Empowered by Innovative DNA-based Technology

Digital DNA design platform is used to ensure rapid development and easy production of novel vaccines.

Development based in Switzerland

About

RocketVax AG is a Swiss biotech startup based in Basel and was established in 2020. The company has its foundation in the ties between Swiss Rockets AG, a Swiss incubator and accelerator for startups, Gigabases Switzerland AG, a spinoff of ETH Zurich, and a team of expert scientists from the University of Basel, the University of Zurich, the ETH Zurich, the University Hospital Basel and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel.

At RocketVax, we use proprietary molecular biology and chemical technology to develop novel vaccines. Our first product is RVX-13, a live, single-cycle vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, which is based on breakthrough genetic engineering. Leading Swiss expert scientists from immunology and virology have joined forces to translate a novel development concept against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, a pathogen that has already impacted countless lives worldwide, into a vaccine of the next generation.

From Basel, Switzerland

Established in 2020

Team of Experts

Developing novel vaccination platform

Mission

Addressing pressing global health challenges

Our mission is to address pressing global health challenges by applying the most modern approaches to the development of new vaccines in different fields that aim at protective and long-lasting immune control. We are committed to implementing cutting-edge science in next-generation vaccine design that will improve people’s lives globally.

Technology

What we use and how we do it

Innovative Technology

RocketVax is taking a unique approach to vaccination against SARS-CoV-2: instead of only using one target antigen, we develop a vaccine that focuses on all major immunogenic features of the SARS-CoV-2 virus but cannot spread, making it safe and efficacious. A digital DNA design platform is used to ensure rapid development and easy production of our novel vaccine RVX-13.

Advantages of the solution

Our 'artificial virus' concept allows a single round of infection in a vaccinated person. As the RVX-13 vaccine focuses on most SARS-CoV-2 proteins, including the Spike protein, this makes it superior to the current vaccines, which target the Spike protein only. Should the need arise, our inventive approach allows the quick modification of RVX-13, making our concept highly flexible and adaptable to novel virus variants of concern

Versatility of the system

RVX-13 does not require artificial lipid-encapsulation or very low temperature storage and shipping conditions. In RVX-13, no foreign vector-sequences are present that would be immunogenic themselves and could lead to reduced protection levels or a lower boosting response against Covid-19 due to unwanted pre-existing immunity against the vector. Previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 or prior COVID-19 vaccination therefore do not preclude vaccination with RVX-13.

Our Vaccine Strategy

RVX-13 Development Milestones

Genetic
Design

Genome
Assembly

Preclinical
PoC

GMP &
Scale up

Preclinical
Safety

Clinical
Phase 1/2

Clinical
Phase 3

Team

Meet our team of experts

Board of Directors

Dr. Jeanette Wood

Chairwoman and Non-executive Board member

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. Vladimir Cmiljanovic

Vice-Chairman and Executive Board member

Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic is Switzerland's leading serial pharma entrepreneur, a medicinal chemist, and cancer scientist with more than fifteen years of experience in oncology drug development. He is the co-author of numerous scientific articles and abstracts and inventor of 4 patent families with more than 400 registered patents.

Together with his sister Natasa, Vladimir co-discovered the drug BIMIRALISIB (PQR309) in 2007 at the University of Basel. BIMIRALISIB is the best-in-class oral and brain-penetrant dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor, with applications in various cancer indications. For his scientific contribution in the PI3K-AKT-mTOR research field, Vladimir won the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Award from the University of Basel in 2009, and the Novartis and University of Basel Excellence Scholarship for Life Sciences in 2011.

In 2010, Vladimir was the winner of the Swiss Venture Kick for the elaboration of the PIQUR business idea. He founded the company PIQUR Therapeutics AG in 2011, as a spin-off of the University of Basel, to develop BIMIRALISIB. Vladimir led PIQUR as CEO and Vice-Chairman and made it an international biotech company. His entrepreneurial skills and a global network of scientists, experts, and investors brought over 80 Million USD of funding to PIQUR and attracted top-tier scientific experts and leadership personnel. In 2014, Vladimir won with PIQUR the Northwest Switzerland Young Entrepreneur Award, and in 2015, the Swiss Economic Forum Award.

