Team

Management

Neil Goldsmith - CEO and Co-founder

British national, domiciled in Switzerland, born in 1963

Neil co-founded Evolva in 2004. He has been a member of the Board of Directors and CEO of Evolva SA since its foundation and of Evolva Holding SA since 2009. Neil has a 27-year entrepreneurial track record in building successful biotech companies. He was a co-founder of Topotarget A/S (listed in Copenhagen, merged with BioAlliance Pharma in 2014 to become Onxeo) and Personal Chemistry AB (now called Biotage AB, listed on the Stockholm exchange). Prior to that, he was Chief Executive Officer of Auda Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Phytera, Inc.), GX Biosystems and PNA Diagnostics (acquired by Boehringer Mannheim). Previously, he was Vice-President Business Development for Pharmacia Biosensor (later BIAcore AB) and a Board member of Quadrant Healthcare. He started his career in biotech at Scientific Generics in Cambridge, UK, after a short spell in consumer marketing. From 1981 to 1984, he attended Balliol College, University of Oxford, receiving a first class honours degree in Zoology, and is a graduate of the New Enterprise programme at the Scottish Enterprise Foundation, University of Stirling. Neil  is on the board of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (“BIO”) and its section “Industrial and Environmental”.

Jakob Dynnes Hansen - Chief Financial Officer

Danish national, domiciled in Switzerland, born in 1955.

Jakob has been the Chief Financial Officer of Evolva since September 2007. He has 25 years of experience in biotech/pharmaceuticals and financing. Prior to joining Evolva, he was CFO of Nuevolution A/S and before that Zealand Pharma A/S, where he led several financing rounds and major partnership agreements. Prior to Zealand Pharma, Jakob was Senior Vice-President, at Unibank (now Nordea), where he was involved in more than 50 corporate finance transactions. Prior to Unibank, he was Head of Market Research at Novo Nordisk and has worked for the United Nations (UNIDO) in Jakarta, Indonesia. Jakob holds an MSc in Economics from University of Copenhagen and an MBA from Insead.

Jørgen Hansen - Chief Scientific Officer

Danish national, born in 1962.

Jørgen joined in 2005 as Head of Research at Evolva Biotech A/S, the group’s Danish unit. He moved to the Chief Scientific Officer position in May 2013. Before joining Evolva, Jørgen held research and managerial positions in the biotech company Poalis A/S and at the Carlsberg Laboratory, where he also did his Ph.D. studies. In these companies, he gathered extensive knowledge and experience in the areas of small molecule biosynthesis, enzymatic glycosylation and yeast engineering. During his career, he has published more than 20 peer reviewed scientific papers and five book chapters and reviews. In addition, he holds multiple patents and patent applications. He has a Ph.D. in Yeast Genetics from the University of Copenhagen.

Luc Gruner - Sales & Marketing Officer

French national.

Luc was  appointed to the new position of Chief Sales & Marketing Officer in 2014. He joined Evolva in 2010 and has a broad background in sales/marketing, strategic planning and business development. He has been instrumental in acquiring and managing several of our partnering projects. During his career he has held senior sales and management positions in both biotechnology and specialty chemicals companies (including Bim Kemi, Hercules & WR Grace). Luc has a PhD in Physical Chemistry and an MBA from INSEAD.

Panchapagesa Murali - Managing Director & CEO, Evolva India

Indian national, born in 1961.

Murali has been the Chief Executive Officer of Evolva’s Indian subsidiary, since September 2006. He has over 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical & health care R&D, including management of more than ten clinical trials, in particular in respiratory diseases. Previously, he was Founder and Director (for 16 years) of Dalmia Centre for Research and Development, developing and launching natural product-based therapeutics, and Founder and Chairman of MLC & Netpeople group of IT & Telecom companies (networking solutions, banking security and communication services). He is a former Indo-US scientist at Battelle-Kettering, Ohio, and fellow of Unilever India. He received a PhD in Microbiology and Microbial Technology from Madurai Kamaraj University. Murali is the President of the Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises in India. He is on the Board of Dalmia Research and Development Limited and a member of the Governing Board of Dalmia Centre for Research and Development. He is Vice-President and Treasurer of the Indian Red Cross Society and chairperson of the Biotech panel of the Confederation of Indian Industrys Tamil Nadu and a member of the Vision Group of the Government of Karnataka.

Simon Waddington - Chief Operating Officer (Products)

British national, domiciled in San Francisco, California, born in 1964.

