Alveron Pharma was incorporated in March 2019 as a joint venture between Okklo Life Sciences, a company developing therapeutic cyclodextrins, and Sanquin, the Dutch Blood Supply Foundation, a world leader in coagulation research. Okklo is a privately held biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutic solutions in therapeutic areas with a high medical need using cyclodextrin-based technologies. The company was founded by a team of life-sciences experts previously involved in the development and approval of sugammadex (Bridion™), the first modified cyclodextrin marketed as a drug product.
Sanquin is an internationally highly respected research institute in the field of blood, transfusion, medicine and immunology, applying this knowledge to the development and manufacturing of a range of pharmaceutical and diagnostic products and services. Its core activities also comprise the safe and efficient production and distribution of blood and plasma products for the treatment of patients.
Alveron’s asset was developed jointly by Okklo and Sanquin.
Chief Executive Officer
Ben has over 30 years’ experience in the biotechnology industry in a variety of senior commercial and managerial roles. He has managed three companies and has achieved two exits for venture capital share-holders. He was CEO of Haemostatix Ltd in the UK for ten years and led the sale to Ergomed plc in 2016. Haemostatix invented a novel class of peptide-based surgical coagulant, and developed the lead product, PeproStat, to a successful Phase II trial in 169 surgical patients with intra-operative bleeding. Their pipeline product HXP12 ReadyFlow won the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technology competition in 2015. Ben is also Chairman of Selentus Science Ltd, a company developing an adhesive technology, TenaTac® for the application of haemostats to surgical wounds.
Chief Operating Officer
Alex has over 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical industry, mainly regulatory affairs, and responsible for over 100 registration files. His scientific and regulatory interests have enabled him to build up a large network in the pharmaceutical industry, the regulatory framework and scientific world. He was involved in the development of Sugammadex from the early research phase to marketing authorisation approvals in Europe and several other countries. He was also led the teams responsible for the interaction strategy and management of impurities of Sugammadex. Alex is also the founder and CEO of Zwiers Regulatory Consultancy, providing pharma companies with quality regulatory support, throughout the entire drug lifecycle. His company has been responsible for bringing several products to the market which have an impact on coagulation or coagulation diseases (hemophilia).
Chief Scientific Officer
Stephan has about 20 years pharmacological R&D experience. Previously he was assistant professor and Principle Investigator Pharmacology at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, working on the pharmacology and pathophysiology of sphingolipids. He was involved in biochemical pharmacology and translational research in a variety of therapeutic areas (cardiovascular, CNS, metabolic and urology). He has published more than 55 scientific papers in peer reviewed scientific journals. From 2014-2019 he was professor of Life Sciences at Fontys University of Applied Sciences, Eindhoven The Netherlands.
In the past eight years Stephan was involved in drug development within biotech industry. He is currently also Chief Scientific Officer at Okklo Life Sciences and Senior Business Developer at Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus (Maastricht University, the Netherlands).
Chief Technical Officer
Hash was previously Director of Technical Development at Mundipharma and was responsible for leading the Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls (CMC) of global assets. He has expertise covering the full development of Drug Substance, for both complex protein and small molecules, and their Drug Products including, parenteral administration, oral-solid and medical devices for inhalation. Hash has many years of experience in the strategic and operational management of global contract development and manufacturing organisations (CDMOs) and has successfully advanced assets from discovery to First-in-Human studies and then from clinical research to commercialisation. Earlier in his career, he held senior programme management positions at CDMOs including Lonza Biologics and later served with several small biotechs, culminating in a partnership at Pulmagen Therapeutics LLP.
Michel Briejer is a managing partner at Thuja Capital which he joined early 2008. Prior to that, he held senior management positions both in the international pharmaceutical industry (e.g. Janssen Pharmaceutica (Belgium), Yamanouchi (currently Astellas Pharma)) as well as in the biotech industry (Crucell). Michel holds an MSc degree in Pharmacy (Utrecht University) and a PhD in Pharmacology (Wageningen University), as well as a post-doctoral degree in Pharmaceutical Medicine (Dip.Phar.Med., European Center for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Basle).
Samuel Gerssen is a Managing Director at Waterman Ventures, a technology investment fund. Prior to Waterman Ventures, Samuel worked for 10 years at McKinsey & Company in Amsterdam, where he focused on Private Equity, Telecom and Financial Services.
Samuel holds a MSc. with distinction in Applied Computer Sciences from Delft University of Technology. He also holds an MBA from INSEAD.
Pieter de Geus
Pieter de Geus is Managing Director of Sanquin Health Solutions, and Sanquinnovate in Amsterdam, both entities part of the Sanquin Group.
Sanquinnovate was founded at the end of 2017 and is Sanquin’s valorization arm, focused at value creation out of scientific knowledge.