In 2016, Vladimir founded TargImmune Therapeutics AG; a biotechnology company focused on cancer cell-targeted immunotherapies, for which he raised 22 Million USD in seed funding.

Swiss Rockets, Vladimir’s latest enterprise, was founded in 2018, to become a leading biotech hub with a unique business model. Swiss Rockets will combine the most advanced and effective technologies in the fight against cancer with cancer prevention methods and techniques. Vladimir was a professional handball player and a national player for Serbia.

Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic

Executive Board member

Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic is a medicinal chemist and clinical scientist with more than ten years of experience in oncology drug development. She is the co-author of various scientific articles and abstracts and inventor of numerous patents. In 2007, during her Ph.D. thesis in the Faculty of Chemistry, at the University of Basel, Switzerland, Natasa co-discovered the best-in-class dual PI3K/mTOR drug BIMIRALISIB (PQR309) together with her brother Vladimir and successfully led its early clinical development in Europe and the USA.

Natasa was the first to synthesize BIMIRALISIB, a triazine derivative, which is a highly selective, brain penetrant, and orally bioavailable. Natasa was also responsible for the early clinical development of BIMIRALISIB in solid tumors.

In 2018, Natasa co-founded Swiss Rockets, intending to create and grow a leading innovation hub for the support of biotech startup companies.

Dr. Thomas Ladner

Non-executive Board member

Dr. Thomas Ladner became in 2002 the youngest partner at Meyerlustenberger Lachenal, one of Switzerland's leading law firms, where he specialized in private equity and M&A. From 2000 to 2004, Thomas lectured on corporate law and contract law at the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland), from where he also holds a Ph.D. Since 2009 he is a Counsel to the law firm and active as an angel investor. To date, two of the several start-ups he co-founded went public. In addition, he sits on the board of more than a dozen companies ranging from tech-startups to mature companies with a turnover of several billion Swiss francs.

Thomas is passionate about creating communities of business and thought leaders and has founded or co-founded the Entrepreneurs' Roundtable (with chapters in Switzerland, Germany, France, The Netherlands, and Poland), the Club zum Rennweg in Zurich and the WORLD.MINDS Foundation. In addition, he is engaged in several nonprofit initiatives as a member of their board of trustees.

Marco Illy

Non-executive Board member

Marco Illy is an investment banker who spent 30 years with Credit Suisse. After holding various positions including Head of the Investment Banking and Securities division of Credit Suisse in Switzerland, he was co-head of the European Investment Banking Coverage in London and in 2005, he was appointed head of Credit Suisse’s investment banking business in Germany. From 2009 to 2016, he returned to Switzerland as Head of Investment Banking (IDB) at Credit Suisse. From 2016 to 2018, Marco Illy was a member of the Extended Executive Board of Credit Suisse (Switzerland) AG. In 2018, he becomes a member of the Board of Directors of Innosuisse AG.

Management

Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic is Switzerland's leading serial pharma entrepreneur, a medicinal chemist, and cancer scientist with more than fifteen years of experience in oncology drug development. He is the co-author of numerous scientific articles and abstracts and inventor of 4 patent families with more than 400 registered patents.

Together with his sister Natasa, Vladimir co-discovered the drug BIMIRALISIB (PQR309) in 2007 at the University of Basel. BIMIRALISIB is the best-in-class oral and brain-penetrant dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor, with applications in various cancer indications. For his scientific contribution in the PI3K-AKT-mTOR research field, Vladimir won the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Award from the University of Basel in 2009, and the Novartis and University of Basel Excellence Scholarship for Life Sciences in 2011.