Simon is COO (Products) and CEO of Evolva Inc. He was previously President and CEO of Abunda which was acquired by Evolva in July 2011. He spent more than a decade as a venture capitalist. He was a managing partner at Poly-Technos Venture Partners, based in Munich, Germany, where he led and supported investments in numerous life science and advanced materials-related companies in Europe, Israel and the US. Prior to that, he started and ran Monsanto’s European corporate venturing activities from Brussels, Belgium, where he sourced and supported innovations across the medical, agricultural, nutrition, health care services and advanced materials sectors. Before that he was Product Development Manager for Zeneca’s biopolymers business, which pioneered the fermentation-based production of bio-degradable polymers from renewable feedstocks. Prior to that, he served as a Senior Research Scientist for ICI specialising in surface and interface science. Simon earned his PhD in Physics from Liverpool University and his MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Pascal Longchamp - Chief Business Officer

Swiss national, born in 1962.

Pascal was appointed the Company’s Chief Business Officer in 2010. Prior to that, he was Vice-President Business Development since March 2005. Pascal has spent over 15 years in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, covering R&D, Management and Business Development positions on the West Coast (USA) and in Switzerland. Previously, he was the Director of Business Development at Phyllom (2003), and a part of Maxygen’s successful IPO. At Maxygen, he was in charge of two corporate alliances and promotion of its gene shuffling platform technology to third parties. At Phistem, Maxygen and Phyllom, Pascal was responsible for corporate development, strategic alliances, in- and out-licensing, leading international research collaboration and US government contract with the Department of Defense. He has a PhD in Genetics and Microbiology from the University of Lausanne, followed by postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley in Molecular Biology and at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Biodefence. He has an MBA from HEC Business School, Lausanne.

Board

Tom McKillop - Board

British national, born in Scotland in 1943.

Tom has been a member of the Board of Directors since June 2010 and its Chairman since May 2012. Tom was educated at Irvine Royal Academy, Glasgow University (where he took a BSc Hons and PhD in Chemistry), and Centre de mecanique ondulatoire appliquee (Paris). He had a long and successful career at ICI, where he held a number of increasingly senior R&D positions until his appointment in 1989 as Technical Director and Deputy Chairman of ICI Pharmaceuticals, a role in which he had global responsibility for research, development, medical and production. In 1994, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Zeneca Pharmaceuticals – Zeneca having demerged from ICI in 1993 – and, on completion of the merger of Astra and Zeneca in April 1999, he became Chief Executive of AstraZeneca plc, a position he held until retiring on 31 December 2005. He was President of the Science Council in the UK 2007-2011 and is currently a non-executive director of Alere Inc, Almirall SA, UCB SA and Theravectys SAS. During his career he has received many scholarly awards and fellowships and was knighted in 2002 for services to the pharmaceutical industry.

Claus Braestrup - Board

Danish national, born in 1945.

Claus has been a member of the Board of Directors since June 2010 and its Vice-Chairman since May 2012. He holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering and an MSc in Biochemistry. He is Doctor of Medical Science and former Adjunct Professor in Neuroscience at the University of Copenhagen. He started his career in research and consultancy positions. He then moved to Novo Nordisk A/S, where he served as Vice-President of Pharmaceutical Research, President of the CNS Division and President of the Diabetes Care Division. He subsequently took the post of Head of Preclinical Drug Research at Schering AG, before joining H. Lundbeck A/S as Executive Vice-President, Research and Development. From 2003 to 2008 Claus was President and CEO of H. Lundbeck A/S. Claus is member of the Board of Bavarian Nordic A/S, Santaris Pharma A/S, Probiodrug AG (chair) Gyros AB and Aniona (chair).

Martin Gertsch - Board

Born 1965, Swiss nationality.

Martin has been a member of the Board of Directors since May 2012. He is an experienced Board member and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in the life science industry. His most recent position was CFO of Acino Pharma AG, from which he stepped down in January 2014 after the acquisition by two private equity firms Avista Capital and Nordic Capital. He is former Vice-President Head of Finance EMEA at DePuySynthes and former Chief Financial and Chief Operating Officer of Delenex Therapeutics and ESBATech, two privately held biotech companies. From 2002 to the beginning of 2006, he was Chief Financial Officer of Straumann, which he had joined in 1997 as head of group controlling and reporting. Between 1986 and 1997, Martin was an audit engagement manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Basel, Switzerland. He is a Swiss certified fiduciary and Swiss certified public accountant. He has also completed several executive-level development programmes at IMD (International Institute for Management Development) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Martin is Chairman of the Board of Santhera Pharmaceuticals.

