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Drug Discovery to Development Innovation Forum Speakers

Sven Nahnsen


High-throughput technologies generate an ever increasing amount of biological and medical data. At the Quantitative Biology Center we develop methods for the management, processing and analysis for these large datasets.

Quantitative Biology Center - QBiC

Davide Gianni

Associate Director

Davide Gianni currently leads the Functional Genomics team in Discovery Sciences (AZ) in Cambridge UK. The main focus of the team is to identify novel target hypothesis for a range of therapy areas of interest for Astrazeneca.


Matthias Frech

Director Molecular Interactions and Biophysics

Dr. Matthias Frech is currently the Head of the Department for Molecular Interaction and Biophysics (MIB) at Merck.

Merck Serono

J​örg Weiser

Managing Director

Dr. Weiser joined Schrödinger in 2002 as Managing Director and is responsible for Schrödinger's operations as well as Schrödinger's business in EMEA, India and China.


​Amaury Fernandez

Head of Compound Screening

Amaury E. Fernández-Montalván is the Head of Compound Screening at the SERVIER Research Institute since March 2018.


Kenneth Barr

Sr. Vice President – Discovery Services

Kenneth holds a Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic/Organometallic Chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has pursued his Postdoctoral study in Natural product synthesis from the University of Texas.


Hanneke Later-Nijland

Attorney At Law

Hanneke is the only lawyer-pharmacist in the Netherlands. She specializes in EU and national (bio)pharma law.

Axon Lawyers

Alastair Lawson

Senior Fellow

Alastair has been closely involved with the discovery of UCB/Celltech’s therapeutic antibodies for thirty-five years, with Mylotarg®, Besponsa® and Cimzia® FDA-approved, and romosozumab, bimekizumab, dapirolizumab pegol and rozanoloxizumab in clinical trials.


Neil Kayal

Global Biopharma Manager

​Neil Kayal has a long standing interest in the cellular manufacturing process with the overarching intent of democratization in personalized medication.

Beckman Coulter

Jonathan Hall

Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry

In 2012 JH served as Chairman of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (IPW).

Eth Zurich

Robert Vries

Managing Director

Experienced in a wide variety of research areas from biochemistry to animal models and human primary cell systems while always focusing on the medically relevant research.

Hubrecht Organoid Technology

José Duca

Global Head of Computer-Aided Drug Discovery

Computational medicinal chemist with industry experience on interdisciplinary and innovation-driven drug design.


Hubert Haag

Director BD&L Research Platforms

In the new Sanofi R&D organization, H. Haag is responsible for sourcing and external business within the Lead Generation department and is a member of its leadership team.


Christopher J Tame

Senior Principal Scientist

Chris currently leads target ID and lead optimisation drug discovery projects at BenevolentAI.


Pilar Pizcueta

Director of Biology

Pilar holds a PhD in Pharmacy from the Universitat de Barcelona. Supported by a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship she worked at Harvard Medical School and later at Duke’s University, Durham (USA).

Minoryx Therapeutics

Martin Akerman

CTO, Co-founder

Dr. Martin Akerman is a data scientist trained in biology and computer science with a PhD from Technion (Israel) and a post doctorate from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL).


Ilse Roodink

General Scientific Project Manager

Ilse Roodink obtained a PhD in Medical Sciences at the Radboud University of Nijmegen,

Forte bio

Rob Brown

VP Product Marketing

Rob Brown is VP Product Marketing at Dotmatics.

Dotmatics Inc

Immanuel Lerner

CEO, co-founder

​Dr. Immanuel Lerner is Pepticom’s CEO since 2014, co-founder and board member. Pepticom is using Artificial intelligence for peptide discovery for collaborations and internal projects.


Marina Kovaleva

Principal Research Scientist

​Marina is Principal Research Scientist at the next generation biologics company Elasmogen. She is a member of a team of scientists developing novel single chain domains (soloMERs) from initial lead isolation through to clinical candidate identification.


