12 November 2021

Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic is the recipient of the 2021 Nikola Tesla Award for the achievements in the field of science

Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic, CEO and founder of Swiss Rockets AG and RocketVax AG, both domiciled in Basel, Switzerland, has been named as the recipient of the 2021 Nikola Tesla Award for his accomplishments in the field of science.

Nikola Tesla Award is a prestigious, national award given by the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The laureates of this award are prominent individuals of Serbian origin who have contributed to the promotion of Serbia and strengthening of ties between the motherland and Serbs in the region and the diaspora. Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic has been named as the recipient of the Nikola Tesla Award for advocating the achievements of Serbian scientists in the world through his scientific attainments in the field of oncology, as well as for leading the team of experts in the development of the second generation of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic is one of Switzerland’s leading serial pharma entrepreneurs, a medicinal chemist, and a cancer scientist with more than fifteen years of experience in oncology drug development. Together with his sister Natasa, Vladimir co-discovered the drug Bimiralisib (PQR309) in 2007 at the University of Basel. Bimiralisib is the best-in-class oral and brain-penetrant dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor, with applications in various cancer indications.

In 2010, Vladimir was the winner of the Swiss Venture Kick for the elaboration of the PIQUR business idea. He founded the company PIQUR Therapeutics AG in 2011, as a spin-off of the University of Basel, to develop Bimiralisib. Vladimir led PIQUR AG as CEO and Vice-Chairman and made it an international biotech company. In 2014, Vladimir won with PIQUR AG the Northwest Switzerland Young Entrepreneur Award, and in 2015, the Swiss Economic Forum Award.

In 2016, Vladimir founded TargImmune Therapeutics AG, a biotechnology company focused on cancer cell-targeted immunotherapies. Swiss Rockets AG, one of Vladimir’s latest enterprises, was founded in 2018, to become a leading biotech hub with a unique business model in the field of oncology. In 2020, Vladimir founded RocketVax AG, a company that gathers expert scientists from the University of Basel, the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich, the University Hospital Basel, and the Swiss Institute of Tropical and Public Health in Basel with the goal of developing the second generation of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

About Swiss Rockets AG

Founded in 2018, Swiss Rockets AG is implementing a paradigm shift in healthcare. Patients benefit from new treatments that are developed using innovative and forward-looking methods. The Swiss Rockets team combines the necessary expert knowledge and experience to create innovative medications, focusing mainly on cancer and viral diseases.

The founders of Swiss Rockets AG are Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic, Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic, Manuel Ebner, Dr. Thomas Sander and Dr. Thomas Staehelin. Vladimir Cmiljanovic is the CEO, a medicinal chemist, and entrepreneur with more than 15 years’ experience in developing cancer medications. He is the founder of the Swiss biotech companies PIQUR AG and TargImmune AG. Working with his sister Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic, the Chief Scientific Officer of Swiss Rockets AG, he developed cancer medications at the University of Basel. Also, he has founded and managed several biotech firms. Manuel Ebner is the Managing Director of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Switzerland, and a strategic advisor to Swiss Rockets AG. Dr. Thomas Sander, one of the first employees of the biotech firm Actelion, is a scientific advisor to Swiss Rockets AG. Dr. Thomas Staehelin, co-founder of Swiss Rockets AG, is Executive Board Member and President of several shareholder companies and trusts.

Members of the Board of Directors of Swiss Rockets AG are Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic (Chair), Prof Dr. Michael N. Hall, a renowned researcher and professor of the Centre for Molecular Life Sciences of the University of Basel, Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic, a medicinal chemist and clinical scientist with experience in developing cancer medications, Dr. Thomas Ladner, a corporate lawyer, founder and co-founder of several successful start-ups and the World.Minds foundation, and André Debrunner, financial expert and fund manager with Northern Trust Switzerland AG.