Albert Muntane Casanova, Chief Financial Officer, joined Swiss Rockets from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG Bank), where he was Director Investment Banking in the global aviation finance office, formerly the Aviation Division of DVB Bank SE, based in London. During this 5-year period, his responsibilities included advising airlines and lessors on raising finance as well as on strategy. Prior to joining DVB Bank in 2016, he held management and strategy roles at Air Europa, Spanair, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Accenture, and SAP.
Throughout his career, Muntane Casanova has lived in the UK, Germany, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Spain. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and holds a management degree from Instituto de Empresa Business School.
Dr. Thomas Staehelin, Co-Founder, holds a Ph.D. in law and has been a partner in the law firm Fromer Attorney and Notary Offices in Basel since 1981. His areas of expertise include international briefs, corporate law, mergers & acquisitions, tax law, contract, and commercial law, banking, and the stock market and securities law.
Dr. Staehelin is the Executive Board Member and President of several shareholder companies and trusts.
Dr. Marian Borovsky is an attorney-at-law and a qualified business mediator.
After several years as an advisor with PricewaterhouseCoopers, he became Group General Counsel of the listed pharmaceutical company Actelion Ltd during its start-up phase. As a member of the Executive Committee, he was responsible for setting up the company’s global legal department and led it successfully for roughly 17 years until Actelion was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in summer 2017.
Subsequently, he established his own consulting business and co-founded a start-up biopharmaceutical company.
Goran Radin, lic.rer.pol., is an economist and leadership expert in the area of Private Banking.
He obtained his economic degrees at the University of applied sciences of Basel and a global financial service specialization at the University of California.
After several years as a client advisor with several Swiss banks in the area of Private Banking, serving Swiss and international clients, he became a member of the Executive Committee of a Swiss Bank. He was responsible for setting up the company’s client strategy and the management of the branches. He led successfully for roughly 25 years the client departments for the banks until the spring 2018.
Subsequently, he established his own consulting business in the area of fundraising and phi-lathropy. He helped several international NGOs and start-ups in developing and implementing fundraising strategies in Switzerland and Europe. As a member of Brakeley Europe & Partners he has approach to an international fundraising network.
Dr. Aurélie Jenn, Head of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance, is a pharmacist (Pharm. D) bringing over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry.
In a first part of her career, she worked in Regulatory Affairs / CMC writing for generic products and New Chemical Entities in Switzerland and France, having close interactions and providing support to technical departments.
In 2010 while working at Mepha as CMC project leader, she had the opportunity to switch to the newly built Quality Development department, taking care of GMP QA for Investigational Medicinal Products. Later on, she held a Senior QA Manager / Deputy Responsible Person position at Basilea and then at Santhera. She also brings experience with distribution of commercial products (GDP).
Dr. Bernhard Hostettler, Head of Intellectual Property, originally is an organic chemist. After his Ph.D. at ETH Zürich, Bernhard was active in research for more than 20 years with companies Roche, CIBA, Syngenta and Givaudan. His research areas were agrochemistry, UV-filters, flavors and fragrances.
He then moved to Business Development and IP Management. In 2002 he joined Prionics AG – a diagnostic startup from the University of Zürich - where he was head of Intellectual Property Management and a member of the extended executive management. He also headed an independent business unit dealing with sophisticated DNA sampling systems.
In 2013 Bernhard founded his own company IPROMA GmbH which is specialized on supporting startups, spin-offs and SMEs in setting up their Intellectual Property Management. He is also certified as a special coach IP with Innosuisse where in the meantime he coached more than 80 startups being active in chemistry, diagnostics, pharmaceutics and MedTech. He is named as first or co-inventor of several patents protecting chemical compounds, flavors and forensic tools. Bernhard is regularly giving workshops on IP Management at ETH Zürich, University of Zürich, HSG St. Gallen and ZHAW Winterthur.
Erik Amble is the Chairman and founder of NeoMed Management in 1997. NeoMed has raised and managed 6 funds that are specialised in investments in the healthcare industry. Erik Amble is since 2016 also an advisor of Boston based Omega Funds, which has a strategic collaboration with NeoMed Management.
