3 June 2021

RocketVax AG and Swiss Rockets AG expand science and leadership teams

RocketVax AG and Swiss Rockets AG have recruited additional experts to join their scientific and leadership teams to accelerate the development of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine RVX-13 and to position the companies for the future.

Swiss Rockets AG founded the subsidiary RocketVax AG in 2020 to develop a next-generation vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (RVX-13). To accelerate the development process, RocketVax AG and Swiss Rockets AG are expanding their science and leadership teams by involving experts from various fields. The expanded team adds depth and experience to position RocketVax AG and Swiss Rockets AG for continued success and growth.

Experts in immunology, cell culture development, cell culture manufacturing, regulatory affairs and quality assurance, legal affairs, and finance join the current team of specialists.

The new RocketVax AG and Swiss Rockets AG team members include:

Christoph Brutschin

Non-executive Member of the Board of Directors at RocketVax AG

Christoph Brutschin held positions with PWC and maxit AG (Switzerland) before becoming headmaster of the Basel commercial vocational training college. He was a long serving member of the Basel Parliament and was later elected as a member of the Basel Government. On a national level, he chaired the Cantonal Conference for economic affairs from 2016 until 2021. Mr. Brutschin obtained his economic degrees from the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and the University of Fribourg.

Marian Borovsky

Chief Legal Officer & Member of the Executive Committee at RocketVax AG and Swiss Rockets AG

Dr. Marian Borovsky is co-founder and chairman of a start-up biopharmaceutical company. He was Group General Counsel of the listed pharmaceutical company Actelion Ltd. As a member of the Executive Committee, he was responsible for setting up the company’s legal department and led it successfully for 17 years until Actelion was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2017. Dr. Borovsky is an attorney-at-law and a qualified business mediator.

Christoph Heusser

Head of Immunology at RocketVax AG and Swiss Rockets AG

Dr. Christoph Heusser 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 Transplantation Immunology at Novartis. Amongst others, Dr. Heusser was a Ciba-Geigy Fellow and nominated Novartis Distinguished Scientist, and he 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 Zurich.

Bernhard Hostettler

Head of Intellectual Property at RocketVax AG and Swiss Rockets AG

Dr. Bernhard Hostettler founded his own company IPROMA GmbH, which supports start-ups, spin-offs and SMEs in setting up their intellectual property management, in 2013. In 2002 he joined Prionics AG – a diagnostic startup from the University of Zurich – where he was Head of Intellectual Property Management and a member of the extended executive management. Previously, Dr. Hostettler was active in research for more than 20 years at Roche, CIBA, Syngenta, and Givaudan. He holds a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the ETH Zurich.

Aurélie Jenn

Head of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance at RocketVax AG and Swiss Rockets AG

Dr. Aurélie Jenn has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. She was Senior QA Manager at Basilea and Santhera. Previously, she was CMC project leader at Mepha, taking care of GMP QA for investigational medicinal products. In the first part of her career, she worked in regulatory affairs and CMC writing for generic products and new chemical entities in Switzerland and France. Dr. Jenn is a pharmacist (Pharm. D.).

Goran Radin

Head of Investor Relations at RocketVax AG and Swiss Rockets AG

Goran Radin is an economist and leadership expert in private banking. He runs his own consulting business in the areas of fundraising and philanthropy. He was a member of the Executive Committee of a Swiss Bank, responsible for setting up the client strategy and the management of the branches, an effort he successfully led for 25 years until 2018. Mr. Radin earned his degree as lic.rer.pol. at the University of Applied Sciences of Basel and a global financial service specialisation at the University of California.

Martin Griot

Project Leader Cell Culture Manufacturing at RocketVax AG

Dr. Martin Griot is an experienced senior consultant in the biotechnology industry. Previously, he held a variety of roles at Novartis. As the Head of Business Planning & Program Director Commercial Readiness, he was particularly focused on leading a team to commercialise a clinical site into a commercial site in Basel. As a Global Head of Business Planning Biotechnology Development and Manufacturing, Dr. Griot was engaged in business planning and project support for the newly formed BioProduction unit. He also held various senior positions at Sandoz. Dr. Griot holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from ETH Zurich and held a postdoctoral position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Zoltan Sümeghy

Project Leader Cell Culture Development at RocketVax AG

Dr. Zoltan Sümeghy is an independent consultant providing support in the areas of pharma, biotechnology, vaccines, cell and gene therapies. In 2014 he was promoted to Senior Fellow at Novartis Cell and Gene Therapies, where he was Head Technical Support until 2017, responsible for an external collaboration including advising the CMO for process characterisation, process validation, and for preparing the required documents for the Kymriah BLA submission. Since 2009, Dr. Sümeghy acted as Head of non-GMP pilot plants at Novartis Biologics Process Development. He started his career at Novartis in 1994. Dr. Sümeghy holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Technical University of Budapest.

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 and Dr. Thomas Sander. 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 and TargImmune. Working with 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. Dr. Thomas Sander, one of the first employees of the biotech firm Actelion, is a scientific advisor to Swiss Rockets.

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.

About RocketVax AG

RocketVax AG is a Swiss biotech startup based in Basel, founded in summer 2020. RocketVax AG is a subsidiary of Swiss Rockets AG. The company is based on the relationship between Swiss Rockets AG, a Swiss incubator and accelerator for startups, Gigabases Switzerland AG, a spin-off of ETH Zurich, and a team of 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.
RocketVax AG uses proprietary molecular biology and chemical technology to develop novel vaccines. Leading Swiss experts in immunology and virology have joined forces to implement a novel development concept against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.