In 2010, Vladimir was the winner of the Swiss Venture Kick for the elaboration of the PIQUR business idea. He founded the company PIQUR Therapeutics AG in 2011, as a spin-off of the University of Basel, to develop BIMIRALISIB. Vladimir led PIQUR as CEO and Vice-Chairman and made it an international biotech company. His entrepreneurial skills and a global network of scientists, experts, and investors brought over 80 Million USD of funding to PIQUR and attracted top-tier scientific experts and leadership personnel. In 2014, Vladimir won with PIQUR the Northwest Switzerland Young Entrepreneur Award, and in 2015, the Swiss Economic Forum Award.

In 2016, Vladimir founded TargImmune Therapeutics AG; a biotechnology company focused on cancer cell-targeted immunotherapies, for which he raised 22 Million USD in seed funding.

Swiss Rockets, Vladimir’s latest enterprise, was founded in 2018, to become a leading biotech hub with a unique business model. Swiss Rockets will combine the most advanced and effective technologies in the fight against cancer with cancer prevention methods and techniques. Vladimir was a professional handball player and a national player for Serbia.

Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic

Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic is a medicinal chemist and clinical scientist with more than ten years of experience in oncology drug development. She is the co-author of various scientific articles and abstracts and inventor of numerous patents. In 2007, during her Ph.D. thesis in the Faculty of Chemistry, at the University of Basel, Switzerland, Natasa co-discovered the best-in-class dual PI3K/mTOR drug BIMIRALISIB (PQR309) together with her brother Vladimir and successfully led its early clinical development in Europe and the USA.

Natasa was the first to synthesize BIMIRALISIB, a triazine derivative, which is a highly selective, brain penetrant, and orally bioavailable. Natasa was also responsible for the early clinical development of BIMIRALISIB in solid tumors.

In 2018, Natasa co-founded Swiss Rockets, intending to create and grow a leading innovation hub for the support of biotech startup companies.

Dr. Mohammad Habib Johri

Deputy CEO

Dr. Mohammad Habib Johri holds a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from London Metropolitan University, where his work involved Study of Metal Complexes derived from Quinone Type Ligands. Compound synthesized during his Ph.D. eventually found its use in Medical as well as Industrial sectors.

He is a result-driven entrepreneur with more than 35 years of experience in a variety of diverse fields such as Chemical, Surface Coating and Electronic industries. He has worked for world-class organization such as Morton International, Desoto, Bunzl Pulp, and Panasonic Avionics Corporation. He has been actively involved in leading teams in creating and developing products for markets on Global basis in general and the Middle East, Europe, Africa and South Asia in particular.

In recent times he has been involved in exciting Pharma startup entities and due to his broad experience and drive is asked to serve as a board member. He has a strong background of managing complex and demanding projects which need to be carried out in a timely manner to meet delivery schedules. He sets his eyes on long-term strategies that have a high potential for future growth and has a keen eye on realizing ground realities thus satisfying market needs. Currently, he is actively involved in helping few Swiss-based cutting-edge start-ups companies to bring their products to market place.

Dr. Josef Künzle

Chief Quality Officer

Dr. Josef Künzle is Chief Quality Officer in Swiss Rockets. He took early retirement from Basilea in 2018, where he was Head of Global Quality Management in the independent Quality Unit, and as a member of the Extended Management Team since August 2015. He joined Basilea in 2007 as a Quality Assurance Project Manager. He was promoted in May 2009 to Head Quality Unit Technical Operations, a position in which he led the GMP/GDP QA group. In 2013, he became Head of Global QM.

Since 1989, he has held various positions in the pharmaceutical industry with increasing responsibility, from 1989 to 1998 as Analytical R&D/QC at Sandoz Pharma AG/Novartis Pharma AG in Basel (including FDA inspection on Sandimmun Neoral), from 1998 to 2003 in QC/QM at Carbogen AG in Aarau, and from 2003 to 2007 in QC/QM at Permamed AG in Therwil. Josef holds a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and was a Post-Doc in the Civil Engineering Department at Stanford University, California. Since 1997, he has given numerous GMP training classes in the area of QC/QA.

