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.
Dr. Marc Lang is a medicinal chemist with an outstanding career served in Novartis, Basel, Switzerland and spanning more than 30 years in drug discovery across various therapeutic fields, including infectious diseases and oncology. Marc contributed personally to the discovery of three compounds that were successfully developed and approved to treat patients (Femara, Reyataz and Tasigna). As Executive Director of the Medicinal Chemistry Unit for Oncology in Basel and a member of the Global Oncology Decision Board, Marc oversaw the discovery of many other innovative drugs in the Novartis Oncology portfolio that progressed into clinical trials and some of which are now on the market. Marc is currently a scientific and strategic advisor to several biotech companies. He is an author of numerous publications, a co-inventor of 50 patents and a winner of several scientific awards.
Dr. Donald Ogilvie is currently an independent scientific consultant providing expert advice on cancer drug discovery to academic, industrial and venture capital organizations. Donald has had a highly successful career of over 20 years in cancer drug discovery and early clinical development, spent mostly in AstraZeneca, United Kingdom, where he held senior research positions. He led the discovery of many innovative cancer drug candidates, which have progressed to the stage of clinical development and some to regulatory approval. After leaving AstraZeneca, Donald set up and led the Drug Discovery Unit at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute (University of Manchester, UK). Under his leadership, the team built a drug discovery infrastructure and a leading cancer project portfolio; three projects were successfully licensed to downstream partners. Donald is an author on more than 80 peer-reviewed academic publications.
Dr. Elena Levitskaia is an accomplished scientist with broad experience in research program building across infection biology, virology, human parasitology and onco-immunology. Elena has established laboratories and directed independently funded research programs at world-leading academic institutions, including Karolinska Institute, Sweden and Johns Hopkins University, USA. She has supported the development of pre-clinical portfolios of several biotech companies in the US, Europe and Japan. Most recently, Elena served as a Differentiation Strategy Advisor and Ad hoc Executive Team Member of Crescendo Biologics, Cambridge, UK, helping the company to develop its biologics-based portfolio in onco-immunology. She is an author of numerous scientific papers published in prestigious scientific journals.
Dr. Jeanette Wood is an accomplished scientist with extensive experience in all aspects of drug discovery across multiple disease areas, including cancer. Jeanette has held senior management positions in big Pharma (Novartis, Switzerland and AstraZeneca, United Kingdom) and small Biotechs (S*BIO, Singapore and Genkyotex, Switzerland) and has contributed to the discovery and profiling of several drugs which entered clinical trials (including Vatalanib, Pacritinib, Pracinostat, Setanaxib) and some that reached regulatory approval (Diovan, Aliskiren, Osimertinib). She serves as a Board Member and Scientific and Strategic Advisor to several biotech companies and university drug discovery groups around the world. Jeanette has been awarded several prizes for her scientific and drug discovery excellence and is an author of numerous patents and academic publications.
Sergey Shneyerson is a founding partner of Basil Street Advisory, a strategy, private equity, and M&A advisory business. Previously, Sergey was Partner with Exigen Capital, USA, where he led the firm’s investment activities. Sergey held several senior management positions with global technology companies. At Microsoft, he led the development of cloud strategy and offerings for Microsoft Services, the largest division within the company, with over 20,000 employees worldwide.
Earlier in his career, Sergey co-founded a pioneering consumer Internet business and led its acquisition by Amazon.com. Sergey also worked for the Boston Consulting Group in Chicago, advising senior management at companies in the software, financial services, and private equity industries.
Dr. Kenneth C. Korfmann is an experienced professional in the fields of banking, business, and human resources consulting. In 1997 Kenneth founded the executive search firm Korfmann Burnett & Partner AG, after two years as the Partner responsible for the Financial Services Practice across Europe at another prominent international consulting firm. He previously served as the Chief Operating Officer of Coutts Bank with responsibility for all non-UK international activities of the bank, and before he was the Chief Executive Officer responsible for Private Banking at Citibank Switzerland.
Kenneth is presently a member of the Senior Advisory Board of Agilitas Partners LLP and was Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of PBS Private Bank Switzerland until it was sold to Credit Suisse. He also served as Chairman of ScienceMatters, an internet open-platform science publishing company, as a non-executive member of the board at Lazard GmbH, Zürich, and as a member of the Advisory Board of the Symbiotics Group, Geneva.
