True blue Bayer man

True blue Bayer man

26.02.2015 - When Olivier Brandicourt leaves Bayer Health Care at the end of March, Werner Baumann will take over as the company’s Chairman of the Board of Management.

Baumann has been working for Bayer since he joined the company in 1988. He held leading positions since 2002 and was actively involved in the Schering AG integration into Bayer after its acquisition in 2006.

Baumann will remain a member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG, of which he has been a member since 2010. He will also continue on as Chief Strategy and Portfolio Officer responsible for Corporate Development and Mergers & Acquisitions as well as the Europe region. Before taking over this responsibility, Baumann served as Bayer AG’s Chief Financial Officer.

Brandicourt, meanwhile, will take over as Sanofi’s new CEO.

14.08.2014 Matthew Pauls is taking over the leadership for Swedish biopharmaceutical company Cortendo AB. With his extensive pharma background and experience in commercial operations, Pauls aims to orient Cortendo toward product commercialisation.

Cortendo AB

Once Pauls has taken over the new role of president and CEO, erstwhile CEO Joseph Reiser will assume the position of chairman of the board. Current chairman Eigil Stray Spetalen will step down to assume a regular board position.

Before joining Cortendo, Pauls was Chief Commercial Officer of US biopharmaceutical company Insmed, Inc, and before that, he worked at Shire Pharmaceuticals, most recently as Senior Vice President, Head of Global Commercial Operations. Pauls also held positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Brand Management and Payor Marketing and at Johnson & Johnson in various US and global commercial roles. Mr. Pauls holds BS and MBA degrees from Central Michigan University and a JD from Michigan State University College of Law.

07.08.2014 John P. Donoghue is taking over the management of the Geneva Wyss Center for Bio-and Neuro-engineering at Campus Biotech.

campus biotech

The internationally recognised neuroscientist was also appointed adjunct professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and visiting professor at the University of Geneva. Donoghue is the founder of Brown University’s Institute for Brain Science in Rhode Island, USA, and works as a professor of neuroscience and engineering at Brown University. He also holds the Henry Merritt Wriston chair. He will take a one year sabbatical from Brown in 2015 during which he will be devoted to his position as Head of the Wyss Center.

Donoghue is among the founding fathers of neuroprosthetics - the merger between neuroscience and cybernetics. He is best known for having developed innovative brain-computer interfaces for people with paralysis.

11.08.2014 Sir Alec Jeffreys has been awarded the Royal Society’s Copley Medal. The British geneticist received the medal for his pioneering work on variation and mutation in the human genome.

Jane Gitschier, PLoS Genetics

Jeffreys is well known for his 1984 discovery of a method to show the variation between individuals’ DNA, a technique which became known as genetic fingerprinting.  He made the discovery in his lab at the University of Leicester after looking at an X-ray image of the DNA of the different members of his lab technician’s family. Genetic fingerprinting has since been used to resolve issues of identity and kinship, becoming a formative method used in modern forensic science. Jeffreys continued working with this method, further refining it towards DNA profiling. “Sir Alec’s work has transformed our understanding of human genetics“, said Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society.

The Royal Society awards the Copley medal since 1731, making it the scientific prize believed to be the oldest in the world. It is awarded for outstanding achievements in scientific research. Before Jeffreys, scientists such as Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking have been awarded.

04.08.2014 Former Merck & Co. president for Europe and Canada Bruno Strigini has been appointed president of Novartis Oncology.

Novartis Oncology

Right off the bat, Strigini’s career started off internationally, with an MBA from Swiss IMD, a doctorate degree in pharmacy from the French University of Montpellier, and a master's degree in microbiology from UK’s Heriot-Watt University. Since then, he has worked in pharmaceuticals, animal health, OTC and vaccines for 25 years. Strigini has held increasingly senior executive positions in a number of companies, such as Schering-Plough, UCB-Celltech and SmithKline Beecham. Previous roles have included President of International Operations, President of Japan and Asia-Pacific, and Senior Vice-President and Head of Global Marketing & Business Development, as well as Managing Director positions in New Zealand, the UK and Spain.

His expertise stretches across diverse geographies, including both mature and emerging markets. He is a member of the Executive Committee for the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries & Associations (EFPIA), as well as a member of the Académie Nationale de Pharmacie in France.

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.

George Freeman

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.


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. 

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