Extended Management

David Allman

Head of Clinical Operations

David Allman is a biochemist by training and has over 25 years of global experience in the pharmaceutical industry having worked for pharmaceutical companies and leading clinical research organizations as well as applying his expertise in the virtual development arena.

David has held a variety of roles in Hoffmann-La Roche, Quintiles, Fulcrum Pharma and Aptiv Solutions and more recently as one of the founder members of Artemida Pharma. He has worked on numerous development programmes including from entry-into-man through to successful NDAs in industry leading timeframes. He has led large project teams in all regions of the world, thus gaining invaluable experience in project oversight. Whilst the key focus has been in oncology development, David has also applied his development and programme management skills to several other therapeutic areas and compound types all of which have provided their unique challenges during development.

Dr. Christian Mittelholzer

Head of Project Management

Dr. Christian Mittelholzer is a molecular biologist by training, with more than 15 years of experience in veterinary and human virology, and in the development of novel vaccines. After his Ph.D., performed at the Institute for Virology and Immunology in Mittelhäusern, Switzerland, Christian worked on several EU-funded research projects in Sweden and on Atlantic cod in Norway. Returning to Switzerland, he was working on self-assembling protein nanoparticles as vaccine candidates at Alpha-O Peptides, later using polyomavirus virus-like particles (VLPs) at the Institute of Medical Microbiology at the University of Basel, and then as Chief Scientific Officer at Redbiotec in Schlieren, Switzerland, also working on virus-like particles as vaccine candidates.

Before joining Swiss Rockets, Christian obtained an MBA in General Management from the University of St. Gallen (HSG) and worked as a project manager for a large pharma and biotech engineering company in Basel, acquiring valuable management skills in projects of various sizes. Christian holds an M.Sc. in Biology from the University of Basel and a Ph.D. from the University of Berne and is the author of over 30 scientific articles.

Dr. Robert Ettlin

Head of Preclinical Safety

After some years in toxicological pathology at F. Hoffmann La Roche Ltd., Ettlin joined Sandoz Ltd. in Basel, where he advanced to Head of Toxicology and later Head of Development Operations Switzerland. In between, he served as Head of Preclinical Development and member of the Executive Committee of Novartis Pharma in Japan.

Dr. Christoph Heusser

Head of Immunology

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 the Transplantation- Immunology Unit at Novartis and gave lectures on antibody-based interventions at the University Basel for 15 years. During this time, he initiated and executed several intervention strategies in the area of allergy, autoimmunity, and transplantation. He co-invented the concept of anti-IgE treatment, which resulted in the development of Xolair, - an antibody drug for the treatment of moderate to severe persistent allergic asthma and chronic spontaneous urticaria, - and the follow-up drug Ligelizumab.

He was a Ciba-Geigy Fellow and nominated Novartis Distinguished Scientist and 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 Zürich, discovered the diversity of Fc-receptors in Denver, and was a member at the Basel Institute for Immunology, working on B cell immune regulation, before he devoted his energy to medicinal immunological research. Since several years Dr. Heusser supports different biotech companies as consultant and advisor.

Emir Iljazovic

Head of Business Operations

Emir Iljazovic is an entrepreneurially oriented business professional who obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Babson College, Massachusetts, where he double majored in Entrepreneurship and Global Business Management. Emir developed his professional career in the USA, Ireland, China, UAE, Indonesia, and now Switzerland. He started his career in the Project Management Office of EMC in Boston and Cork, Ireland.

From there, he moved to Beijing to study Mandarin, where he began working for a privately-owned investment company as the Business Development Manager, identifying, researching, and negotiating investment opportunities across a wide variety of industries including Telecommunications, Oil and Gas, Mining, Food, and Pharmaceuticals. Before joining Swiss Rockets, Emir founded and managed a boutique consulting company focused on helping European and American SMEs to establish new business ventures across Asia. Emir is multilingual: besides Mandarin, he speaks several European languages.

