We are a team of seasoned scientists and drug developers dedicated to improving the lives of patients affected by neurodegenerative diseases.
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Dirk Beher (Ph.D.)Chief Executive Officer & Founder
Pearl Fang (Ph.D.)Vice President & Head of Clinical Development
Bruno Permanne (Ph.D)Senior Director & Head of Preclinical Development
Ryan Schubert, MDSenior Director & Head of Translational Medicine
Anna Quattropani (Ph.D.)Head of Non-Clinical Development and Medicinal Chemistry
Rolf Pokorny (M.D. M.Sc. Ph.D.)Head of Early Clinical Development
Colin Kahrs (PhD)Head of Intellectual Property
Ruhi AHMED (PH.D., RAC)Senior Vice President & Head of Regulatory Affairs
Manfred SchneiderHead of ADME and Toxicology
Dirk Beher (Ph.D.)
Dirk Beher is an experienced Founder, CEO and CSO in the European biopharmaceutical space with a global outreach. Since co-founding Asceneuron in 2012 he has served as the CEO/CSO and Member of the Board of Directors of the company. Dirk led the spinout of Asceneuron from a mid-size pharma and has successfully built a fully functional research and development company from the beginning. Under his leadership Asceneuron has raised to date over CHF 50M from leading venture capital firms and advanced CNS penetrant molecules for numerous protein misfolding diseases from discovery into mid-stage clinical development.
Besides, Dirk brings more than 30 years of research and drug development experience in the field of neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s disease. Prior to Asceneuron, he spent 14 years in pharmaceutical drug discovery leading R&D teams around the globe at Merck Sharp & Dohme (Merck & Co.; UK), Amgen (USA) and Merck Serono (CH).
Educated at the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Germany Dirk holds a Ph.D. and a Diploma (M.S.) in Biology. He is an inventor of numerous patents and author of over 50 peer-reviewed publications and reviews.
Pearl Fang (Ph.D.)
Pearl Fang is the Head of Clinical Development. She is responsible for building and leading Asceneuron’s clinical development strategy, including the management, operations and performance of all medical activities. Pearl also provides clinical input into clinical trial design and execution, obtaining regulatory authority and ethics committee approvals and management of all outsourced aspects of clinical activities.
Pearl has 17 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. This includes roles in clinical development, clinical operations and medical affairs in neurodegeneration, oncology, hematology and autoimmune disorders. Most recently, Pearl was the Vice President of Clinical Development and Clinical Operations at NKMax America, Inc. Previously, she worked at ARMO Biosciences, Puma Biotechnology, Amgen, Inc., Onyx, Inc., Cephalon, and Eli Lilly and Company.
Pearl graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) with her B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Neuroscience.
Bruno Permanne (Ph.D)
Bruno Permanne is the Head of Preclinical Development at Asceneuron. He is responsible for planning and supervision of assay development and pharmacology activities. Bruno is a neurobiologist with over 20 years of experience in drug discovery programs on neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and tauopathies). At Asceneuron he focuses on the O-GlcNAcase inhibitor program and biomarker development. Previously he was a project team leader at Merck Serono, Switzerland, where he successfully ran early discovery programs resulting in the progression of small molecules from high-throughput screens to lead optimization stage.
Bruno obtained his PhD in biochemistry at the University of Lille under the co-supervision of Drs Andre Delacourte and Luc Buée. Subsequently he joined the laboratory of Professor Blas Frangione at the NYU Medical Center, USA, as a postdoc. Both groups are internationally recognized for their work on the pathophysiology of the tau protein and amyloidogenesis in neurodegenerative diseases. He is the author of 13 peer-reviewed publications.
Ryan Schubert, MD
Dr. Ryan Schubert is a Senior Director & Head of Translational Medicine at Asceneuron. He is responsible for clinical strategy, medical oversight, operational support, and biomarkers for Asceneuron’s pipeline.
