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Directors and Advisory Board

Management

Zaki Sellam, MSc, MBA (Founder & CEO) 

Throughout his career, Zaki has worked in scientific, executive and board functions. With more than 13 years of international experience, Zaki’s expertise lies in Biotech start-up creation, drug discovery, development & commercialization. He developed along the years a significant network in the BD&L, Tech Transfer and Financing community. 

As a founder of ESN Life Sciences GmbH (specialized consulting boutique in Basel, Switzerland), he has supported several innovative biotech start-up from their creation & structuration to their financing & partnering activities. One instance is the 3 years deep support to OriBase Pharma (Oncology Biotech Start-up) resulting in a large transaction of several digit millions, hence securing the firm financing up to commercialization of its products.

Meanwhile, he co-founded various promising Biotech ventures such as Avicenna Oncology GmbH (Antibody Drug Conjugate field, Basel, Switzerland), CarboMimetics SAS (GlycoChemistry field, Paris, France), Atfal Pharma AG (Paediatrics field, Basel, Switzerland) & Genius Therapeutics SAS (Immuno-Oncology field, Bordeaux, France). Zaki could successfully secure the seed financing and several tech  transfer transactions for these ventures.

Zaki holds a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology Engineering from the National School of Biotechnology in Bordeaux, France, and a Master of Business Administration from the Institute of Business Administration from Poitiers, France. He is pursing a part time PhD in Strategic Management, in collaboration with Prof Brian Smith, Hertfordshire Business School, United Kingdom. He is a native French speaker, fluent in English & Spanish, and Intermediate in German and Arabic.

 Advisory Board

Dr Ivan Csendes, PhD - Corporate Strategy

Ivan is an industry veteran, with over 30 years of experience, having worked at Ciba-Geigy and Novartis, as Head of Laboratory in antibiotics chemistry research, and then over 23 years in the Business Development & Licensing, where he was responsible for in and out-licensing of drugs in different therapeutic areas, including CNS, dermatology inflammation, oncology, respiratory, as well as for drug delivery projects. He has negotiated and concluded many differently structured agreements with pharmaceutical and medical device companies, more recently with companies such as Abbott Vascular, Eisai, Speedel. Ivan is a founding member of Swiss Pharma Licensing Group and was the president of the association from 2004-2008. He is currently the Chairman of European Pharma Licensing Council. He has a PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University Basel.

Dr Urs Regenass, PhD - Cancer Biology and Oncology

Urs brings over 30 years experience in pharmaceutical drug discovery. He obtained his PhD. in Cell Biology at the Biocenter, University of Basel and did post-doctoral work at the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor (Maine). He then joined the oncology group of Ciba-Geigy where he contributed as lab head, project leader and biology unit head to signal transduction inhibitors PKC412, Midostaurin and the abl kinase inhibitor Gleevec, among many other projects targeting oncogene, tumor suppressor gene and cell survival pathways. Later, first at Ciba and then Novartis he became a member of the global research management board and led the global Core Technology department in research. Under his supervision new discovery platforms were established and integrated into the discovery process. In 2001 he joined Discovery Partners International, a CRO headquartered in San Diego as VP Drug Discovery and as CEO of the Allschwil, Switzerland site. After the merger/sale of Discovery Partners in 2006 he joined Actelion Pharmaceuticals in Allschwil as Senior Director Oncology to build an oncology biology group and establish a discovery portfolio in oncology, by leveraging his international network and extensive knowledge in the field. Since 2016 he provides his knowledge in drug discovery and oncology as an independent consultant to pharma, biotech and start-up companies.

Urs has published over 50 articles and book chapters in the field of oncology and drug discovery. He served on the board of directors of 2 start-up companies and lectured for 7 years at the university of Basel in experimental oncology.

Dr Karim Berrada, PhD - Discovery and Pharmacology

Karim received his M.Sc. degree at Cleveland State University where he studied water-born human parasites. For his Ph.D., he joined the Cancer Biology Department of the Lerner Research Center at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, at which he studied leukemogenesis. After completing a three year fellowship at the Clinical & Molecular Endocrinology of Case Western Reserve University/University Hospital of Cleveland, he joined the private sector where he held key positions and focused on the early phases of drug discovery. Dr. Berrada has served as Principal Investigator at Athersys, Synaptic and Helicon Therapeutics, and in 2003, he joined Ingenious Targeting Laboratories where he established a drug discovery program while managing also the development of various leads. Since 2012, he joined Applied DNA Sciences as a Director of DNA formulation department.

Dr Thomas Bogenrieder, MD, PhD - Clinical Oncology

Thomas is a clinician-scientist by background and an academic expertise in melanoma skin cancer and other oncology areas, Thomas has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 10 years. He has experience in senior executive positions in oncology drug development (e.g., Lapatinib, Dabrafenib and Trametinib) and medical affairs with GlaxoSmithKline and other pharmaceutical companies, encompassing assignments in Germany, Europe and at a global level. He qualified in Medicine at the Albert-Ludwigs-University, Freiburg (Germany), after studying medicine in Homburg/Saar (Germany) and at Louis Pasteur University Strasbourg (France). Thomas completed a post-doctoral fellowship in molecular cancer biology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and worked as a visiting scientist at the Wister Institute in Philadelphia. Moreover, he holds a PhD in “Clinicopathological and Molecular Aspects of Cutaneous Melanoma” from the University of Utrecht (The Netherlands). He’s board-certified and practiced Medicine at the University of Regensburg and in private practice in Germany before entering the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr Mohammed Charki, MD - Business Development and Licensing

Mohammed Charki has joined Sanofi as a project manager on a telemonitoring and decision support program for Diabetes patients and HCPs and as cardiovascular Portfolio Medical Manager for Europe and Canada with a focus on patients’ centred services based on new technologies. His passion for innovation has led him to join Sanofi R&D as a Scouting and Partnerships Director as he has always been convinced that healthcare industries needed to establish strategic alliances and partnerships with industries from different horizons (Bioconvergence) to answer patients and growing populations needs; therefore he’s been a strong advocate of Open Innovation within the group and beyond in the life science industry which led him to lead Innovation & New Products at O.C.P. Group and now being Board member of several startups.