Maciej Talarek

Head of Finance

Maciej Talarek started his career in the insurance industry. As a result, he specialized in accounting and found his future in the fiduciary sector. Maciej has been a successful self-employed trustee since 2013.

He has supported, advised, and assisted many startup companies. In addition to his federal diploma as a chartered specialist in Accounting and Financial Management, he is an expert in Swiss GAAP FER and a tax specialist for self-employed persons.

Saif Al-Rubai

Head of Legal

Saif Al-Rubai received his law degree in 2009 and was admitted to the bar of Basel-Country in 2012. As an experienced lawyer and trusted deputy to a law firm partner, he has successfully designed, developed, and implemented legal case strategies and tactics in a variety of legal fields for the last seven years, including several Swiss Federal Court cases.

In 2018, Saif obtained an EMBA at Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz FHNW, as well as an MBA from Edinburgh Business School, where he graduated with distinction. Saif brings a valuable combination of legal and business skills to the Corporate Development Office at Swiss Rockets.

Michel Petignat

Head of HR

Michel Petignat is a qualified HR Specialist in the Life Sciences industry. During his long and outstanding professional career, Michel worked as an HR Manager in leading pharma and biotech companies such as Sandoz, Novartis Pharma, Syngenta Crop Protection and Actelion Pharmaceuticals. He was responsible for the selection and recruitment of personnel and the support of line managers (HR policy, disciplinary procedures, recruitment, etc.).

From 2001 until 2004, Michel worked in addition as a Head of Recruitment and Support Basel in Syngenta Crop Protection. From 2005 he was an expert for the “Human Resources Swiss Exams” society in the domain “Leadership and Communication” and served as a member of the association’s managing committee in 2012 - 2018. In 2013 he became an HR Business Partner of the Department Drug Discovery in Actelion Pharmaceuticals. Michel has in-depth experience in an operational HR work from recruitment through support and development to exit. Due to exceptional technical and personal skills, he always received a high degree of personal acceptance and respect from customers (managers, employees).

Partners & Advisors

Prof. Dr. Marcel Tanner

Chief Scientific Advisor

Prof. Dr. Marcel Tanner was Director of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute from 1997 to 2015 and is now President of the Swiss Academy of Sciences. He holds a Ph.D. in medical biology from the University of Basel and an MPH from the University of London. Lived and worked in Africa and Asia and has published extensively in many fields of health research (>650 original papers) and has received global recognition for his expertise in the field of infectious diseases research and control. He was co-investigator and coordinator of the first African malaria vaccine trial in 1992 and participated as co-principal investigator in several major intervention trials on malaria and schistosomiasis. He developed a Swiss field laboratory to what is now the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania from 1981-1985 and when back in Europe as programme director 1987-1997.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Klimkait

Project Leader in Preclinical Virology

Thomas Klimkait studied Molecular Biology in Cologne, Germany. During 3 research years at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA, he co-discovered and published one of the essential HIV-1 proteins. In 1990, he joined Ciba/Novartis as lab head in the Virology Drug Discovery Group, which developed the HIV protease inhibitor atazanavir. In 1998 he returned to academia, accepting a position as Research Group Leader at the University of Basel with responsibility for molecular diagnostics in Virology. He developed various PCR-based methods for the detection and quantification of human pathogenic viruses and a novel test system for HIV resistances. This test became approved by the BAG for reimbursement, and drug resistance-testing has since then become an essential diagnostic tool accompanying HIV therapy.

Thomas co-founded the Basel spin-off InPheno AG, a company offering specialized culture-based tests for drug discovery and profiling and for diagnostic purposes. Collaborations using these services have been signed with numerous international companies and big pharma. His current research focuses on aspects of antiviral mechanisms targeting influenza and corona viruses and towards a cure for chronic viruses, i.e. HIV.