Neil Goldsmith - Board

British national, domiciled in Switzerland, born in 1963

Neil co-founded Evolva in 2004. He has been a member of the Board of Directors and CEO of Evolva SA since its foundation and of Evolva Holding SA since 2009. He has a 27-year entrepreneurial track record in building successful biotech companies. He was a co-founder of Topotarget A/S (listed in Copenhagen, merged with BioAlliance Pharma in 2014 to become Onxeo) and Personal Chemistry AB (now called Biotage AB, listed on the Stockholm exchange). Prior to that, Neil was Chief Executive Officer of Auda Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Phytera, Inc.), GX Biosystems and PNA Diagnostics (acquired by Boehringer Mannheim). Previously, he was Vice-President Business Development for Pharmacia Biosensor (later BIAcore AB) and a Board member of Quadrant Healthcare. Neil started his career in biotech at Scientific Generics in Cambridge, UK, after a short spell in consumer marketing. From 1981 to 1984, he attended Balliol College, University of Oxford, receiving a first class honours degree in Zoology, and is a graduate of the New Enterprise programme at the Scottish Enterprise Foundation, University of Stirling. He is on the board of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (“BIO”) and its section “Industrial and Environmental”.

Jutta Heim - Board

German national, born in 1951.

Jutta worked for more than 20 years at Ciba-Geigy/Novartis (CH and US). At Novartis, she was involved in the successful development and launch of anti-thrombotic and fibrinolytic products. She established Novartis’ molecular genetics department in oncology, became Novartis’ Senior Scientific Expert in Molecular Biology and a member of the Research Management Board. She completed her career at Novartis heading the Novartis Lead Discovery Center with worldwide responsibility. From 2004 to 2009, Jutta served as CSO at Basilea Pharmaceutica Ltd., a Swiss biopharmaceutical company focusing on anti-infectives, inflammation and oncology. From 2009 to 2013, she served as CTO and CSO at Evolva. She received a PhD from the University of Tübingen in 1981 and holds a professorship in Biotechnology at the Biocenter of the University of Basel. Jutta is a member of the advisory board of ‘‘Stiftung für Wissenschaftliche Forschung Universität Zürich’’ and serves on the board of Nuevolution A/S.

Ganesh Kishore - Board

US national, born in 1953.

Kish has been a member of the Board of Directors since May 2011. He received his PhD in biochemistry from the Indian Institute of Science after which he pursued postdoctoral research in chemistry and biology at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1980, he joined Monsanto where he held senior positions in the areas of biotechnology and in the Nutrition and Consumer Products division. During his tenure at Monsanto he was involved in the development of major products such as Aspartame (the active ingredient of several major sweetener products) as well as a key agricultural crop protection technology. Kish joined DuPont in 2002 as the Chief Technology Officer for its Agriculture and Nutrition Platform and took over the role of Chief Biotechnology Officer for the company in 2005. He is currently CEO of MLSCF (Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund), which is a shareholder in Evolva. His other Board mandates include Advanta, Kaiima, Gevo,  Glori Energy, Sentinext, Mogene and Akermin. He is on the board of several academic institutions.

Stuart Strathdee - Board

British national, born in 1951.

Stuart has been a member of the Board since May 2011. Having completed his PhD in Applied Physics, he joined Tate & Lyle plc in 1977 as a management trainee. He retired from the company in July 2009, having served on the main Board as an Executive Director in various roles for 14 years. During his time at Tate & Lyle, Stuart held a variety of senior management positions including Group Treasurer, Managing Director of both United Molasses and Tate & Lyle’s International Division and was Corporate Development Director reporting to the Chief Executive Officer from July 2003. Leadership highlights include: the development of Tate & Lyle’s sucralose ingredient business; creation of Vietnam’s leading sugar business; the public takeover of Australia’s largest sugar farming company; creation of a joint venture to construct the Middle East’s largest sugar refinery; the acquisition of publicly listed Zambia Sugar Company, now Africa’s leading sugar milling company. Stuart has a PhD in Atomic and Molecular Physics from Queens University Belfast. He is a member of the Board of James Finlay Ltd.

Thomas Videbaek - Board

Born 1960, Danish nationality.

Thomas has been a member of the Board of Directors since May 2012. He has been a member of the Novozymes Executive Management Group since September 2007, currently responsible for corporate business development. Thomas joined Novo Nordisk as a chemist in 1988 and worked in various positions in the Textiles and Starch divisions, both in Denmark and in the US. In 1996, he assumed responsibility for Food and Feed enzymes and was appointed Director for Strategic Marketing, Food and Feed enzymes. At the end of 1998, Thomas was appointed General Manager for Novozymes Switzerland and also Vice-President for Cereal Food and Beverage Marketing. He returned to Denmark in 2003 and became Vice-President for Supply Chain Operations where he was responsible for establishing a global organisation in charge of the supply chain at Novozymes. Thomas holds a Master of Chemical Engineering from DTU, Dept. of Nutrition and Biochemistry, Copenhagen 1986, and a PhD from DTU in 1990. He also holds a BCom (International Business) from the Copenhagen Business School (1992).