Christoph Rentsch is a well-known expert in corporate finance as well as private and public funding markets with more than 25 years of experience in the life science field. From 1991 to 1994, Christoph was developing his professional carrier in Switzerland and the US, where he led various senior management functions for the Alusuisse-Lonza Group. Subsequently, he joined F. Hoffmann-La Roche to become Head of Group Funding and Capital Markets, responsible for all of Roche’s Finance transactions on Group level for almost 10 years. He was a partner at Caperis Ltd, a life science investment management firm, Chief Financial Officer and member of the executive committee of both Polyphor, and most recently, Santhera Pharmaceuticals. With outstanding experience in business and finances, Christoph is also a board member of TargImmune Therapeutics AG and is a partner at Independent Capital Group AG since 2020.
Dr. Sabina R. Korfmann-Bodenmann is a specialist in the financial sector, who gained international experience in the US and India. After a successful banking career, Sabina founded Korfmann Corporate Communications Consulting AG (KCCC) in 2001, a communications company exclusively specialized in financial institutions. Today, KCCC serves leading international firms in the financial sector. Dr. Korfmann-Bodenmann is a member of several boards of directors and trustees. She has written several books, including Living Heritage – Centuries in Business (2016) and Brooklyn – Heritage Reclaimed (2017). Sabina is a Visiting Artist at the Art History Institute of the University of Zürich.
Michel Petignat is a qualified HR Specialist in the Life Sciences industry. During his long and outstanding professional carrier, Michel worked as an HR Manager in leading pharma and biotech companies such as Sandoz, Novartis Pharma, Syngenta Crop Protection and Actelion Pharmaceuticals. He was responsible for the selection and recruitment of personnel and the support of line managers (HR policy, disciplinary procedures, recruitment, etc.).
From 2001 until 2004, Michel worked in addition as a Head of Recruitment and Support Basel in Syngenta Crop Protection. From 2005 he was an expert for the “Human Resources Swiss Exams” society in the domain “Leadership and Communication” and served as a member of the association’s managing committee in 2012 - 2018. In 2013 he became an HR Business Partner of the Department Drug Discovery in Actelion Pharmaceuticals. Michel has in-depth experience in an operational HR work from recruitment through support and development to exit. Due to exceptional technical and personal skills, he always received a high degree of personal acceptance and respect from customers (managers, employees).
Dr. Josef Künzle, Chief Quality Officer, joined Swiss Rockets AG as Chief Quality Officer after taking early retirement from Basilea in 2018, where he was Head of Global Quality Management in the independent Quality Unit, and as a member of the Extended Management Team since August 2015. He joined Basilea in 2007 as a Quality Assurance Project Manager. He was promoted in May 2009 to Head Quality Unit Technical Operations, a position in which he led the GMP/GDP QA group. In 2013, he became Head of Global QM.
Since 1989, he has held various positions in the pharmaceutical industry with increasing responsibility, from 1989 to 1998 as Analytical R&D/QC at Sandoz Pharma AG/Novartis Pharma AG in Basel (including FDA inspection on Sandimmun Neoral), from 1998 to 2003 in QC/QM at Carbogen AG in Aarau, and from 2003 to 2007 in QC/QM at Permamed AG in Therwil. Josef holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and was a Post-Doc in the Civil Engineering Department at Stanford University, California. Since 1997, he has given numerous GMP training classes in the area of QC/QA.
Maciej Talarek, Chief Financial Officer, started his career in the insurance industry. As a result, he specialized in accounting and found his future in the fiduciary sector. Maciej has been a successful self-employed trustee since 2013.
He has supported, advised, and assisted many startup companies. In addition to his federal diploma as a chartered specialist in Accounting and Financial Management, he is an expert in Swiss GAAP FER and a tax specialist for self-employed persons.
Saif Al-Rubai, Chief Legal and Corporate Dev. Officer, received his law degree in 2009 and was admitted to the bar of Basel-Country in 2012. As an experienced lawyer and trusted deputy to a law firm partner, he has successfully designed, developed, and implemented legal case strategies and tactics in a variety of legal fields for the last seven years, including several Swiss Federal Court cases.
