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Neil J. Gallagher

Vice President and Head of Global Oncology Development

Neil Gallagher joined AbbVie in 2017 as Vice President and Head of Global Oncology Development. A gynecological oncologist by training with more than fifteen years’ experience focusing on oncology drug development across all phases of development at several companies including: AstraZeneca, Astex Therapeutics, Novartis and Amgen. In his current role, he oversees the Hematology and Oncology Therapeutic Areas, Co-Chairs the Oncology TASC and is a member of the Development Leadership Team.


Christian Buchholz

Head of Molecular Biotechnology and Gene Therapy

Christian Buchholz studied microbiology in Munich and started his scientific career at the Max-Planck-Institut for Biochemistry where he obtained his PhD in the Department for Virology in 1993. He performed postdoctoral studies at the Institute for Molecular Biology of the University of Zurich and the Centre for Protein Engineering at the MRC in Cambridge, UK. Since 1999 he heads the Section of Molecular Biotechnology and Gene Therapy at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut and became Associate Professor for Biochemistry at the Goethe-University in Frankfurt in 2007. His research interests focus on the engineering of the surface of viral vectors to understand the molecular events during viral cell entry and to improve their applicability in modern molecular medicine. Recently, his team succeeded in engineering receptor-targeted lentiviral and AAV vectors. These vectors are modified in their receptor usage being unable to employ their natural receptor but instead use a cell surface molecule of interest for cell entry. They offer great potential for applications in drug delivery.

Thomas Hoeger

Chief Executive Officer


Thomas Hoeger has been Chief Executive Officer of Apogenix since November 2005. Previously, he worked as a biotech analyst for DZ Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, for five years. From 1997 to 2000, he headed the 'Central Nervous System' research at BASF AG and Knoll AG. During the previous six years, he held various research and management positions at BASF AG.

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Joern-Peter Halle

Senior Vice President, Head Translational Innovation Platform Immuno-Oncology and Head External Innovation Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Peter Halle is leading the Translational Innovation Platform Immuno-Oncology with global responsibility for the research, discovery, and translational aspects of Merck KGaA’s IO portfolio. As the global head for External Innovation he oversees the search & evaluation of external opportunities in all therapeutic areas ranging from academic collaborations to clinical assets. He is also a member of the investment committee of Merck Venture, Merck KGaA’s corporate VC. Prior to joining Merck KGaA, he co-founded a biotech company focusing on R&D in dermatology where he was responsible for IP, bioinformatics, and technology development and served as a Chief Business Officer.

Dirk Jaeger

Director Medical Oncology National Center for Tumor Diseases University Medical Center Heidelberg
Dirk Jaeger began his scientific career at Cancer Research Institute, New York at the Department of Pathology, Cornell Medical Center, New York, and the Ludwig Institute, New York Branch (1998-2000). Subsequently, he joined the Department of Hematology/Oncology, Krankenhaus Nordwest, Frankfurt as head of the Research Group `Tumor antigen identification and characterization´(2001-2003). He moved on to the University Hospital Zurich, as PI of the Laboratory for Tumor Immunology at the Oncology Department (2003-2005). Since 2005 until today he works at the NCT in Heidelberg.

Rienk Offringa

Head of Molecular Oncology of Gastrointestinal Tumors and DKFZ-Bayer Immunotherapeutics Laboratory, DKFZ
Prof. Dr. Rienk Offringa started off as a molecular biologist, studying gene regulation in cancer, but when he witnessed the power of T-cell therapy in pre-clinical mouse models, he decided to focus his post-doctoral career on cancer immunotherapy. After a post doc at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Dr. Offringa went back to his ‘alma mater’ in Leiden, The Netherlands, to head the Tumor Immunology Laboratory at Leiden University Medical Center. Subsequently, he worked at Genentech Inc. in San Francisco, where he focused on the development of immunotherapeutic drugs. After 4 years in Industry (in 2011), Dr. Offringa moved back to academia and back to Europe, by accepting a full professorship at University Hospital Heidelberg and DKFZ. He is currently running two labs, one focusing on pancreatic cancer and cancer immunotherapy, and a second dedicated to the development of cancer immunotherapy drugs, co-funded by DKFZ and Bayer Healthcare.

