9 March 2020

Swiss Rockets AG: Scientific and Drug Discovery Advisory Committee opens a new chapter in cancer drug discovery and development

Swiss Rockets AG strives to provide cancer patients access to breakthrough innovative anti-cancer treatments. The highly experienced Scientific and Drug Discovery Advisory Committee of Swiss Rockets will provide expertise to guide the selection of the most promising technologies and their efficient pathway to market approval.

Dr. Jeanette Wood

Chairman of Scientific and Drug Discovery Advisory Committee

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.

Dr. Elena Levitskaia

Vice-Chairman of Scientific and Drug Discovery Advisory Committee

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. Donald Ogilvie

Member of Scientific and Drug Discovery Advisory Committee

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. Thomas Sander

Member of Scientific and Drug Discovery Advisory Committee

Dr. Thomas Sander is a highly skilled cheminformatics scientist. Thomas joined Actelion, Allschwil, Switzerland in its an early start-up phase, where he developed scientific software that covered most of the drug discovery processes and built the drug discovery informatics environment from the ground up. Since 2017, Thomas has served as the Head of Scientific Computing at Idorsia Pharmaceuticals Ltd in Allschwil, Switzerland. The Scientific Computing team develops algorithms and software to exploit the wealth of internal and external data related to drug discovery. In addition, Thomas is a co-founder of Swiss Rockets. He is the author of DataWarrior, one of the most widely used open-source cheminformatics applications, and has published more than 40 scientific papers, posters, and presentations.

Dr. Marc Lang

Member of Scientific and Drug Discovery Advisory Committee

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. Doriano Fabbro

Member of Scientific and Drug Discovery Advisory Committee

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. Paul Hebeisen

Member of Scientific and Drug Discovery Advisory Committee

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.

About Swiss Rockets AG

Swiss Rockets AG, Basel, founded in 2018, is implementing a paradigm shift in healthcare. Cancer patients will benefit from new treatments which will be developed using innovative and disruptive methods. The Swiss-Rockets team combines the necessary specialist knowledge and experience to efficiently and sustainably break new ground in cancer medicine.

The Board of Directors of Swiss Rockets AG is chaired by Vladimir Cmiljanovic, a successful entrepreneur and the founder of Swiss biotech companies PIQUR and TargImmune. Other board members are Prof. Dr. Michael N. Hall, a renowned researcher, and Professor at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, and André Debrunner, a financial expert and fund manager at Northern Trust Corporation Switzerland.

Founder and CEO of Swiss Rockets is Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic, a medicinal chemist with more than 15 years’ experience in the development of cancer drugs. Together with his sister Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic, co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Swiss Rockets, he developed oncology drugs at the University of Basel and subsequently founded and successfully led several biotech companies. Manuel Ebner, Strategic Advisor of Swiss Rockets and CEO Switzerland at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Dr. Thomas Sander, Scientific Advisor and one of the first employees of the biotech company Actelion, are co-founders of Swiss Rockets AG.