish immunoassay specialist to life sciences veteran Dan Calvo.

Gyros AB

Dan Calvo brings over 30 years of experience in the life sciences industry into the Uppsala-based company. Previously, as President and CEO of Cellomics, he was responsible for leading the company to double-digit growth and positioning the company for sale in 2005 to Fisher Scientific (now Thermo Fisher). Following his time at Cellomics, Dan was President and CEO of Assay Designs, which was acquired by Enzo Biochem in 2009, and most recently President and CEO of Oncimmune USA LLC, a leading early cancer detection laboratory acquired by Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc.

Walldén joined Gyros in 2009 and established Gyros as a frontrunner in nano-scale immunoassays. He commented: “Gyros has excellent, robust technology, a talented team of professionals and a sound business foundation. With continued strong commitment by the owners and a new leadership, the company is well geared for the next level of business. It is with pleasure and full confidence I am now handing over to Dan.”

18.01.2014 Former Novartis CMO, Dr. Markus Weissbach, takes over the newly created key division Registration and Clinical Development at CytoTools AG. With the new appointment, CytoTools extends its managerial board to three persons.


Weissbach moved from the supervisory board to the management board of CytoTools AG, a technology holding company with participations in the field of pharmaceuticals and other medical products. He previously held a series of managerial positions with clinical contract research companies and in research and clinical development at large pharmaceutical companies. Among other posts, he was Chief Medical Officer at Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics, Chairman of the Board at Aptiv Solutions, President of ICON Europe and a director at Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Knoll AG.

14.01.2014 Olivier Brandicourt has been appointed Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer HealthCare and member of the Bayer AG Executive Council.

Bayer AG

He will replace Professor Wolfgang Plischke, who has led Bayer HealthCare on an interim basis in addition to his existing duties as a Bayer AG Board Member since March 2013. Brandicourt has 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including executive responsibilities in France, the US, Canada and the UK. Over the last three years, he has been a member of the Executive Leadership Team of Pfizer Inc. in New York. Brandicourt is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in London, UK.

13.01.2014 Oxford Gene Technology Ltd. (OGT) has appointed Dr. Bob Holland as Chief Medical Officer.

Dr. Holland is an expert in biomarker-driven drug development and has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Holland worked as vice president at AstraZeneca plc and was the head of AZ’s Personalised Healthcare and Biomarkers division. In this position, he generated a pipeline of 14 developmental drug programmes that were matched with potential companion diagnostic tests. With Holland’s appointment as CMO, OGT is aiming to strengthen its focus on cancer biomarkers.

09.01.2014 The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has appointed Dr. Bernhard Url as its new Acting Executive Director.


Before he joined EFSA in 2012 as Director of Risk Assessment and Scientific Assistance, Dr. Url was marketing director at the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety for nearly ten years. From 2008 to March 2012, Dr. Url also served as a member of EFSA’s Management Board. After acting as Deputising Executive Director since July, he will now carry out the role of Acting Executive Director until a permanent appointment is made.

19.12.2013 EuropaBio’s Secretary General Nathalie Moll has been given the ”2013 Women Innovation” prize at the Women & Technologies conference in Milan.

She got the award for raising awareness about the role of bio­technology in increasing sustainability for future generations.The biochemist, who has been with EuropaBio for over 10 years, has also worked in the biotech and food policy area for the European Crop Protection Association, as well as for the Italian national biotech association Assobiotec. The Technovisionaries award publicly recognises women who have demonstrated an ability to combine creativity and innovation in order to improve quality of life, in particular in the area of food and nutrition. "Women have shown an increased commitment in using new technologies while also making progress in developing technology and promoting innovation", declared Gianna Martinengo, founder and chairwoman of the conference.

Photo: EuropaBio

16.12.2013 Désiré Collen, founder of ThromboGenics, was given the Scrip Lifetime Achievement Award at the end of November in London for his outstanding contributions to the pharmaceutical/biotech industry.

Collen played a key role in the development of both tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) for acute myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke, and ocriplasmin for the treatment of symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion/vitreomacular traction. A treatment for acute myocardial infarctions, tPA was a key product in Genentech’s success in the late 1980s and 1990s. Ocriplasmin, a proteolytic enzyme indicated for the treatment of symptomatic vitreo­macular adhesion, was launched in 2013 under the trade name Jetrea, and licensed by Alcon in March 2012 in a a375m deal. Collen has co-authored more than 650 scientific publications, and is listed as co-inventor on 20 patents and patent applications.

 Photo: VIB

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