Our Team

Meet Our Team

Our expertise, curiosity and drive to deliver tangible results set us apart. Our dedicated team of scientists have decades of experience in drug development; we have a focus on the science and a thirst for the solution.

We are a group of motivated immunologists committed to delivering the power of cytokines to patients. We are driven by the urgency of patients’ needs combined with our curiosity and desire for knowledge. We work along converging tracks and leverage our lean structure to develop novel treatments that will save lives.

Executive Team

Anaveon Team

Andreas KATOPODIS
Co-Founder and CEO

Andreas was a Director in the Autoimmunity, Transplantation & Inflammation group at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. In this position, he was involved in many aspects of early to late drug development for immune-mediated diseases, taking several modalities to clinical trial and late stage development. He also supported multiple deals with startups. Prior to this, he worked at the Central Research Laboratories at Ciba Geigy, doing research on immune cell trafficking. Andreas studied Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and started his career as a faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Christoph BUCHER
Chief Medical Officer

Christoph joined Anaveon from Roche pRED Immunology, where he led the transition to the late-stage development of Crovalimab, a complement C5 inhibitor. Before that, Christoph was at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, where he led programs in the stem cell transplant and complement system spaces and conducted trials in cell therapy. He obtained his medical degree and training in stem cell transplantation and internal medicine in Basel, and he completed his postdoc in the immunobiology of graft versus host and graft versus leukemia effects in Bruce Blazar’s group at the University of Minnesota. Christoph continues to practice hematology part-time at the University Hospital Basel.

Christoph HUBER
Chief Scientific Officer

Christoph has over 10 years of experience in drug discovery and preclinical development in the areas of cancer immunotherapy and cancer vaccines, inflammation and asthma, and immuno-safety. Before joining Anaveon, he held leadership positions at Roche, Pfizer and COI Pharmaceuticals. Christoph obtained his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Zurich and did his postdoctoral training in B cell immunology and innate immune receptor signaling at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

Gary PHILLIPS
Chief Business Officer

Dr. Gary Phillips was named Chief Business Officer of Anaveon in May 2022. Dr. Phillips has three decades of experience across healthcare. He was President & CEO of OrphoMed from 2018 to 2022. Before OrphoMed, Dr. Phillips worked at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, where he was EVP & Chief Strategy Officer as well as President, Autoimmune & Rare Diseases. He was the Head of Global Health & Healthcare at the World Economic Forum. He served in senior executive roles at Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, Bausch & Lomb, Merck Serono, Novartis, and Wyeth. He earned a BA in Biochemistry summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Arts & Sciences, an MBA from its Wharton School, and an MD Alpha Omega Alpha from its School of Medicine. Dr. Phillips practiced as a U.S. Navy general medical officer. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Nanobiotix as well as a Director on the Boards of Aldeyra Therapeutics and Rheon Medical SA.

Alexander RAU
Scientist Protein Engineering

Since 2016, Alexander has been working in the field of cancer cell biology and antibody engineering, always in focus of developing new therapeutic approaches to overcome resistance mechanisms. Before starting at Anaveon in June 2022 he worked in a mid-size biotech company with a focus on the generation of antibody therapeutics in the field of immuno-oncology. In academia, he worked in close collaboration with different academic partners and research organizations. His principle scope of expertise is the development of bispecific antibodies, ranging from early screening of binders derived from phage display, immune NGS and immune library outputs, rational design, cloning, production and purification, biochemical and biophysical characterization, and their analyzes in vitro and in vivo.

Arkadi KHAIT
Head of Finance

Arkadi is a dynamic, self-motivated professional with over 14 years of proven track record in consulting and finance top roles in international groups such as AUTONEUM and KOSTAL. He has extensive experience in Accounting/Controlling/Reporting, international Tax and Treasury and a high degree of transformational leadership skills in intercultural and international environments. He is experienced in building and adapting overall structures and organizations, implementing best practices and high performing teams. Arkadi holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Bielefeld in Germany.

Aswathy NAIR
Clinical Trial Associate

Acting as Clinical Trial Associate, Aswathy joined Anaveon in November 2021 after a successful internship and brings over 10 years of experience in the field of molecular diagnostics, cancer cytogenetics and cancer immunotherapy. Prior to Anaveon, Aswathy worked as a Senior Research Associate in the pharmacology group of Roche Innovation Centre, Zurich. She started her career as a cytogeneticist in a biotechnology company in Mumbai, India. Aswathy holds a master’s degree in biotechnology from Bharathiyar University, India.