Dr. Schubert received his M.D. from the Stanford University School of Medicine and completed an Internal Medicine Internship and Neurology Residency at the University of California, San Francisco. Afterwards, he became a Post-Doctoral Fellow with laboratory and clinical responsibilities in the UCSF Division of Neuroinflammation and Glial Cell Biology. Ryan is a patent inventor, the author of ten peer-reviewed publications, and holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of Southern California.
Anna Quattropani (Ph.D.)
Anna Quattropani is the Head of Non-Clinical Development and Medicinal Chemistry. She is responsible for all non-clinical development activities including medicinal chemistry, chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC), ADME, early safety pharmacology and toxicology. She also manages the small molecule intellectual property portfolio of the company.
Anna is an experienced Medicinal Chemist with more than 18 years of experience and a successful track record in the design and optimization of small molecules originating from high throughput screening, fragment discovery and knowledge-based design into drug candidates. During the past ten years, she has been working on a variety of neurodegenerative disease projects, designing and optimizing drug-like small molecules with CNS exposure for multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and orphan tauopathies such as progressive supranuclear palsy.
Anna is inventor of several clinical molecules such as the O-GlcNAcase inhibitor ASN120290 for progressive supranuclear palsy and the oxytocin receptor antagonist Nolasiban that has entered Phase 3 clinical studies. Anna obtained her Ph.D. and M.S. in organic synthesis and organometallic chemistry at University of Geneva, Switzerland. She is the inventor of 34 patents and the author of 20 peer-reviewed publications.
Rolf Pokorny (M.D. M.Sc. Ph.D.)
Rolf Pokorny is the Head of Early Clinical Development at Asceneuron.
With over 30 years of Central Nervous System (CNS) clinical research and clinical pharmacology experience especially in early phases of drug development, Rolf is supporting our management team in advancing Asceneuron’s pipeline of innovative small molecules and progressing tau modifiers through the clinic.
Colin Kahrs (PhD)
Colin Kahrs is the Head of Intellectual Property at Asceneuron.
With over 20 years of experience in intellectual property for the pharmaceutical and chemical industry, Colin provides essential input to Asceneuron's strategy to protect its small molecule pipeline assets and supports the company in the management of its intellectual property portfolio.
Ruhi AHMED (PH.D., RAC)
Ruhi Ahmed, Ph.D., serves as Head of Regulatory affairs. She has nearly 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries doing global regulatory drug development as well as program and portfolio management of assets from the preclinical to the commercial stage.
Prior to joining Asceneuron, Dr. Ahmed held positions at Inozyme Pharmaceutical Inc., UltraGenyx Pharmaceutical Inc., BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. and Actavis Inc. (formerly Watson Pharmaceutical Inc.). Her expertise encompasses leading the preclinical, clinical and manufacturing regulatory strategy and submissions for multiple INDs and marketing applications for a variety of neuromuscular, respiratory, cardiovascular, oncology and metabolic rare disease indications. She also led the alliance management and program strategy for several investigational prodrugs, biologics and small molecules.
Dr. Ahmed earned her B.S. in Biology and M.A. in Biochemistry from The University of Texas at Austin and her M.S. in Regulatory Sciences and Ph.D. in molecular pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Southern California.
Manfred joined Asceneuron in 2013 as an expert consultant in drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics and toxicology (ADME/PK/TOX) to guide optimization of drug-like properties in early stages of drug discovery as well as to support non-clinical (IND-enabling safety pharmacology & toxicology) and clinical bioanalytics and PKPD. He was instrumental in the early discovery of our clinical lead ASN120290 and its clinical development up to Phase 2.
Manfred has almost 20 years of international experience in his field and is board-certified toxicologist (US) since 2004. Between 2006 and 2012 he held positions as Head of DMPK & Toxicology at Addex Therapeutics and Head of early ADME at Merck Serono (Geneva, Switzerland). Prior to this he worked for 10 years in the United States at Forest Laboratories (New York City) and at Tularik (now Amgen; South San Francisco) following a toxicology postdoc at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1996 he received his PhD in Analytical Chemistry and Toxicology from the University of Ulm, Germany. Manfred is author of 19 peer-reviewed publications.