Mark Throsby

EVP & Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Mark Throsby joined Merus in October 2008 with responsibility for coordinating preclinical research and external alliances.

Merus NV

Laura Heitman

Associate Professor

Laura Heitman is associate professor at the Division of Drug Discovery & Safety.

Leiden University

Philip Tagari

VP of Research

Philip Tagari is currently Vice President of Research (Therapeutic Discovery) at Amgen Inc, the world’s largest independent biotechnology company.


Aleksandra Baranczak

Senior Scientist II, Chemical Biology Group Leader

Aleksandra Baranczak received her PhD in 2011 in the laboratory of Prof. Gary Sulikowski at Vanderbilt University.


Thorsten Thormann

Vice President - Research

Thorsten was appointed Senior Vice President of New Product Discovery, a business unit with more than 200 dedicated scientists and specialists at LEO Pharma in January 2013.

LEO Pharma

Rob Howes

Director of Discovery Biology & Discovery Sciences

Rob has been at AstraZeneca since 2016 where he leads the Discovery Biology department part of the Innovative Medicines organisation.


Alun McCarthy

VP Novel Target Biology and Genomics

Alun is currently VP Novel Target Biology and Genomics at C4X Discovery. He has over 35 years experience in pharmaceutical R&D, including drug discovery and genetics research.

C4X Discovery

Nikolaus Krall

Managing Director

Nikolaus Krall is a Vienna, Austria based biotech entrepreneur with a passion for translating cutting edge innovation from bench to bedside.

Allcyte GmbH

Jo Varshney

Founder & CEO

Dr. Varshney’s research and development expertise are diverse, and encompasses physiology and medicine (DVM), computational biology and machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI) (PhD).

VeriSIM Life

Lewis Vilder

Senior Research Scientist

Dr Lewis Vidler is a senior research scientist at Lilly.


​Javier Terriente


Javier is Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and co-founder at ZeClinics. He is an expert in zebrafish biology and the exploitation of this animal model for drug discovery purposes.


Lars Arvastson

Senior Specialist in Data Science

Lars Arvastson is Senior Specialist in Data Science at H. Lundbeck A/S.

H. Lundbeck A/S

Marcel Van Duin

VP Research Reproductive Medicine & Women’s Health

As Therapeutic Area Head Dr Marcel van Duin is from 2014 responsible for overseeing the global research activities covered by Ferring’s Reproductive Medicine & Women’s Health strategy.

Ferring Pharmaceuticals

Markus Muellner

Chief Technology Officer

Markus is a data scientist with a background functional genetic screening, engineering and bioinformatics and is leading the screening group and bioinformatics team at PhoreMost as their Chief Technology Officer.

PhoreMost Ltd

Oleg Fedorov

Group Head

Open Chemical Tools for Discovery and Validation of novel Drug Targets.

University of Oxford

Vivek K Vishnudas

Sr Vice President

In his role as Senior Vice President, Drug Discovery and amp; Platform Sciences, Vivek Vishnudas, Ph.D., oversees the development of experimental therapeutics from conception and drug discovery to first-in-human studies.

Berg LLC

Peter Hamley

Global Head, External Innovation, Drug Discovery Platforms

Experienced leader and manager in complex cross-functional R&D and BD organisations of top pharmacompanies


Morten Sogaard

Vice President & Head, Genome Sciences & Technologies, Worldwide R&D

Morten Sogaard, VP Target Sciences at Pfizer oversees genetics, functional genomics, computational biology and target validation group as well as “Innovative target exploration networks” to generate first in class targets from emerging science.


Paul Beswick

Director of UK Chemistry and IP

Paul Beswick is a Medicinal Chemist with over 30 years experience both in industry and university drug discovery groups.

Bicycle Therapeutics

Alan Whitmore

Head of Discovery Biology

Alan Whitmore is Head of Discovery Biology at e-Therapeutics PLC. He moved from academia into biotech 12 years ago and has worked in both drug delivery and drug discovery. 

e-Therapeutics PLC