In 2018, Saif obtained an EMBA at Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz FHNW, as well as an MBA from Edinburgh Business School, where he graduated with distinction. Saif brings a valuable combination of legal and business skills to the Corporate Development Office at Swiss Rockets.
Manuel Ebner is an expert in corporate finance, business strategy, corporate development, management consulting, and financial services. He graduated in engineering and economics from Stanford University and completed his MBA (Arjay Miller Scholar) at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Manuel Ebner was a Partner at the strategy consulting firms Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey in Switzerland. He has also led several companies as CEO, among which Artificial Life Schweiz, Obtree Technologies, BZ Bank, and Merrill Lynch Capital Markets.
Mr. Ebner is a member of the Zurich Committee of the Human Rights Watch and was a Chairman of the Gold Zurich Chapter of the YPO. Manuel is a co-founder and a strategic advisor of Swiss Rockets AG.
Emir Iljazovic, Chief Business Officer, is an entrepreneurially oriented business professional who obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Babson College, Massachusetts, where he double majored in Entrepreneurship and Global Business Management. Emir developed his professional career in the USA, Ireland, China, UAE, Indonesia, and now Switzerland. He started his career in the Project Management Office of EMC in Boston and Cork, Ireland.
From there, he moved to Beijing to study Mandarin, where he began working for a privately-owned investment company as the Business Development Manager, identifying, researching, and negotiating investment opportunities across a wide variety of industries including Telecommunications, Oil and Gas, Mining, Food, and Pharmaceuticals. Before joining Swiss Rockets, Emir founded and managed a boutique consulting company focused on helping European and American SMEs to establish new business ventures across Asia. Emir is multilingual: besides Mandarin, he speaks several European languages.
Prof. Dr. Stéphane Depil, Chief Medical Officer, is an M.D., oncologist, and hematologist at the Léon Bérard Cancer Centre and group leader at the Cancer Research Center of Lyon, as well as adjunct Professor at University Claude Bernard Lyon in France. He was also appointed Visiting Professor at King’s College London. Stéphane received his M.D. from the University of Lille Medical School.
He obtained a PhD in immunology at the Institute of Biology of Lille and has over 15 years of experience in oncology drug development. He was Senior Vice President of Research & Development and Chief Medical Officer at Cellectis. Before joining the Léon Bérard Cancer Centre and the Cancer Research Centre of Lyon, he served as Chief Executive Officer at Netris Pharma, where he was responsible for the management of an oncology startup and preclinical development of a first-in-class monoclonal antibody, currently in phase 2. Before Netris, he worked at the Servier Research Institute for eight years in a variety of roles, including Director of Oncology Research and Development.
Stéphane is the author of more than 100 articles and abstracts, and co-inventor of 10 patents. He holds several teaching positions.
Dr. Andreas Voss, Chief Operating Officer, is an M.D. and a strategic thinker with in-depth expertise in all phases of oncology drug development and commercialization. Before joining Swiss Rockets, Andreas was the General Manager of Caris Life Sciences International; a biotechnology company focused on providing personalized medicine for oncology patients through its market-leading tumor profiling service.
Before joining Caris in 2010, he was responsible for the global clinical development of Avastin®, and a member of the Corporate Drug Safety Board at F. Hoffmann-La Roche. Before joining Roche in 2006, Andreas was the Medical Director for the Lung Cancer Disease Area at AstraZeneca, and from 2000 to 2003, he was the Medical Director for Anti-infectives and Oncology at Bayer GmbH.
From 1996 to 2000, Andreas was Head of Medical Research Oncology at Asta Medica AG. Andreas received his M.D. from the University of Hamburg Medical School and was a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Cellular Immunology at the University of California in San Diego. He is a certified physician in internal medicine and oncology and joined the board of directors of Celsion Corporation (CLSN) in 2015.
André Debrunner, Board Member, obtained his Economics degree at the University of Basel and has held various positions with UBS, PAX, and the Northern Trust Switzerland AG. He has expertise in the fields of banking, marketing, and fund management.
He is a member of the Northern Trust Switzerland AG management team, which oversees fund reporting for assets totaling over 400 Billion Swiss Francs.