Speakers & Hosts

NUVISAN events are bringing together the best in the global pharma world.
Our speakers are trailblazers within the pharma industry, relentless innovators and world-class researchers sharing the latest industry updates, scientific findings and inspiration ideas.
Live Q&A sessions will be held after each speaker slot.

Speakers

Zachary Sweeney is the CEO at Interline Therapeutics, an Affiliate at ARCH Venture Partners and a Venture Partner at Foresite Labs. He has broad experience growing and leading successful multifunctional drug discovery groups, including small molecule, biotherapeutic, and AAV discovery platforms. Being previously the Chief Scientific Officer at Denali Therapeutics, Zachary guided the growth of the discovery portfolio and research group. Molecules that Zachary and his teams have developed at these companies have been the subject of several major licensing deals that generated more than $1B in upfront payments. After attending Stanford University, Zachary received a B.S. degree in Chemistry. He subsequently earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed a NIH postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. He is listed as an inventor on approximately 60 published patent applications and has co-authored more than 40 scientific publications.

Alexander Hillisch is a Vice President and Head of Computational Molecular Design at Bayer AG, Wuppertal, Germany. His team supports small molecule and biologics drug discovery in cardiology with computational chemistry, chemoinformatics, machine learning, in silico ADMET and structural bioinformatics techniques. From 1998 to 2003 he headed a research group at EnTec GmbH, Jena, Germany. There he was project manager in preclinical research and involved in the computer-aided design and pharmacological characterization of drugs against gynecological diseases and cancer. He conducted his Ph.D. thesis at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMB), Jena in the area of biophysics and molecular modeling and received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1998. He is co-author of 48 research papers, 2 books and 62 pharmaceutical compound patents which led to 6 clinical development candidates and he teaches “Molecular pharmacology and Drug Design” at the University of Cologne.

Anna Hirsch obtained her M. Sci. from the University of Cambridge and her Ph.D. from the ETH Zurich in 2008 under Prof. F. Diederich. In 2017, she became head of the department “Drug Design and Optimization” at HIPS and full professor at Saarland University. She received her Ph.D. from the ETH Zurich in 2008 and worked on the de novo structure-based design and synthesis of inhibitors for an anti-infective target enzyme in the group of Prof. François Diederich. Since 2017 she heads the department for drug design and optimization at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) and her work focuses on anti-infective drug design by adopting rational approaches. Anna was awarded the Gratama Science Prize in 2014, the SCT-Servier Prize for Medicinal Chemistry in 2015, the Innovation Prize for Medicinal Chemistry of the GdCh/DPhG in 2017 and in 2019 the EFMC Young Medicinal Chemist in Academia runner-up Prize.

Christian Hackenberger studied chemistry at the Universität Freiburg and the University of Wisconsin-Madison and performed his doctoral studies at the RTWH Aachen. After a postdoctoral stay at MIT, he started his group at the Freie Universität Berlin in 2005 as an Emmy Noether fellow. In 2012, he became Leibniz-Humboldt Professor for Chemical Biology at the Leibniz-Research Institute for Molecular Pharmacology and the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. His group develops chemical strategies to functionalize proteins and antibodies, in particular using chemoselective Staudinger reactions and electrophilic P(V)-reagents, to generate protein and antibody-based biopharmaceuticals against cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and viral infections. He is a co-founder of the company Tubulis, which engineers better tolerable cancer drugs using among others technologies from his lab.

Dirk Trauner studied biology and chemistry at the University of Vienna, and received his Master’s degree in chemistry from the Free University, Berlin. He then pursued a Ph.D. in chemistry under the direction of Prof. Johann Mulzer, with whom he moved to the University of Frankfurt and then back to Vienna. Subsequently, he became a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Samuel J. Danishefsky at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In the summer of 2008, he moved to the University of Munich, where he worked a Professor of Chemical Biology and Chemical Genetics. In March of 2017 he returned to the U.S. to become the Janice Cutler Chair of Chemistry at New York University. Dirk is a recipient of the Otto Bayer Award, the Emil Fischer Medal, an ACS Cope Scholar Award, and a Sloan Fellowship. The broad objective of Prof. Trauner’s research is to demonstrate the awesome power of chemical synthesis and to use it toward the precision control of biological pathways.

Carlo Stresemann is a specialist on pharmacology, target validation and chemical biology in cancer. Prior to joining NUVISAN in 2020, he gathered his experience working for 12 years within research pharmacology at BAYER AG, where he started as a lab head leading drug discovery programs from early target validation until clinical development. He pioneered the field of epigenetic research at BAYER but also led projects targeting different other cancer pathways including survival signalling, metabolism, apoptosis, and cancer stem cells. Carlo is a Biologist by training and graduated from Heidelberg University. He holds a PhD since 2008 for studying DNA methylation changes and DNA methyltransferase inhibitors as therapeutic approach in cancer at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. At Nuvisan, Carlo leads the Therapeutic Oncology Research group.

