Our Board members have helped build some of the world’s most recognizable biotechnology companies. They provide strategic leadership to Asceneuron.
Click on the pictures to read more about our Board members.
Hans SchikanChairperson, Director
Henrijette RichterDirector, Sofinnova Partners
Dirk BeherChief Executive Officer
Hakan GokerDirector, Merck Ventures
Deborah HarlandDirector, SR One
Jeanne BolgerDirector, Johnson & Johnson Innovation -JJDC
Vanessa MalierDirector, Kurma Partners
Professor Raymond HillIndependent Director
Debbie AllenBoard Director
Franz F. HeftiSpecial Advisor to the Board
Hans Schikan is former CEO of Prosensa, a biopharmaceutical company focusing on novel RNA modulating treatments for rare diseases like Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Prosensa was listed on NASDAQ (RNA) since June 2013. The company was acquired by BioMarin early 2015 for up to USD 840 million. Before joining Prosensa, Hans worked at Genzyme for five years in various executive roles, including as Vice President for Global Marketing and Strategic Development of Genzyme’s product portfolio for rare genetic diseases. Prior to Genzyme, he spent 17 years at Organon, both at corporate level and in country operations which included assignments in Asia and Europe.
Next to his role in Asceneuron, he is currently amongst others Chairman of the Board of Complix (Belgium) and InteRNA Technologies (Netherlands), Non-executive Director of Sobi (Swedish Orphan Biovitrum, publ, Sweden), Board Member of Therachon (Switzerland) and Member of the Top Team of the Dutch Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (Netherlands). He has a PharmD from Utrecht University.
Henrijette Richter is Partner at Sofinnova Partners, Paris. She joined in September 2014 from Novo Seeds (part of Novo A/S) where she was involved in the establishment of the group in 2007. While at Novo Seeds Henrijette was instrumental in the creation, financing and building of companies such as Cytoguide, Orphazyme, Avilex Pharma, EpiTherapeutics (sold to Gilead) and Lysogene. Henrijette is a scientist by training and started her career at Novo Nordisk conducting her PhD in the area of obesity and GH signalling. Before joining Sunstone Capital in 2004, Henrijette was a postdoctoral fellow at the MIT Center for Cancer Research (MA) where her research topics included cell cycle regulation and cancer biology.
Henrijette is a member of WITH (Women innovating together in Healthcare) and she is a board member of Asceneuron (CH).
Dirk Beher is the Chief Executive Officer, a Founder and member of the Board of Directors of Asceneuron SA. He has raised CHF 36 million from leading venture capital firms for Asceneuron besides obtaining grant funding. Since its inception he has strategically positioned the company as an emerging leader in the field of orally bioavailable drugs for treating tauopathies. Dirk led the initial spin-off proposal for Merck Serono's tauopathy and Alzheimer's disease pipeline and successfully raised the seed funding which materialized in the creation of Asceneuron SA in October 2012.
Dirk brings more than 23 years of experience in the field of Alzheimer's disease & Neurodegeneration and spent over 17 years in pharmaceutical drug discovery. Prior responsibilities include the management of the Alzheimer's disease team at Merck Serono in Geneva, Switzerland. He also managed the in vitro pharmacology team and oversaw a diverse CNS portfolio as management team member in the Neuroscience Department at Amgen Inc. in Thousands Oaks, California. Dirk started his career in pharmaceutical drug discovery at Merck Sharp & Dohme (Merck & Co.) in Harlow, United Kingdom in 1998. During that time he made key contributions to the clinical γ-secretase inhibitor MK-0752 and was finally responsible for all γ-secretase programs. Dirk holds a Ph.D. and a Diploma (M.S.) in Biology from the Ruprecht-Karls University Heidelberg, Germany. He is an inventor of seven patents and currently authors 49 peer-reviewed publications and reviews.
Hakan Goker (Ph.D.) is a senior investment director at Merck Ventures, corporate venture arm of the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Hakan joined Merck Ventures in 2013 and previously was investing as a partner at Aescap Venture and prior to that at Atlas Venture. Since 2006, Hakan was instrumental in the creation, financing, and strategy of multiple biotechnology companies globally including Asceneuron (CH), Orphazyme (DK), Nimbus Discovery (US), F Star (NL), Bicycle Therapeutics (UK) and Nitec now Horizon Pharma (CH/US).
Hakan received his PhD in cancer biology from the Institute of Cancer Research/ University of London and continued his scientific career with post-doctoral work at the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Centre/Royal Marsden Hospital. He gained his BSc Honours, from University College London. Hakan is a board member of Asceneuron, Artios Pharma, Forendo, Raze Therapeutics, Tocopherx, Synaffix, and Storm Therapeutics.
Deborah Harland joined SR One in 2005 to establish the firm’s European investment office. She brings to SR One extensive operational, drug development and licensing experience gained through numerous roles held in clinical development, medical affairs and business development during her more than 25 year tenure in the pharmaceutical industry. Deborah is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Asceneuron SA, Atopix Therapeutics, Bicycle Therapeutics, F-star, Mission Therapeutics and VHsquared and is an independent Director on the Board of Cancer Research Technology, the specialist commercialisation and development arm of Cancer Research UK. She was previously a member of the Board of Directors of Addex Pharmaceuticals (IPO, SIX Swiss Exchange, 2007), Pharmakodex Limited (sold to Orexo) and Syntaxin Limited (sold to Ipsen) and an observer on the Boards of Ablynx (IPO, Euronext Brussels 2007) and 7TM Pharma.
