30 June 2022

Cleveland Clinic Appoints Prof. Alex A. Adjei, M.D., Ph.D., as Chair of Taussig Cancer Institute

Renowned oncologist, researcher, and Chairman of the Oncology Advisory Committee of Swiss Rockets joins Cleveland Clinic from Mayo Clinic.

Alex A. Adjei, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of the Oncology Advisory Committee of Swiss Rockets, will serve as the new chair of Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, starting in July. Previously, he served as a consultant in oncology, professor of oncology, and professor of pharmacology at Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minn. He also oversaw oncology drug development and lung cancer research and treatment across various Mayo Clinic sites. Additionally, he co-led the developmental therapeutics program at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. 

Throughout his career, Dr. Adjei has focused his research on experimental therapeutics, regulatory science, and clinical drug development. Other research interests include health disparities, global oncology, new drug treatments for lung cancer, and the varying effects of drug toxicities on people. 

A multidisciplinary team of clinical and translational researchers under his leadership has evaluated new drug therapies for solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. He has also contributed to developing classical chemotherapy agents, targeted therapies, immunotherapy, and cancer-fighting viruses for treating lung cancer and other solid tumors.  

Before his most recent role, Dr. Adjei served as the Katharine Anne Gioia Chair in Cancer Medicine, senior vice president of clinical research, chairman of the Department of Medicine, and professor of oncology at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. 

“Cancer is one of the most distressing diseases afflicting humans,” said Dr. Adjei. “Thankfully, with recent scientific advances, we are making progress toward understanding, preventing, and treating all forms of cancers. I’m truly honored and excited to have the opportunity to work with this team of talented professionals and help position Cleveland Clinic at the forefront of cancer care.” 

Dr. Adjei has published more than 300 peer-reviewed articles, in addition to books, book chapters, and abstracts, and has given numerous presentations throughout the U.S. and internationally. He is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology and the JTO Clinical and Research Reports

Among numerous awards and honors, Dr. Adjei has received the Adi F. Gazdar Merit Award from the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer for Distinguished Achievement in Lung Cancer Research and Mentorship. 

A native of Ghana, Dr. Adjei earned his medical degree from the University of Ghana Medical School and his Ph.D. from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He was chief resident in the Department of Medicine at Howard University. He completed a clinical fellowship as a clinical and research fellow in oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Hospital. 

Dr. Adjei succeeds Jame Abraham, M.D., who has served as interim chair of Taussig Cancer Institute since May 2021, when former chair Brian Bolwell, M.D., F.A.C.P., was appointed chair, physician leadership, and development, within the Mandel Global Leadership and Learning Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Abraham will continue in his role as chair of the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Taussig Cancer Institute.


About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion, and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 72,500 employees worldwide are more than 5,050 salaried physicians and researchers, and 17,800 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,500-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 21 hospitals, and more than 220 outpatient facilities, including locations in northeast Ohio; southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2021, there were 10.2 million total outpatient visits, 304,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 259,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries.


About Swiss Rockets AG: 

Founded in 2018, Swiss Rockets AG is implementing a paradigm shift in healthcare. Patients benefit from new therapies developed with innovative and pioneering methods. The Swiss Rockets AG team combines expertise and experience to create innovative medicines focused 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 of experience in cancer drug development. He is the founder of the Swiss biotech companies PIQUR AG and TargImmune AG. With his sister Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic, the Chief Scientific Officer of Swiss Rockets AG, he has developed cancer drugs at the University of Basel. He has also founded and managed several biotech companies. Manuel Ebner is a Managing Director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Switzerland, and a strategic advisor to Swiss Rockets AG. Dr. Thomas Sander, one of the first employees of Actelion's biotech company, is a scientific advisor to Swiss Rockets AG. Dr. Thomas Staehelin, the co-founder of Swiss Rockets AG, is a member of the Executive Board and Chairman of several companies and foundations.

Members of the Board of Directors of Swiss Rockets AG are Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic (Chairman), Prof. Dr. Michael N. Hall, a renowned researcher and professor at the Center for Molecular Biosciences at the University of Basel, Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic, a medicinal chemist and clinical scientist with experience in the development of cancer drugs, Dr. Thomas Ladner, a business lawyer, founder and co-founder of several successful start-ups and the World. Minds Foundation, and André Debrunner, a financial expert and fund manager at Northern Trust Switzerland AG.