Claudia SCHUSTERBAUER
Medical Director

Claudia joined Anaveon from Celgene/BMS in Neuchâtel, where she led, in Europe and Japan, a multicohort, registrational trial evaluating liso-cel, a CD19 directed CAR-T cell therapy in B cell lymphoma with successful submission and recent approval granted across regions. Claudia moved from clinic to industry in 2011, at Takeda then Debiopharm in Lausanne. She has 10+ years pharma experience, conducting global clinical trials in early and late-stage solid tumors and hemato-oncology. She obtained her medical degree and oncology board certification in Lausanne after completion of her doctoral thesis in the immunobiology of fibrosis at the University of Geneva.

Christine WURZ
Senior Quality Assurance Director

Christine has more than 40 years of experience in QA, QM and QC. She spent over 25 years at Roche Pharma/Vitamins with microbiological/pre-clinical analytics. She built up the GLP Test Facility, the ISO QM framework and computerized systems validations (CSV). As Head of Quality Management at Livec, she worked for several pharma companies worldwide. At Actelion she implemented QM to qualify the IT infrastructure and services hosting GXP validated systems, and therefore she supported all GXP businesses as Global IT Quality Manager. In the leadership of a biotech startup, she recovered the studies from potential clinical hold, assured the GCP re-inspection without critical findings, and elevated the company to a state of the art GXP level.

Christian STOCKER
Scientist Protein Engineering

Christian joined Anaveon in March 2022 after his PhD in biochemistry at ETH Zurich. During his doctoral studies, he performed in-depth characterization of novel exported bifunctional fusion enzymes and in vivo selections of cyclic peptide libraries for protein-protein interaction inhibition by directed evolution. Before that, Christian has worked in the Protein Engineering Group at ESBATech, a Novartis Company, where he was responsible for the affinity maturation of scFv antibodies using phage display and the generation of bi-valent and bi-specific variants.

Daniela DI BLASI
Clinical Scientist

Daniela joined Anaveon in February 2022, bringing more than ten years of clinical research experience in cancer immunology, autoimmunity, and allergy to the Anaveon Team. She previously worked as a Senior Scientist in Biomarker Discovery at Scailyte in Basel and as a Clinical Research Scientist at Sanquin in Amsterdam, where she was involved in early phase clinical trials. Daniela received her PhD in immunology from the University of Palermo in Italy, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in cancer immunology at the University Hospital of Basel.

Delphine PARMENTIER
Clinical Trial Associate

Delphine joined Anaveon in July 2022 as Clinical Trial Associate. Over the past 6 years, she worked as Clinical Data Manager and Data Team Lead within CROs, as well as eCOA and IT services providers. As such, she gained significant operational experience in Data Management, spanning the full duration of studies from start up to database lock. She worked on various multinational projects from phase I to phase IV and within multiple therapeutic areas with Oncology and Dermatology as outliers. Delphine has a scientific background and holds a PhD degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Strasbourg.

Jana KOVACIKOVA
Clinical Trial Manager

Jana joined Anaveon in April 2022. She spent the last 8 years at Novartis in the positions of Medical Advisor Oncology and Clinical Study Manager. As Clinical Study Manager, she was conducting phase I – III clinical studies in different oncology indications. Prior to Novartis, she worked as a Clinical Research Associate at AstraZeneca. Jana is a pharmacist and holds a PhD degree in physiology from the University of Zurich.

Julie MOUTON
Clinical Trial Manager

Julie joined Anaveon in October 2021 as Clinical Trial Manager. Over the past 7 years, she has worked as project manager conducting global phase I to phase III clinical trials in a wide range of therapeutic areas, in biotechnology and large pharmaceutical companies located in France, Switzerland, and USA. Julie graduated from the faculty of pharmacy of Lille (France) with a PharmD and holds a master’s degree in project management and Clinical Operations.

Kirsten RICHTER
Laboratory Head

Our Laboratory Head Kirsten joined Anaveon in June 2021, from Roche pRED where she led preclinical drug discovery projects using locked nucleic acids, small or large molecules to modulate the immune response in the fields of antibiotics, virology, and autoimmunity. Before that, Kirsten was Oberassistentin/senior scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich focusing on the immune response in chronic viral infection. She obtained her PhD in Freiburg, Germany. Kirsten has broad immunology expertise and especially likes T cells.

