Conference program at a glance



  • Nicholas Benedict
    Nicholas Benedict Co-founder & CEO of Allecra Therapeutics
    Nicholas Benedict

    Nicholas Benedict
    Co-founder & CEO of Allecra Therapeutics

    Nicholas Benedict is Co-founder & CEO of Allecra Therapeutics, a company dedicated to the development of novel treatments to combat drug-resistant bacterial infections.

    Nicholas gained a BA (Hons) in Philosophy from King‘s College London University and an MBA from the University of Manchester, UK.  Over his 25 years in the Pharma and Biotech industries Nicholas has a successful track record across the full spectrum of the Pharma/Biotech value chain, starting in finance in F. Hoffmann-La Roche before moving to marketing and sales followed by general management roles including responsibility for R&D.

    Positions included Global Head of Anti-infectives Business Unit at Novartis AG in Switzerland, pharmaceuticals Country Manager at Novartis UK, Chief Commercial Officer at Basilea Pharmaceutica, where he successfully co-led the company’s follow-on offering raising over CHF320 million on the public equity markets, and CEO of Swiss start-up Lumavita AG.  Nicholas subsequently co-founded Allecra Therapeutics where he has led Series A and B financing rounds, and progressed the lead compound from pre-clinical into Phase 2 with fast-track designation from the FDA.  Nicholas lives in Basel, Switzerland and holds both British and Swiss nationalities.

  • Marc Churin
    Marc Churin HR Manager Groupe Samsic
    Marc Churin

    Marc Churin
    HR Manager and expert at Group Samsic 

    Marc Churin is born and raised in a small Alsatian village north of Strasbourg 46 years ago. He went to a soccer school for 4 years, and then studied German at University for 4 years. He got a 1 year scholarship at Kalamazoo College (MI, USA), completed by a 2 year business school in Strasbourg.

    In 1996 he stared his career at Adecco, and moved into the Swiss market in 2000. Since then, he always worked in Human Resources in almost all possible functions (recruitment, talent management, Learning & Development, HR Management and coaching), and in different areas : IT, Services, Finance, etc ...

    After 7 years as a coach, he decided to go back to a more operational role in HR, and joined his current company, Samsic (cleaning and hotel services), as a HR Manager in September of this year.

    As a “severe” LinkedIn user, he manages all his professional contacts and network through it since 2004!

  • Alexandra V. Eberhard
    Alexandra V. Eberhard Managing Director Europe & EVP Sciences for Signals Analytics
    Alexandra V. Eberhard

    Alexandra V. Dr Eberhard, Phd MBA
    Managing Director Europe and EVP Sciences for Signals Analytics

    Alexandra V. Eberhard, PhD MBA, is the Managing Director Europe and EVP Sciences for Signals Analytics. She joined the team seven years ago and is one of the Signals Analytics pioneers. She has strongly contributed to the software solution development and its successful commercialization. For the last two years, Alexandra has played an integral role in the establishment and development of Signals overall growth strategy and success within the European market. Globally, her mission is to help healthcare & life sciences leaders drive product innovation and market growth.

    Since 2009, Alexandra has also held the role of Partner for the leading investment house ‘Cukierman & Co Life Sciences’ (Israel). Here she supports business development, fundraising, licensing and M&A activities within the Group. Previously, she served as VP Business Development and then as CEO of the biotech start-up within ‘RAD BioMed Accelerator’ (Israel) and Associate Partner of a boutique consulting firm, ‘Quilt Solutions’ (Switzerland).

    Alexandra earned her PhD in Immunology/Virology at BioMerieux (France) and her post-doctorate at the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel). She has co-authored more than 15 peer-reviewed international publications, disseminated her work at more than 20 top international conferences and received six academic awards. Dr V. Eberhard also earned an International MBA from Bar Ilan University (Israel). She is married with two children.

  • Sharon Finch
    Sharon Finch Founder and CEO of Medius Associates
    Sharon Finch

    Sharon Finch
    Founder and CEO of Medius Associates

    Sharon is the founder and CEO of Medius Associates and has worked in business development since joining the pharma industry in 1978. Sharon has extensive in depth experience of international pharmaceutical business development. With a comprehensive knowledge of business development and
    licensing in the pharmaceutical industry, she has extensive experience of identifying, creating, implementing and directing international business opportunities. Sharon also has experience of negotiating and drafting a wide range of agreements with both global and national pharmaceutical companies and is an author for the series of Deal Watch articles published by Medius. 