Erik Amble has served on the board of a. o. Clavis Pharma AS (which went public on the Oslo Stock Exchange), GenoVision AS (sold to Qiagen), Thommen Medical AG (investment sold in a secondary transaction), Vessix Vascular Inc. (sold to Boston Scientific Corporation) and Sonendo Inc. (USA) and currently serves on the board of Axonics Modulation Technologies Inc. (USA), JenaValve Technology Inc. (USA, Germany), CorFlow Therapeutics AG (Switzerland), Serca Pharmaceuticals AS (Norway) and Sequana Medical NV (Belgium, Switzerland).
From 1985 to 1992, Erik Amble was CEO of Origo Ventures AS, a Norwegian private equity investment company. Origo was an early investor in Navia AS, VMetro AS and Agresso AS, emerging growth companies that achieved successfully a listing on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Before that, he was an Associate with Glenwood Management, a venture capital management firm based in Palo Alto, California. From 1981 to 1983, he was responsible for international business development at Rumen Kjemi AS, a joint venture between companies, which are now part of Sanofi, a global healthcare company headquartered in France, and Orkla, a major Norwegian industrial and consumer products firm.
Erik Amble is a founder and former Chairman of the Norwegian Venture Capital Association. He holds a Dr. Scient. degree in organic chemistry from the University of Oslo and a Master of Science degree in Management from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, USA.
Erik Amble is a Swiss citizen.
Dr. Christoph Heusser, Head of Immunology, is an immunology expert who pioneered antibody-based therapies and antibody-mediated effector functions. He was Head of Immunology at Ciba-Geigy and Head of the Transplantation- Immunology Unit at Novartis and gave lectures on antibody-based interventions at the University Basel for 15 years. During this time, he initiated and executed several intervention strategies in the area of allergy, autoimmunity, and transplantation. He co-invented the concept of anti-IgE treatment, which resulted in the development of Xolair, - an antibody drug for the treatment of moderate to severe persistent allergic asthma and chronic spontaneous urticaria, - and the follow-up drug Ligelizumab. He was a Ciba-Geigy Fellow and nominated Novartis Distinguished Scientist and served as Principal Research Investigator at the Novartis Research Institutes of Biomedical Research. Dr. Heusser received his Dr. sc. nat. in Biochemistry and Immunology from the ETH Zürich, discovered the diversity of Fc-receptors in Denver, and was a member at the Basel Institute for Immunology, working on B cell immune regulation, before he devoted his energy to medicinal immunological research. Since several years Dr. Heusser supports different biotech companies as consultant and advisor.
Dr. Robert Ettlin is the Head of Preclinical Safety in Swiss Rockets. After some years in toxicological pathology at F. Hoffmann La Roche Ltd., Ettlin joined Sandoz Ltd. in Basel, where he advanced to Head of Toxicology and later Head of Development Operations Switzerland. In between, he served as Head of Preclinical Development and member of the Executive Committee of Novartis Pharma in Japan.
Dr. Christian Mittelholzer, Head of Project Management, is a molecular biologist by training, with more than 15 years of experience in veterinary and human virology, and in the development of novel vaccines. After his Ph.D., performed at the Institute for Virology and Immunology in Mittelhäusern, Switzerland, Christian worked on several EU-funded research projects in Sweden and on Atlantic cod in Norway. Returning to Switzerland, he was working on self-assembling protein nanoparticles as vaccine candidates at Alpha-O Peptides, later using polyomavirus virus-like particles (VLPs) at the Institute of Medical Microbiology at the University of Basel, and then as Chief Scientific Officer at Redbiotec in Schlieren, Switzerland, also working on virus-like particles as vaccine candidates.
Before joining Swiss Rockets, Christian obtained an MBA in General Management from the University of St. Gallen (HSG) and worked as a project manager for a large pharma and biotech engineering company in Basel, acquiring valuable management skills in projects of various sizes. Christian holds an M.Sc. in Biology from the University of Basel and a Ph.D. from the University of Berne and is the author of over 30 scientific articles.