Laetitia PETERSEN
Senior Scientist

Laetitia started her carrier in 1999 in academic research at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, and later at the Institute for Immunology of the LMU in Munich, working on DC and B cells fundamental research with transgenic mice. She joined Micromet (acquired by Amgen) to take part of the development on Bi-Specific T cell engager (BITE) technology and gained experience in toxicology studies. Laetitia spent the last 13 years at Roche, developing in vitro immunosafety assays, investigating the immunogenicity and pharmacodynamic properties of new bi-specific monoclonal antibodies in mice. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Biotechnologies from Lyon Catholic University, France.

Nicole EGLI
Senior Scientist

Nicole joined the Anaveon team in October 2020, bringing with her more than ten years’ experience in pharmaceutical research. Previous to Anaveon, she held a position as Senior Scientist at Novartis, where she gained expertise in various aspects of drug discovery research. She was involved in several preclinical and early clinical projects, mainly in the field of autoimmunity, transplantation and inflammation. Nicole holds a Master’s degree in Biology from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.

Patrizia MURER
Associate Laboratory Head

Patrizia joined Anaveon after obtaining her PhD degree from ETH Zürich. Her doctoral thesis focused on the generation of novel tumor-specific antibodies and antibody-fusion proteins for the immunotherapy of various cancer types. Before that, Patrizia spent one year at UCSF in the USA as a Junior Scientist, studying the antitumoral effects of oncolytic viruses in combination with immunecheckpoint inhibitors. She holds a Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences and a Swiss federal diploma as Pharmacist.

Pia NEUBERT
Associate Scientist

Pia joined Anaveon in March 2022 to start her career as an Associate Scientist, after successfully finishing her graduate studies at the University Lausanne in Medical Biology with a major in Immunology and Cancer.
Driven by her passion for science, she additionally gained a lot of fundamental research experience in laboratories focusing on Immunoncology and Oncology research at the University of Oxford (UK) as well as the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Lausanne during her undergraduate and graduate studies.

Pius GUTZWILLER
I.T. Manager

As a digital native, Pius is happy to use his influence to ensure that Anaveon remains modern, digital and open to cooperation with third parties. Pius previously worked on research and development in energy harvesting technologies and wireless communication at the Institute of Embedded Systems in Winterthur. He then held positions in which he was responsible for technology or was project manager of digitalization projects for various Swiss food companies. In addition to his part-time employment with Anaveon, Pius is currently working as an application developer.

Reem BAZZOUI
Executive Assistant

With 20 plus years of financial consolidation, project management and training experience, and as much time in the pharmaceutical / chemical industries and with a BSBA in Finance and International Business, Reem looks forward to making good use of her experience to help organize and facilitate good administrative solutions for the Anaveon management and team as an Executive Assistant.

 

Sangeeta JETHWA
Medical Director

Sangeeta is passionate about making a difference and brings more than 20 years of leadership in clinical, medical and drug development roles across the lifecycle in Oncology, Rare Diseases and Neuroscience. Most recently, she was part of the management team founding a start-up biotech with a gene therapy in a pediatric rare disease. She spent 14 years at Roche in global roles, including late-stage medical lead for Avastin in Renal Cell Carcinoma and Glioblastoma and built a new R&D organization to partner with Patient Organisations in Rare Disease drug development. Sangeeta is an Anesthetist and Intensive Care Physician and holds a research post at the University Basel Children’s Hospital.

Silvio COSTANZO
Head of Clinical Operations

With more than 12 years of clinical operations experience, Silvio joined the Anaveon team in April 2021 as Clinical Trial Leader. Previously, he had the opportunity to work for large pharmaceutical companies but also as consultant acting as project manager supporting mainly small and mid-sized biotechnology companies across Europe. Through his involvement in several early immunology and cell therapy drugs development clinical studies, Silvio has decided to continue learning and boosting his clinical research knowledge through post-graduate education programmes.

Simone WYSS
Clinical Team Coordinator

As a pharmaceutical assistant and nurse, Simone brings a broad and long-standing experience in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector. She spent over 12 years at Roche Pharma within Marketing and QA as a personal Assistant to the Head of Department as well as 10 years of executive support to the Head of Diagnostic Hematology and the medical team at the University Hospital in Basel. Simone is passionate about patient care and coordinates the activities of Anaveon’s expanding clinical development team.

Stephanie FERNANDO
Head of Corporate Affairs & HR

Stephanie joined the Anaveon team from a Swiss clinical stage oncology start up, where she was the Head of Corporate Affairs & Human Resources. Previously, she held management positions with increasing responsibilities in investment advisory, strategy development and sales & marketing. She has experience across various industries and geographic regions and is passionate about entrepreneurship and organizational development. Stephanie holds an MBA from IE Business School, Madrid.