    As a leading authority on Partnering and Business Development, Sharon has chaired numerous international licensing conferences and run workshops and training courses on business development. Sharon’s previous industry experience included senior business development appointments in the Wellcome Foundation Ltd; at Medeva plc and Ono Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. In addition to her client work, Sharon is the Editor of the Business Development & Licensing Journal published by the Pharmaceutical Licensing Group and is also the Course Director for the MSc in Pharmaceutical Business Development and Licensing run by Manchester University.

    Sharon holds a BSc in Chemistry and Administration and studied for an MA in Business Law. Sharon has worked in a wide range of therapeutic fields including diabetes, oncology, respiratory, critical care, cardiovascular and diagnostics. She is the past President of the European Pharmaceutical Licensing Group Council and former Chairman of the UK Pharmaceutical Licensing Group.

  • Rong Hui Gao
    Rong Hui Gao Managing Director & Founder G-Med Consulting
    Rong Hui Gao

    Mr. Rong Hui Gao, M.D. MBA
    Managing Director & founder of G-Med Consulting
    Co-founder European BioMedical Centre in Shanghai

    Mr. Gao has more than twenty years work experience in the life science industry. He started his medical career on infectious disease management before he joined Nestle (China) in the commercial division. He then moved to the UK and joined InforMed, a UK pharmaceutical marketing company and worked on marketing consultancy. Relocating back to China, Mr. Gao joined two major life science parks, Biobay and China Medical City, where he took the leadership on the international collaboration and business development. Mr. Gao is the founder G-Med Consulting, and is specialised in supporting European SMEs to access to China and helping Chinese companies invest in the west. Mr. Gao is an advisor to a number of major European and Chinese life science clusters. He is also the initiator and co-founder of the new European BioMedical Centre in Shanghai. 

  • Germo Gericke
    Germo Gericke Global Program Head Novartis Pharma AG
    Germo Gericke

    Germo Gericke, M.D.
    Global Program Head Novartis Pharma AG, Basel

    Germo Gericke, MD has more than 20years experience in the pharma industry. After completing medical training and a PhD in Berlin and Heidelberg, he began his career as a postdoctoral fellow at Dartmouth Medical School.

    In 1995, Germo joined McKinsey & Co. as a member of the Healthcare Practice. In 2001, he moved to Novartis, first in commercial and general management positions in Basel, East Hanover and Stockholm and later in Project Management for Global Drug Development.

    In his current role as Global Program Head at Novartis Pharma AG, Basel, he is leading development programs for several compounds with a disease area focus in Oncology and Endocrinology.

  • Dominik Hotz
    Dominik Hotz Partner – Price Waterhouse Coopers
    Dominik Hotz

    Dominik Hotz
    Partner – Price Waterhouse Coopers

    Dominik leads the Pharma / Life Sciences practice of PwC Switzerland. He has advised numerous clients on strategy development, strategy implementation and transactions (incl. divestments). Prior to PwC Dominik has worked at a large pharma company, a Biotech company and in Private Equity. Dominik teaches at the PhD program of the University of Geneva's Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences.

  • Monika E. Neaf
    Monika E. Neaf Partner & Owner of Dufour Advokatur, Board Member IWB
    Monika E. Neaf

    Monika E. Naef
    Partner & Owner of Dufour Advokatur and Board Member IWB

    Monika E. Naef is Partner & Owner of Dufour Advokatur (Dufour Attorneys). With over 29 years of experience in the legal field, she specializes in business law, business development, international business relations, and trade. She offers client consultations and a full suite of legal and advisory services, including license agreements, M&A, employment and pension-related issues, and start up or new enterprise ventures, with a focus on life sciences.

    After earning a degree in Law from the University of Basel and passing her bar exam, Monika became the in-house legal counsel for a multinational pharmaceutical and chemical group, where she counselled the pharma and chemicals divisions and offered expertise in HR and pension fund issues. Before founding Dufour together with three partners, she rose to become the Head of Section Law and Team Leader of the M&A review team for a multinational chemical company with global responsibilities. Apart from her legal practice, she currently serves on the board of Industrielle Werke Basel (IWB) and she is a certified Global Negotiator.

    Monika attributes her success to listening to people's needs, as well as being a great problem solver and keen negotiator.