Zuzanna Makowska is a scientist at the Functional Genomics Research department of the NUVISAN Innovation Campus in Berlin. She is a molecular biologist by training and performed her Ph.D. at the University Hospital of Basel, Switzerland, studying innate immune responses in viral hepatitis. After a postdoc at Max Delbrück Centre in Berlin, Germany, she joined Bayer as a scientist in the Target Discovery Technologies department. Zuzanna has been working for over ten years at the interface between functional genomics and big data analysis. Her current focus is on single cell sequencing and high content analysis of Crispr screens. 

Heidi Greulich received her undergraduate degree in molecular biology from Princeton University and her PhD in molecular oncology from The Rockefeller University and embarked upon a career in cancer research spanning academia, industry, and collaborations between the two.  At the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Broad Institute, Dr. Greulich studied oncogenic mutations in protein kinase genes, including EGFR, ERBB2, FGFR2, and ARAF.  More recently, as a Senior Group Leader at the Broad Institute, she has been focusing on the discovery and development of a new class of small molecules, called velcrins, that kill cancer cells by a completely new mechanism: induction of complex formation between PDE3A and SLFN12.  Testing of this therapeutic hypothesis in clinical trials is now underway in collaboration with Bayer.  Dr. Greulich is on the editorial board of Cancer Research and has been a keynote speaker for the annual Lung Cancer Research Foundation Cancer Awareness Luncheon in New York.

Sabine is a pharmacist by training and has more than 15 years experiences in Oncology Drug Development in the areas of Cell Therapy, Bispecific Antibodies, Checkpoint Inhibitors, ADCs, Targeted Therapies with a focus on Translational Medicine, Early Clinical Development and Clinical Pharmacology (including PK/PD and Model-informed Drug Development). She received her PhD in Pharmaceutical Science from the University of Bonn and the University of Florida in 2003 and then started her professional career at Merck KGaA Darmstadt at a Clinical Pharmacologist. She has been responsible for leading the Clinical Pharmacology strategy for Cetuximab as well as the Early Clinical strategy for several Oncology projects. In 2009 Sabine joined Bayer AG as a Director Early Clinical Lead Immuno-Oncology. In this role she was accountable and responsible for the planning, content, execution, and delivery of early clinical development strategies from Research to Proof of Concept (PoC) for several Oncology exploratory development candidates in alignment with the overall therapeutic area strategy. She moved four compounds successfully into Phase 1 and prepared early clinical development strategies for a number of projects still at the preclinical stage. In 2018 Sabine became the VP, Head of Clinical Pharmacology, Oncology and joined the Oncology extended leadership team responsible for delivering increased numbers of high value potential medicines that work through better selection and validation of targets and innovative clinical programs. In her role she is leading a team of 20 MDs and PhDs. With her team she ensures the adequate implementation of all aspects of Clinical Pharmacology and PK/PD including model-based development approaches from translational to LCM across the Oncology portfolio (Oncogenic Signaling, Immuno-Oncology incl. Cell Therapies, Targeted alpha Therapies). In addition to her current role at the beginning of 2021 Sabine became responsible for the clinical development strategy of Bayer’s Oncology Cell Therapy portfolio.

Sebastian Dieter studied medicine in Freiburg, Heidelberg, Strasbourg and Boston. As a medical PhD student in the group of professor Hanno Glimm at the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, he characterized the clonal composition of colorectal cancer stem cells. In a first postdoc phase, he continued working on gastrointestinal cancers with a more translational focus, identifying novel vulnerabilities and treatment approaches including drug development projects with colleagues from Bayer/Nuvisan. After his board certification in internal medicine and hematology/oncology, he joined the group of professor Reuven Agami at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) in Amsterdam for a second postdoc, working on genetic screens and systematic approaches for overcoming drug resistance. Since 2021, he works as a physician scientist at the NCT and DKFZ Heidelberg with combined translational research and clinical activities.

Andreas has more than 20 years of experience in Drug Discovery DMPK. He is VP and currently heads DMPK M&S, prior he headed Research PK which was responsible for the complete DMPK support of all drug discovery projects across diverse therapeutic areas from lead generation until preclinical candidate selection & profiling. Andreas holds a PhD in Cell Biology from Leipzig University. During his PostDoc at King’s College London, funded by several pharmaceutical companies, he worked on in vitro models and in silico approaches to assess and predict the CNS penetration of drugs. Andreas then joined Discovery DMPK at Hoffmann-La Roche, Basel, where he expanded his area of expertise to intestinal and hepatic transport processes and their relevance for drug absorption, drug disposition and drug-induced liver injury. Having a passion for scientific innovations he has been supervising >10 Master and PhD students. His latest research interests are in the fields of PK/PD of new modalities, microphysiological systems, oral absorption modelling and drug delivery technologies.