Luciano Rossetti

Luciano Rossetti

Executive Vice President, Global Head of Research & Development and a member of the Healthcare Executive Committee at Merck KGaA
As Global Head of R&D, Rossetti leads the strategy for Merck’s discovery and development efforts in Healthcare. He joined Merck in July, 2014, and has since led the acceleration of several key programs through the pipeline, with two FDA approvals for the company’s immune-checkpoint inhibitor BAVENCIO® (avelumab (anti-PDL1)) in Merkel cell carcinoma and urothelial carcinoma, as well as marketing authorization in Europe for MAVENCLAD™ (Cladribine Tablets) in multiple sclerosis. He has also advanced the innovation of Merck’s discovery teams into development, including anti-PDL1-TGFbeta-trap and BTK inhibitor. Under his leadership, Merck Healthcare R&D has been transformed, with significant potential to deliver the scientific, clinical, regulatory and medical excellence of its teams to patients in need. Before joining Merck, Rossetti served as Senior Vice President, responsible for Global Scientific Strategy and Late Stage Development at Merck Sharp & Dohme, or MSD. In the latter position, he was responsible for clinical development from Phase II to Phase V across all therapeutic areas. Prior to joining MSD in 2006, Rossetti spent 18 years in academia during which he had considerable involvement with the pharmaceutical industry in both discovery and development. In his latest assignment, he was Professor of Medicine and led the Diabetes Research & Training Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  Rossetti has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific journals. He is a Post-Doctoral Fellow of Rome University Medical School and of Yale University Medical School. He holds a Doctorate in Medicine from the Trieste University Medical School, Italy.


Ugur Sahin

Managing Director, Science and Research; TRON – Translational Oncology at the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz gGmbH
Prof. Sahin is a medical doctor, immunologist and translational researcher with long-standing expertise in managing projects at the public-private interface. A pioneer in cancer target discovery using high throughput immunological methods and bioinformatics approaches, Prof. Sahin holds more than 70 independent patent applications covering novel cancer biomarkers and targeted therapeutics platforms. His key focus is solving deeply rooted challenges in the multifaceted process of translating innovation from bench to bedside, an interest that was originally prompted by his experiences as a physician. Prof. Sahin’s publications have more than 8000 citations and he is the recipient of prestigious awards from the German Hemato-Oncology Association, German Association for Immunology, German Ministry of Education and Research and American Society of Clinical Oncology. Prof. Sahin is the founding director of the translational research institute TRON.

Julia Schaft

Project Manager
BioRN Cluster

Julia Schaft joined BioRN in 2016 as a project manager for international R&D and translational initiatives in the life sciences sector. In addition she is taking on BioRN strategic business development and partnering responsibilities. Previously, she performed scientific research and covered leadership responsibilities in scientific project management at Genea Ltd in Sydney Australia. She completed her PhD in molecular and developmental biology at the University of Giessen and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg (Germany) in 2002.

Andrea Schilz

Business Development Manager
BioNTech Innovative Manufacturing Services GmbH

Andrea Schilz has 20 years of experience in the biotechnology and healthcare industry, both in management positions as well as consultancy. At present, she holds the position of Business Development Manager at BioNTech Innovative Manufacuring Services (BioNTech IMFS) in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. During her career, Andrea served in various leadership and management positions – in R&D, product development, project management and GMP-manufacturing – mostly with an emphasis on advanced cell and gene therapy products such as viral vectors, cellular products and mRNA. As consultant in an international consulting company as well as freelancer, she advised start-up biotech companies, academic institutions, as well as public-private-partnerships (PPPs) in strategic and operational aspects. For several years, she managed one of the leading-edge lifescience clusters in Germany.

Gerty Schreibelt

Senior Scientist, Tumor Immunology Radboud University
After obtaining her PhD, Gerty Schreibelt joined the department of Tumor Immunology in Nijmegen, where she studies the use of dendritic cells as anti-cancer vaccines. Her research primarily focuses on human natural circulating DC subsets, to understand the functional properties of these dendritic cells and to establish their value for clinical vaccination of cancer. She is highly involved in clinical trials with dendritic cell vaccination of cancer, to translate findings from preclinical studies into new immunological approaches for treatment of cancer patients.

Martin Treder

Chief Scientific Officer, Affimed

Martin Treder joined Affimed’s Management Team in 2015 as Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Treder has more than 15 years of professional experience in the field of biotherapeutics research and development and broad experience in immuno-oncology discovery and pre-clinical development of antibodies. Before joining Affimed, he co-founded CT Atlantic AG, a Swiss biotechnology company focused on the identification and development of human-derived monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of cancer.