Prior to that he held senior management positions during 30 years in (Bio)Manufacturing, R&D, Change Management, Corporate Strategy and M&A at various companies such as Unilever, Gist-Brocades, royal DSM, Patheon and Sanquin. He has a track record of turning companies around in the pharma/biotech sector and positioning them for strategic growth. Pieter holds a PhD in molecular biology & biochemistry from the university of Utrecht.
Scientific Advisory Board
University of Amsterdam/Sanquin The Netherlands
Joost Meijers is Professor of Experimental Vascular Medicine in Sanquin and the Amsterdam University Medical Centers, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Meijers studied Chemistry at the University of Utrecht and received his PhD degree from the Faculty of Medicine of the same university. His training included a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle (1988-1991). Meijers is a former Fellow of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (1992-1997) and Established Investigator of the Netherlands Heart Foundation (1997-2002). He was chairman of the Department of Experimental Vascular Medicine at the Academic Medical Center (1999-2014) and the Department of Plasma Proteins at Sanquin (2015-2018). He is (co-)inventor of 7 patents, including “Cyclodextrins as procoagulants”, which formed the rationale for the foundation of Alveron Pharma. His research focuses on the initiation and regulation of the coagulation and fibrinolytic systems. He published more than 390 articles on this topic.
Hugo ten Cate
Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Hugo ten Cate graduated in medicine at the University of Amsterdam (1987). PhD thesis on “Clinical and experimental studies with a low molecular weight heparinoid”, University of Amsterdam (1987). Postdoctoral training at the laboratory of prof Robert D Rosenberg and dr. Kenneth A Bauer, Beth Israel Hospital and Harvard Medical School Boston on mechanisms of inflammation associated coagulation activity (1988-1990). Training internal medicine completed 1996, general internist Slotervaarthospital in conjunction with research at Academic Medical Center (laboratory of Experimental Internal medicine, prof Pieter Reitsma). Clinical Established investigatorship from the Dutch Heart Foundation 1998. 2002- present: Professor in Internal medicine, Clinical Thrombosis and Haemostasis, Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC), Maastricht. 2017- Adjunct-professor, Center for Thrombosis and Haemostasis (CTH), Gutenberg University Medical Center, Mainz, Germany.
University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Dr. Nicola Mutch received a BSc Hons in Molecular Biology from the University of Aberdeen, UK. Her Ph.D. was carried out within the laboratory of Prof Nuala Booth at the University of Aberdeen studying cross-talk between the fibrinolytic and coagulation systems. After obtaining her Ph.D. she took up a post-doctoral position with Prof Jim Morrissey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA. During this time the laboratory uncovered the role of platelet polyphosphate in regulation of coagulation and fibrinolysis. Nicola returned to the UK to take up a tenure track position as an Independent Fellowship in Cardiovascular Biology at the University of Leeds.
She was awarded a personal Intermediate Fellowship from the British Heart Foundation and moved back to Aberdeen to pursue her research. Her research takes a global approach to study the cross-talk between hemostatic systems, with the goal of understanding the normal biological processes that regulate these complex pathways and perturbations during disease.
Mc Master University, Hamilton, Canada
Dr. Weitz is Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University and Executive Director of the Thrombosis and Atherosclerosis Research Institute. Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Dr. Weitz focuses his clinical practice on patients with thrombotic disorders. His research spans the spectrum from basic studies in the biochemistry of blood coagulation and fibrinolysis to animal models of thrombosis and on to clinical trials of antithrombotic therapy. The breadth of his work is highlighted by his over 530 publications in journals as diverse as the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Biochemistry, Circulation, Blood, Annals of Internal Medicine, New England Journal of Medicine and Lancet, and 65 book chapters. The recipient of numerous awards, Dr. Weitz is a Fellow of the American Heart Association, the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.
Thuja Capital (“Thuja”) manages several venture capital funds aimed at building and scaling companies in the fields of (bio)pharmaceuticals, medtech and digital health. Thuja brings innovation to patients and society by providing capital to daring entrepreneurs with ground-breaking product concepts, addressing unmet medical needs. The investment team at Thuja consists of seasoned investors and entrepreneurs with a proven track record and an extensive network.
Waterman Ventures invests in ambitious technology companies that combine a positive impact on society with a healthy financial return. Over the last 30 years, we have been a long-term partner to many successful businesses. Our team, based in the Netherlands, shares a passion for technology and a hands-on mindset to supporting growth in our portfolio companies.
Oost NL (East Netherlands Development Agency) is an agency that focuses its activities and projects on strengthening and stimulating the economy of the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel, the Netherlands. Oost NL supports starting and growth-phase SMEs. We do this partly with risk capital from various revolving innovation funds, and partly through our knowledge, networks and personal contacts. Through the revolving funds we provide for direct as well as indirect investment and take care of the fund management. In addition, we stimulate and support public and private investors.