Scientific Advisors

Birger Lindberg Møller - Scientific Advisor

Plant Biochemistry, University of Copenhagen; Director, Carlsberg Laboratory.

He holds a Ph.D. and a D.Sc. from University of Copenhagen (UCPH). He is Head of the VILLUM research center “Plant Plasticity” and of the synthetic biology center “bioSYNergy” funded by the UCPH Excellence Program for Interdisciplinary Research. He was a founder of the biotech company Poalis A/S which was subsequently acquired by Evolva A/S. His research interests are elucidation of the biosynthesis and function of bio-active natural products in plants with focus on cyanogenic glucosides, vanillin and terpenoids. Reactions catalyzed by cytochrome P450 enzymes are of special interest. Synthetic biology approaches have been used to build a platform for light driven synthesis of high value terpenoids.

Jay Keasling - Scientific Advisor

Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and the Department of Bioengineering, University of California-Berkeley.

He is a Senior Faculty Scientist and Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Chief Executive Officer of the Joint BioEnergy Institute. The Keasling group is perhaps best known for its contributions to the development of a synthetic biology technique for producing the anti-malaria treatment artemisinin in yeast. Jay Keasling is co-founder of a number of startups in this space, including Amyris (NASDAQ: AMRS), one of the most recognised names in commercial synthetic biology.

Jörg Bohlmann - Scientific Advisor

Professor and Distinguished University Scholar at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

He is a professor at UBC in the Michael Smith Laboratories, the Department of Botany, the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, Associate in the UBC Wine Research Centre, co-Director of the UBC Genome Sciences and Technology (GSAT) Graduate Program, and has been a Project Leader of five large-scale, Genome Canada-funded genomics projects in plant genomics and synthetic biology. The Bohlmann lab (www.michaelsmith.ubc.ca/faculty/bohlmann/) is internationally recognized for its program in plant genomics and terpenoid secondary metabolism.

Karl-Heinz Altmann - Scientific Advisor

ETH Zürich.

Prof. Karl-Heinz Altmann studied chemistry at the University of Mainz, Germany, and he holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Basel, Switzerland. Since 2003 he is Full Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, Switzerland. Before 2003, he had spent 13 years in drug discovery research at Novartis Pharma, where he was the Senior Scientific Expert for Chemistry (2000- 2002) and the acting Global Head of Discovery Chemistry (2003). Prof. Altmann’s research interests are at the interface between chemistry and biology, with a particular focus on the chemical synthesis of biologically active natural products and their synthetic and semi-synthetic analogs.

Karsten Kristiansen - Scientific Advisor

Head of Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen.

Karsten Kristiansen is Professor of Molecular Biology and Head of the Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen. He was previously Professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark, where he was head of department from 1992 to 2005. He was a co-founder of BioLigands ApS and served as CEO from 2002-2007. After graduation from the University of Copenhagen, he held postdoctoral positions at the Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Genetik in Berlin and at the Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, Fondation Edmond de Rothschild, in Paris. He is member of the Danish Academy of Natural Sciences and visiting professor at the Beijing Genomics Institute. His research focuses on regulation of gene expression and cellular differentiation with particular emphasis on lipid signalling and the effects of natural compounds.

Vincent Martin - Scientific Advisor

Canada Research Chair in Microbial Genomics and Engineering, Professor in the Department of Biology, and Co-Director of the Centre for Applied Synthetic Biology, Concordia University.

Vincent Martin is a Professor in the Department of Biology at Concordia University and holds the Canada Research Chair in Microbial Genomics and Engineering. He is a co-founder of Amyris Inc as well as a co-founder and co-director of the Concordia Centre for Applied Synthetic Biology. From 2009 to 2014, professor Martin co-lead the Genome Canada PhytoMetaSyn project aimed at developing synthetic biosystems for the production of high-value plant metabolites. His research interests focus on the combined power of genomics and metabolic engineering for the biological synthesis of industrial chemicals and natural products. He holds a BSc and PhD in Microbiology from McGill University and the University of British Columbia, respectively.

  • right first  image

    One of our many Evolva craft beer brewers took top prize this year with an India Pale Ale called Phenomenale.

    PhenomenAle
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    The European Commission supports European researchers with grants across Europe. One of the places they get training is Evolva.

    European Commission
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    We are proud to be based in Switzerland. Find out the Swiss news - from the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation.

    swissinfo

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