Hosts

Franz von Nussbaum is since 2020 EVP and Head of Life Science Chemistry at NUVISAN Innovation Campus Berlin. Franz graduated as a chemist from the University of Munich, Germany, where he also performed his PhD studies in Natural Products before starting as a postdoc at Columbia University, New York. Franz worked for 20 years at Bayer in Germany and France, covering research and medicinal chemistry responsibilities for pharma and crop science in different therapeutic areas such as infectious diseases, cardiology, oncology and fungicides. Franz is also heading the MedChem division of the GDCh and is member of the EFMC EC.

Jörg Fanghänel is since 2020 EVP and Head of Lead Discovery at NUVISAN Innovation Campus Berlin. Jörg is an enzymologist who earned his PhD from the Max Planck research group in Halle, Germany. After an academic assignment at the Tohoku University in Japan. Jörg joined Schering AG as a Lab Head in protein technologies, before then spending three years as Vice Director of the Bayer-Tsinghua Joint Research Center in Beijing, China. Back in Berlin, Germany, he worked for Bayer’s pharmaceutical research in their strategic alliance management and eventually became their Head of Screening.

Jean-Guy Boiteau studied Chemistry at the Ecole Nationale Superieure de chimie de Mulhouse. He received his Ph.D. degree in 2001 under the guidance of Prof. J. Eustache on the total synthesis of (-)-fumagillol. Following this, he performed his postdoctoral research with Prof. B. L. Feringa (Chemistry Nobel Prize 2016, Rijksuniversiteit, Groningen, The Netherlands) on asymmetric catalysis. Jean-Guy Boiteau began his career in 2003 as a medicinal chemist at Galderma R&D, Sophia-Antipolis, France. In 2010 he became Head of Process Research & Development and in 2018 he joined the Nuvisan Group as Head of Chemical Development, Sophia-Antipolis, France. He received the Bronze medal of 25th International chemistry Olympiad and the Societe Chimique de France Prize for his Ph.D. He his author or co-author of 25 scientific papers and inventor of 43 patents.

Dr. Thibaud Gerfaud, 38, is currently heading the Chemistry Process Research group at Nuvisan France. He is responsible for the route selection, route optimization and production of toxicological and GMP batches for APIs & HPAPIs. Thibaud holds an engineer’s degree in chemistry from the chemistry school of Montpellier, France and a PhD in chemistry from the University of Paris XI, France. He has >10 years of industrial experience working for Galderma and Nuvisan in different process chemistry functions and a two-years Post-Doc experience at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Dr. Charlotte Kopitz is Biologist by training with a passion for applied research. She started academic research in the field of natural pest control/Zoology at the FU Berlin in 1997, followed by basic research on the autoimmune disease sprue, a PhD in the field of metastasis research at the Technical University Munich followed by a PostDoc in Experimental Oncology and Therapeutic Research at the Klinikum Rechts der Isar. In 2008 she took over the lead of an in vivo Laboratory in Oncology Research at Bayer, with increasing repertoire and responsibilities, incl. project leadership along the value chain, membership of the Global Bayer Animal Welfare Committee and Inclusion and the role as Inclusion & Diversity Advisor of the Bayer Pharma R&D organization. In 2019 she took over the responsibility for Pharmacology of the Innovation Campus Berlin at Bayer, preparing the transition to Nuvisan GmbH. At July 1st 2020 she became EVP and head of Therapeutic Research in the Innovation Campus Berlin as part of the Nuvisan family.

Olaf has more than 25 years of experience in drug discovery and development. He currently heads the department of Preclinical Compound Profiling within Nuvisan ICB, which encompasses ICB’s entire expertise in DMPK and toxicology as well as animal management and welfare. Prior to this position he headed Drug Metabolism Berlin within Bayer AG. Olaf holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the university in Münster, Germany, and worked afterwards as a post-doc in Vic Snieckus‘ lab in Canada, investigating ortho-lithiation and synthesis of highly subsituted aromatic derivaties before joining Schering AG late 1996 in the area of combinatorial chemistry and lab automation. He continued as a medicinal chemist and lead the large-scale resynthesis lab. In 2007 he moved into DMPK area and took over the drug metabolism group in Berlin in 2008, where he was also responsible for supporting all local drug discovery and selected development projects, from preclinical up to submission, including interaction with authorities. In 2019 he accepted the responsibility in his current position, where he was deeply involved in the transition of DMPK and toxicology functions and respective staff from Bayer to the Innovation Campus Berlin. From mid 2020 onwards he actively accompanied his team in the service-oriented world of the Nuvisan Science CRO. His more recent activities also include the set-up of a freshly accredited GLP organization within the ICB.