Dr. Mohammad H Johri, Deputy CEO, holds a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from London where his work involved the Study of Metal Complexes derived from Quinone Type Ligands. The compound synthesized during his Ph.D. eventually found its use in Medical as well as Industrial sectors.
He is a result-driven entrepreneur with more than 35 years of experience in a variety of diverse fields such as Chemical, Surface Coating, and Electronic industries. He has worked for world-class organization such as Morton International, Desoto, Bunzl Pulp, and Panasonic Avionics Corporation. He has been actively involved in leading teams in creating and developing products for markets on a Global basis in general and the Middle East, Europe, Africa and South Asia in particular.
In recent times he has been involved in exciting Pharma startup entities and due to his broad experience and drive is asked to serve as a board member. He has a strong background of managing complex and demanding projects which need to be carried out in a timely manner to meet delivery schedules. He sets his eyes on long-term strategies that have a high potential for future growth and has a keen eye on realizing ground realities thus satisfying market needs. Currently, he is actively involved in helping few Swiss-based cutting-edge start-ups companies to bring their products to market place.
Prof. Semir Beslija is a well-recognized oncologist whose interests specifically target breast cancer treatments. Currently he is working as a Head of the Oncology Division at the University Clinical Center Sarajevo and as Professor at the Department of Oncology of the University of Sarajevo, School of Medicine. He is a member of several professional associations including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). In addition, Dr. Beslija is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Central European Cooperative Oncology Group. He is an author and co-author of more than 50 scientific publications and a visiting lecturer of the European Institute of Oncology in Milan and Austrian Oncology Academy. Besides, Dr. Beslija is a member of the editorial board of the MEMO magazine (Magazine of European Medical Oncology).
Prof. Filip Janku is a competent and experienced scientist whose research interests focus on proof-of-concept clinical trials, molecular profiling of cell-free DNA and therapeutic use of oncolytic bacteria. Prof. Janku serves as an Associate Professor and medical oncologist in the Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics (Phase I Program) at MD Anderson Cancer Center in the US. In 2018, he became a Center Medical Director in the Clinical and Translational Research Center at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Prof. Janku is the principal investigator for numerous phase I trials, most of which study novel targeted agents. He was involved in multiple clinical trials, initiated by pharma giants Roche and Novartis. Prof. Janku is a winner of several Research Grants and received numerous awards for his research achievements, including the Sidney Kimmel Scholar award. He is the author of 218 articles in peer-reviewed journals.
Prof. Jean-Yves Blay is a well-known scientist and a medical oncologist whose main research interests focus on clinical and basic research in sarcomas. Dr. Blay is a General Director of the Centre Leon Bérard, the Comprehensive Cancer of Lyon, France, as well as a Professor of Medicine at the Université Claude Bernard. He serves as a President of the French Federation of Cancer Centres “Unicancer” and as a President of the French Sarcoma Group. In 2016, Prof. Blay was designated by the EU Commission to be a Network Director of ERN-EURACAN to improve the quality of care for patients with rare cancers in the European Union. He has co-authored over 1000 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and was distinguished as a Highly Cited Researcher in 2019. He advises various national and international institutions and research organizations and is an active member of several oncology scientific organizations and societies, such as ESMO, CTOS, ASCO, and AACR. Besides, Prof. Blay is a winner of several scientific awards.
Prof. Richard Herrmann is a leading expert in Oncology with extensive experience in cancer clinical trials methodology in Phases I–III. He is Professor of Oncology at the University of Basel and former Head of the Division of Oncology and the Department of Clinical Research at the University Hospital Basel. During his career, Prof. Herrmann headed various national oncology societies and study groups as President of the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research and President of OncoSuisse. In 2009, he became Vice-President of the Cancer Research Switzerland Foundation. Besides that, Prof. Herrmann has remarkable 20 years of experience (1991-2011) as a Head of the Division of Oncology at the University Hospital Basel. Prof. Herrmann is the winner of several scientific awards, honorary member in the Scientific Association of Swiss Radiation Oncologists, the Hungarian Society of Medical Oncology and the German Society of Haematology and Medical Oncology as well as an elected personal member of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences. He is an author of more than 300 scientific publications.
