Khalid Islam, PhD


Dr. Islam served as chairman and CEO of Gentium S.p.A. (a Nasdaq-listed company; 2009-2014) where he led the transition of the loss-making company to cash-flow positive and profitable. Under his leadership Defitelio (defibrotide) was granted marketing authorization in the EU and the company’s value increased from $25m to $1billion in a cash merger with Jazz Pharmaceuticals, plc. From 1999-2008, he was president and CEO of Arpida AG where he transitioned the early-stage start-up to a SWX-listed company and raised $300M in the IPO and follow-ons. From 1987-1999, he held various positions in HMR & MMD (now Sanofi-Aventis). From 1977-1987, he worked in academia at Imperial College (University of London) and at Milan University, where he was a contract professor. Dr. Islam is a graduate of Chelsea College and received his PhD from Imperial College, University of London. He holds several patents and has published over 85 articles in leading journals. He is also on the editorial board of Current Drug Discovery and Technologies. Dr. Islam is currently the chairman of Fennec (FRX.TO; North Carolina) and a member of the board of directors at Karolinska Development (KDEV.ST; Stockholm), Molmed (MLM.MI; Milan), and OxThera (Stockholm). He has previously been a member of the board of directors at Arpida AG (Basel and DC), Rheoscience AS (Copenhagen), PCovery AS (Copenhagen), Adenium AS (Copenhagen) and C10 Pharma AS (Oslo).

Claude Nicaise, MD


Dr Claude Nicaise is an established leader in clinical drug development and worldwide regulatory strategy with more than 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. After graduating in medicine from the Université Libre de Bruxelles he began working for Bristol-Myers Squibb becoming Director of Clinical Cancer Research; Executive Director of Infectious Diseases Clinical Research; Vice-President Worldwide Regulatory Science and Strategy Oncology, Infectious Disease and NeuroScience. During his tenure with BMS, Dr. Nicaise led the development and worldwide registration of compounds such as etoposide, ifosfamide, videx, reyatase, cefepime, tequin, abilify, Erbitux and dasatinib. Subsequently, he joined Alexion as Senior Vice President of Strategic development and Global Regulatory Affair in where he had a leadership role in completing the worldwide registration of Soliris and implementing its life-cycle management. Dr Nicaise has authored over a hundred papers in peer-reviewed journals or abstracts at international meetings, and is a member of a number of professional societies. Currently, Dr. Nicaise is board member at Sarepta Therapeutics.

Laia Crespo, PhD MBA

Investment director, Ysios Capital

Laia is Investment Director in Ysios Capital. She has been Board Observer at AM-Pharma and currently serves on the board of Inbiomotion and OxThera. Prior to joining Ysios she assessed commercial and scientific licensing-in opportunities as part of the European New Business Development team of Janssen-Cilag, a pharmaceutical company of the Johnson & Johnson group. Laia developed her professional career primarily in the biotechnology cluster of Cambridge, UK, in companies such as Spirogen (now AstraZeneca), Medivir and UCB-Celltech. She holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Barcelona and an MBA from Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

Carlos Esteban, PhD MBA

Caixa Capital Risc

Carlos has a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Valencia (Spain) and an MBA from Imperial College Business School (UK). He was a postdoctoral researcher at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (USA) and at Imperial College London. From 2012, Carlos works in the Life Sciences team of Caixa Capital Risc, the venture capital arm of ”la Caixa”, an investor that provides equity and convertible loans to innovative companies in their early stages. Caixa Capital Risc manages a capital of 154 million euro and invests mainly in Spanish companies in the following fields: Healthcare/ Life sciences (therapeutic treatments, drug development, medical devices, and healthcare services), TIME (corporate software, communications equipment, and Internet/mobile business) and Industrial technology (new materials, sustainability, process technology, etc). Carlos is also board member at Sagetis Biotech, Biótica Bioquímica Analítica, iMicroQ and Omnia Molecular.

Thierry Laugel, PhD MBA

Managing Partner, Kurma Partners

Thierry started his career in industry in 1992 in Japan for Laboratoires Fournier as scientific representative, where he worked in collaboration with Grelan, a Takeda Group company. He then moved to Flamel Technologies as project director for Pharmaceutical R&D, after its IPO on Nasdaq. In 1998, he moved to the investment world, first at Caisse des Dépôts (CDC Innovation, then with the PharmaVent project), before moving to AGF Private Equity, where he supervised the healthcare team. Since 2009, Thierry Laugel is a founder and Managing Partner of Kurma Partners, and is currently the Chairman of its Management Board. Thierry is a Pharmacist, with a PhD in pharmacology, and an MBA from Insead.

Monique Schiersing, MSc MBA

Investment director, Roche Venture Fund

Monique is investment Director at the Roche Venture Fund, Roche’s CHF 500M corporate venture fund. Previously, she held positions at BankInvest Biomedical Venture in Copenhagen, Roche Partnering in various roles incl. Global Alliance Director being responsible for Roche Pharma’s early stage biologics collaborations, Bay City Capital and Tularik, Inc. Monique holds a M.S. from the University of Zurich and MBA from University of San Francisco

Marc Martinell, PhD

Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Marc obtained a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Barcelona. He has broad experience in drug discovery and biotechnology through his participation at companies such as Crystax Pharmaceuticals and Oryzon Genomics where he managed several research projects and led the team in charge of target selection, structural biology, computational chemistry and hit ID through a fragment-based approach. At Oryzon, Marc actively contributed to the identification of the first-in-class inhibitors for the epigenetic target LSD1 currently in clinical studies and licensed to Roche. Marc is co-author of several patents and publications, and besides his activities in the technological field always had an entrepreneurial calling.