Prof. Dr. Adrian Egli

Project Leader in Molecular Verification and Sequencing

Prof. Dr. Adrian Egli is the Head of Molecular Verification and Sequencing at the University Hospital in Basel and leads the Applied Microbiology research group at the University of Basel.

He is particularly interested in understanding the complexity of pathogen transmission in an evolutionary context including the host's immune response and the environment.

Egli acts as a member of Federatio Analyticorum Medicinalium Helveticorum (FAMH), European Society for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, as well as of American Society of Transplantation (AST)-Infectious Diseases Community of Practice, from where he holds two awards as a young investigator.

He is the author of more than 100 publications on bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogens with a special focus on innovative diagnostic approaches.

Prof. Dr. Claudia Daubenberger

Project Leader in Clinical Immunology

Claudia Daubenberger is Unit Leader for "Clinical Immunology" at the Department of Medical Parasitology and Infection Biology of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. Her main interest is the in-depth analysis of human immune responses in phase I to phase III vaccine trials targeting Plasmodium falciparum malaria in all age groups in Sub-Saharan Africa. The rigorous immunological evaluations of whole purified Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite based vaccine approaches in the East, and West Africa are one focus of her work. Over the past ten years, her unit has supported developing and running a dedicated clinical research hospital located in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. Along with well-equipped laboratory infrastructure for on-site immunological and parasitological studies, the hospital has become a unique international research platform for "early in men" intervention studies. The implementation of the controlled human malaria infection model in Bagamoyo in 2012 enables assessment of experimental malaria vaccines' protective efficacy under highly standardized conditions. Funded through long-term public-private partnerships, members of her unit, together with colleagues from the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, planned, built, and equipped a cutting edge public health research laboratory in Equatorial Guinea, the first of its kind in the country. This advanced infrastructure, strong South-South, and North-South research partnerships, together with the local human resources developed overtime, was essential in the successful response of Equatorial Guinea to the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic. The laboratory was the first in the West African region to detect Sars-Cov-2. Since February 2020, more than 60'000 samples have been processed and analyzed for Sars-Cov-2, allowing the government to understand COVID-19 disease epidemiology and dynamics in real-time.

She will extend this line of COVID-19 related research by supporting clinical vaccine development and evaluation efforts against Sars-Cov-2 in different populations.

Before joining Swiss TPH, she worked as a Postdoctoral fellow at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Kenya on vaccine development in cattle against Theileria parva, an apicomplexan parasite closely related to Plasmodium falciparum. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (Equivalent to Ph.D.) from the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany.

Prof. Dr. Christian Münz

Project Leader in Preclinical Immunology

Prof. Dr. Christian Münz is Co-Director of the Institute of Experimental Immunology of the University of Zürich. His research focuses on human innate and adaptive cell-mediated immune responses to viral infections. He has established in vivo small animal models for infections by the Epstein Barr virus (EBV), Kaposi sarcoma associated herpesvirus and co-infections of both as well as EBV with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). His research has also explored vaccine formulations including recombinant protein targeting to dendritic cells, recombinant viral vaccines and vaccine adjuvancy. He is an editorial board number of numerous journals including Blood, Journal of Immunology and Autophagy. He will provide his expertise in monitoring anti-viral immune responses as well as establishing new in vivo models for SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination against it.

Prof. Dr. Beat Christen

Project Leader in Vaccine Design and Biochemistry

Beat Christen is a Professor at the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, (ETH) Zürich. He earned his Ph.D. in molecular microbiology at the University of Basel and later joined the Biology Department at Standford University before he became Professor at the ETH in Zürich. He is the inventor of TnSeq technology (US patent 9150916) and interrogates with his group how essential functions are programmed into genomes. In 2019 Beat Christen published the 785 kb computer-generated genome of Caulobacter ethensis, the first synthetic species of a microorganism that is deposited at the NCBI. His lab at ETH Zürich is employing novel chemical DNA synthesis technology to build and decipher the genomes at unprecedented speed.