Prof. Solange Peters is an experienced scientist whose main fields of research include discovery and validation in preclinical/clinical settings of new biomarkers for thoracic cancers, as well as targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Prof. Peters runs the Thoracic Malignancies Program and the Medical Oncology Service in the Department of Oncology at the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) in Switzerland and manages the organization and coordination of clinical trials. She acts as the scientific coordinator and member of the Foundation Council of the European Thoracic Oncology Platform (ETOP). Prof. Peters is a referee for numerous scientific journals and serves as a grant reviewer for the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), Swiss Cancer League Grants and many others. She is the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed journal publications, book chapters and book editions. In 2014, Solange received the Prize of the Faculty of Biology and Medicine of Lausanne for her excellence in clinical research. Prof. Peters is the youngest ever President of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) for the 2020-2021 term.
Prof. Alex A. Adjei is an accomplished researcher in the field of experimental therapeutics and clinical drug development. He is a Professor of Oncology and a Professor of Pharmacology in the Mayo College of Medicine (Rochester, USA) as well as a consultant in Medical Oncology at Mayo Clinic. Prof. Adjei is a Director of the Early Cancer Therapeutics Program and leads the Lung Cancer Program across all Mayo Clinic campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota. Prof. Adjei is co-chair of the Thoracic Malignancies Steering Committee as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology. He received the first American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Drug Development Research Professorship 2012-2017, in recognition of his mentorship and his work in cancer drug development. In 2018, Prof. Adjei was recognized by ASCO for his extraordinary volunteer service, dedication, and commitment. He served on several National Cancer Institute Committees and is an author of 260 scientific publications.
Dr. Thomas Ladner, Board Member and Secretary of the Board, became in 2002 the youngest partner at Meyerlustenberger Lachenal, one of Switzerland's leading law firms, where he specialized in private equity and M&A. From 2000 to 2004, Thomas lectured on corporate law and contract law at the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland), from where he also holds a Ph.D. Since 2009 he is a Counsel to the law firm and active as an angel investor. To date, two of the several start-ups he co-founded went public. In addition, he sits on the board of more than a dozen companies ranging from tech-start-ups to mature companies with a turnover of several billion Swiss francs.
Thomas is passionate about creating communities of business and thought leaders and has founded or co-founded the Entrepreneurs' Roundtable (with chapters in Switzerland, Germany, France, The Netherlands and Poland), the Club zum Rennweg in Zurich and the WORLD.MINDS Foundation. In addition he is engaged in several nonprofit initiatives as a member of their board of trustees.
Dr. Paul Hebeisen is a highly experienced medicinal chemist with an impressive track record in drug discovery over 28 years of service at F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Switzerland. Paul served in various positions, most notably as a Group Leader in Chemistry in the discovery of novel anti-infectives. In collaboration with Sumitomo Corporation, Japan, Paul was the Chemistry Leader in the search for novel carbapenems overcoming resistance to marketed agents, a major and an on-going global public health problem. He is a co-inventor of Zevtera, a cephalosporin antibiotic with activity against a range of drug-resistant microorganisms. Paul also has experience in metabolic research, where he successfully contributed to the introduction of appetite suppressants as well as anti dyslipidemia drugs into the clinics. He is a member of several professional organizations and author of more than 60 publications and patents.
Dr. Doriano Fabbro is a renowned drug discovery and kinase expert with more than 20 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, following 10 years in academia. Until 2005, Doriano was an Executive Director for the Oncology Drug Discovery Division of the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR) in Basel, Switzerland and was a member of the NIBR Oncology Advisory Board overseeing the oncology portfolio from target discovery to clinical development. From 2005 to 2012, he was an Executive Director of the NIBR Expertise Platform Kinases dedicated to global Kinase Drug Discovery Projects of all indication areas of Novartis. During his exemplary career, Doriano contributed to the discovery and development of several approved drugs, including Afinitor, Alpelisib, Glivec, Midostaurin and Tasigna. From 2012 until 2019, Doriano was the Chief Scientific Officer of Piqur Therapeutics, Switzerland. He is currently a scientific advisor for several pharmaceutical companies in the area of kinase drug discovery. Doriano is an author of more than 140 scientific publications.