Covagen announced today the nomination of Prof. Frank Walsh as its new Executive Chairman of the Board and the appointment of Dr. Mathias Locher as Chief Development Officer.
Frank Walsh is currently CEO of the biotechnology company Ossianix Inc. (Philadelphia, USA). He has more than 15 years experience as a senior executive in the pharmaceutical industry. Between 2002-2009 he worked for Wyeth (Collegeville PA, USA), where he last served as Executive Vice President and Head of Discovery Research Worldwide. He led more than 1500 scientists across seven sites globally and managed an annual budget of USD 360 million. Prior to joining Wyeth, Frank Walsh was at GlaxoSmithKline (UK) where he was Senior Vice President and Head of the Neurology Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery. From 1997-2000 he was Vice President and Head of Neuroscience Research at SmithKline Beecham (UK). Before moving to industry, Frank Walsh had a distinguished academic career, during which he authored over 200 scientific publications in his roles as the Research Dean at the United Medical and Dental Schools of Guys and St. Thomas’ Hospitals (London, UK), and as the Sir William Dunn Professor of Experimental Pathology. Frank Walsh received his B.Sc. in biochemistry from the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland) and holds a Ph.D. from University College in London (UK).
Commenting on his nomination, Frank Walsh stated: “I am impressed by the versatility of the Fynomer technology platform and I am genuinely looking forward to contribute to the further development of this exciting company.”
Mathias Locher brings with him more than 20 years experience in pharmaceutical development of drugs, with a focus on protein-based therapeutics. From 2007-2011, he served as Global Head of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics (DMPK) at MerckSerono (Geneva, Switzerland). Mathias Locher led a team of about 145 FTE across five sites globally. Prior to this he served for four years as Vice President of Preclinical Development at Micromet Inc. (Munich, Germany). There he was accountable for the entire preclinical development of the bispecific BiTE proteins as well as monoclonal antibodies. Mathias Locher holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Tuebingen (Germany).
Mathias Locher said, “I am very excited to join Covagen and I look forward to contribute to the creation of a strong Fynomer portfolio of clinical product candidates.”
Julian Bertschinger, Covagen’s CEO added, “We are very pleased to have gained Frank as our new Executive Chairman and to have strengthened Covagen’s management team with Mathias Locher. Frank and Mathias bring with them extensive knowledge of business and pharmaceutical development which will be tremendously valuable to lead Covagen forward towards the next stage of its evolution.”
Covagen commercializes next generation protein drugs for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and cancer by using its proprietary protein engineering technology, which has been developed at ETH Zurich (Switzerland). Covagen’s innovative platform comprises a novel single domain protein scaffold, which – in analogy to antibodies – can be engineered to yield high affinity binding proteins called Fynomers that can be used for therapeutic applications. The possibility to create bispecific as well as multivalent Fynomers and their favorable biophysical properties allow for treatment modalities that are difficult or
impossible to be exploited with antibodies.