Shayesteh Fürst-Ladani

CEO of Regulatory Affairs Partner SFL

Shayesteh Fürst-Ladani is the CEO and founder of SFL. She leads the team at SFL and provides global strategic support for the development of healthcare products. Shayesteh is President of the not-for-profit Associations “Rare Disease Action Forum” (RDAF) as well as the “Medtech & Pharma Platform”.

Shayesteh has longstanding experience in formulating global regulatory strategy for drugs, orphan drugs, drug & device combination products, borderline products, medical devices, in vitro diagnostics (IVDs) and advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs).

She has extensive experience in negotiating companies’ interests at a senior level in meetings with regulators. Shayesteh has been involved in reviewing and assessing the impact of European and US legislation, such as the Cell & Tissue Directive, the Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products Regulation, the Orphan Medicinal Product Regulation, Drug & Device Combination Products, Personalized Medicine and HTA.

She is Special Coach for Regulatory Affairs at Innosuisse, Swiss Innovation Agency. She frequently invited as speaker and/or conference chair. Shayesteh is Lecturer at IFAPP/Kings College for Regulatory Affairs and was for 7 years Adjunct Instructor for Regulatory Affairs at the George Washington University School of Medicines and Health Sciences.

Before founding SFL, Shayesteh hold senior positions in various biotech and major pharmaceutical companies as Head of Global Regulatory Affairs and Head of Regulatory Affairs for Development Products.

She received her MSc in Microbiology from the University of Vienna, Austria, and a MBA from the Open University Business School, Milton Keynes, UK.

Prof. Dr. Bernd Giese

Advisor in DNA Chemistry

Prof. Dr. Bernd Giese is a professor of organic chemistry and co-founder and chairman of the biotech company PIQUR. He studied the influence of activation entropies on the selectivity of organic reactions and developed the isoselective relationship. Giese contributed to the understanding of radical reactions and developing a modern, stereoselective synthethis method (Giese reaction).

Due to his contribution in synthetic radical chemistry, electron transfer in DNA and peptides, and investigation of cellular signal transduction pathways using chemical compounds, Bernd is a recipient of numerous international awards in chemistry including Karl-Winnacker Award 1976, Carl-Duisberg Award 1977, Gottfried-Wilhelm- Leibniz Award 1987, Merck-Schuchardt Award 1988, Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry 2005, Emil Fischer Medal 2006, Norris Award 2009 and Paracelsus Award 2012.

Dr. Oğuz Akbaş

Partner in Clinical Development

Dr. Oğuz Akbaş is a medical doctor and he obtained his Ph.D. in Pharmacology in 1985. After joining Turkish pharmaceutical industry, his main interests were regulatory affairs with an emphasis on developing product portfolios which later led him to move into clinical studies in 1996. He founded Monitor Contract Research Organization (MonitorCRO) in 1999, transferring his knowledge and experience to his company that has accumulated during the BE/BA studies he has managed for Turkish companies between 1996-1999. He has actively worked as a study monitor, trained and performed mentoring for many young professionals in the field of clinical research and participated in numerous Good Clinical Practice trainings as a trainer in Turkey.

Dr. Matthias Christen

CEO of Gigabases, Advisor in Vaccine Design and DNA Chemistry

Dr. Matthias Christen is a graduate chemist with a Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Basel and 15+ years of research experience at leading international life science institutions, including the National Center of Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Disease at the University of Washington in Seattle. From 2013 to 2020 he was a lecturer and group leader at the ETH Zurich where he worked in the fields of Synthetic Biology and Systems Biology. Matthias Christen is the inventor of several European and US patents in the fields of DNA and genome synthesis. In 2018, he founded the ETH spin-off Gigabases Switzerland AG, where he markets as CEO novel DNA technology for the chemical synthesis of computer-generated genomes and vaccines.

Partners

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Contact

We would be pleased to answer all of your questions

contact@rocketvax.com

+41 61 561 54 21

RocketVax AG

c/o Swiss Rockets AG

Rittergasse 3, 4051 Basel, Switzerland