Deborah received her BSc. (Hons.) in Pharmacology from the University of Bath, her PhD in Pharmacology from the University of London, and her MBA from Henley Management College.
Jeanne Bolger, MB BCh BAO, Vice President, Venture Investments, joined Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JJDC, Inc. (JJDC) in 2013. She is based in London, UK. Jeanne has over 25 years of pharmaceutical industry experience in management roles across R&D, Commercial and Business Development (BD). She spent 11 years in Licensing and Acquisition (L&A), most recently as Global Head of Scientific Licensing for Johnson & Johnson’s Pharmaceutical business, having joined Johnson & Johnson in 2005 from the Business Development group at GlaxoSmithKline. In 2009, Jeanne became Vice President, Alliance Management at Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy, working with Pfizer and Elan.
Jeanne received her medical degree from University College Dublin. She also holds diplomas in Child Health (NUI) and in Finance and Accounting (ACCA). She is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Ireland (RAMI). Jeanne has served as the sole pharma industry representative on two Irish government taskforces seeking to enhance the commercialization of IP from Irish academic centres. She is a visiting lecturer on the MSc Pharmaceutical Medicine curriculum at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.
Vanessa Malier is Managing Partner at Kurma Partners. Scientist by training, Vanessa joined the Paris based VC fund CDC-Innovation in 1998. After having held business development responsibilities in a California based biotech, Vanessa joined Ipsen in 2003, as Strategic Advisor to the CEO and headed the portfolio management team for the GI franchise (totaling circa 130M€). Vanessa was appointed in 2005 as Team Leader for febuxostat (Adenuric), which received EMA approval in 2008. Vanessa was then successively appointed as Sr Director, Business Development Oncology in 2009 and VP, R&D Strategic Planning in 2011.
Vanessa graduated in Biology at Ecole Normale Superieure, Cachan and in Immunology at Pasteur Institute. Vanessa joined Kurma in September 2013. Vanessa has been a Director of Erytech (France) and is a Director of Xeltis (Switzerland), Step Pharma (France), Safe Orthopaedics (France) and Asceneuron (Switzerland).
Professor Raymond Hill
Raymond Hill is Visiting Professor of Pharmacology at Imperial College in London, and Non-Executive Director of Addex (CH), Avilex (DMK), Asceneuron (CH) and Orexo AB (SE). Prior to his retirement, he was Executive Director, Licensing and External Research, Europe (2002-2008) at Merck/MSD, Executive Director, Pharmacology (1990-2002) at the Merck Neuroscience Research Centre and had oversight responsibility for Neuroscience research at the Banyu Research Labs in Tsukuba, Japan (1997-2002). At Merck, he chaired a number of discovery project teams including those responsible for the marketed products Maxalt® and Emend®. Raymond received his academic training (BPharm PhD) at the University of London. He was a lecturer in Pharmacology at the University of Bristol School of Medicine from 1974 to 1983 and supervisor in Pharmacology at Downing College, University of Cambridge from 1983 to 1988. He joined the pharmaceutical industry in 1983 as Head of Biology and founder member of the Park Davis Research Unit at Cambridge. In 1988, he joined SK&F (UK) as Group Director, Pharmacology and in 1990 moved to Merck. He is a past Council Member of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences (Fellow 2005) and President Emeritus, British Pharmacological Society (Member 1974; Hon Fellow 2014). He is Visiting Industrial Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Bristol and a member of the UK Government Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs.
Since 2009, Debbie Allen has headed business development at argenx, a public biotech company discovering and developing human therapeutic antibody products. Having established as an independent BD consultant in 2003, she has represented over 30 companies at all stages of deal-making, in particular in negotiations and strategic and competitive positioning. With a background in research management and 20 years developing strategic R&D partnerships, Debbie has developed in-depth experience of the commercialization of early stage biotech.
Debbie's roots in biotech BD were established at Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT; now Medimmune) in the late nineties, where she was directly responsible for multiple strategic alliances, including technology, intellectual property and product out-licensing; corporate equity; co-development and cross-license agreements. She structured and negotiated the alliance with Human Genome Sciences (HGS) in 1999 which led to the development of BENLYSTA®, now an FDA approved treatment for lupus.
Originally trained as an oncologist and molecular biologist at Cancer Research UK and in antibody engineering at the University of Cologne, she is one of the CAT team of inventors of HUMIRA®, marketed by AbbVie Inc.
Franz F. Hefti
Dr. Franz F. Hefti is President & CEO of Proclara Biosciences, a biotechnology company developing new medications for Alzheimer’s and related diseases. He previously held senior positions at several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and, earlier in his career, he was Professor at the University of Southern California, where he carried out seminal research on therapeutic applications of neurotrophic factors. He received his PhD from the University of Zurich and completed his postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Max Planck Institute in Munich. Dr. Hefti has published extensively on topics in neuropharmacology and aging.