  • Michel L. Pettigrew
    Michel L. Pettigrew President of the Executive Board and Chief Operating Officer (Ferring Pharmaceuticals)
    Michel L. Pettigrew

    Michel L. Pettigrew
    President of the Executive Board and Chief Operating Officer Ferring Pharmaceuticals

    Mr. Pettigrew joined Ferring in May 2001. He is the President of the Executive Board, Ferring Group, and in addition, manages all Commercial, Global Marketing, Business Development, Product Supply, and R&D activities of the Company. He is also Executive Chairman of Ferring Holding US, Ferring’s largest subsidiary. Additionally, Mr. Pettigrew is a Director of Hovione, a privately-owned API developer and producer.

    Prior to his arrival at Ferring, Mr. Pettigrew held several senior management positions throughout the world during a long career with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

    Mr. Pettigrew has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University in Montreal where he also plays an active role with the McGill Desautels Faculty of Management Alma Matter. He also has an MBA from York University in Toronto, Canada.

  • Eric Rhodes
    Eric Rhodes CEO – ERS Genomics
    Eric Rhodes

    CEO – ERS Genomics

    Eric serves as the CEO of ERS Genomics. He joined ERS from Horizon Discovery where he held the role of Senior Vice President of R&D and Chief Technology Officer and was responsible for commercializing Horizon's genome editing technologies as well as overseeing research and development.

    Over the course of his career, he has held various positions focused on gene editing technologies. These included the positions of Director Business Development at Sigma-Aldrich and Vice President Business Development & Alliance Management at Sangamo Biosciences where he was responsible for commercializing gene-editing technologies and executed licensing deals with more than 25 major biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

    Eric holds a degree in microbiology and immunology from the University of California, Berkeley.

  • Richard Ridinger
    Richard Ridinger CEO Lonza Group
    Richard Ridinger

    Richard Ridinger
    Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Executive Committee of Lonza Group
    Board Member Firmenich SA

    Richard Ridinger (1958) holds a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Karlsruhe and began his career in research and technology at Henkel KGaA in 1986. Staying with the company for over ten years, he went on to work in Production Engineering and Maintenance (1988 – 1992), he was the Production Manager in several departments between 1992 – 1997 before taking on the role of Head of the Oleochmical Derivatives Productions – Organisation, between 1997 and 1999. For the next two years, he was the Director Global Skin Care Ingredients Business at Henkel KGaA/Cognis GmbH.

    His time with Cognis has now spanned 16 years, beginning as Vice President of the Global Care Chemicals Specialties business (2000 - 2002). He became SBU - Head of Cognis - Care Chemicals and member of the Cognis Executive Committee in 2002 until 2006. From 2006 – 2010 Richard was a Member of the Management Board and Executive Vice President, Care Chemicals and the following year he worked on the transfer and integration of Cognis into BASF.

    Richard is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Executive Committee of Lonza Group, and he has held this position since May 2012. In October 2016, he also became a Member of the Board for Firmenich SA.

  • Otto Schwarz
    Otto Schwarz Executive Vice President & COO Actelion Pharmaceuticals
    Otto Schwarz

    Otto Schwarz
    Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at Nycomed


    PhD in Pharmacy/Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Vienna, Austria; postdoc at the University of Florida, Gainesville, US (Professor Katritzky)

    Professional background:
    Executive Vice President Commercial Operations, Nycomed where he oversaw commercial operations in over 40 countries; Member Executive Board Business Strategy & Commercial Operations, Altana Pharma AG; various managerial positions at Schering Plough in Austria, Canada, US, Germany and at a regional European level, as well as at Eli Lilly, Austria and Switzerland. He either lead or participated in major drug launches with speciality and GP products as well as managed major strategic alliances with third parties.
    President, Business Strategy & Operations and member of the Actelion Executive Committee, Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd, 2008–2011.

    Other group functions:
    Chairman of the Board of Actelion Pharmaceuticals Italia S.r.l. and Actelion Pharmaceuticals Hellas S.A.; member of the Board of Actelion Pharmaceuticals Japan Ltd., Actelion.

  • Robert Sebbag
    Robert Sebbag Vice President Sanofi
    Robert Sebbag

    Dr Robert Sebbag, MD
    Vice President Access to Medicines at Sanofi

    Dr Sebbag is an MD with a specialty in tropical parasitic diseases and further studies in Psychiatry. He is currently the Vice President Access to Medicines at Sanofi. In this role, Dr Sebbag participates in the company’s access to medicines strategy development for the Southern Hemisphere.

    Before joining Sanofi, he worked in Brussels for the European Pharmaceutical Industry Association (EFPIA), creating a communications platform for the pharmaceutical companies operating in Europe. Dr Sebbag was also the Senior Vice President of Communications for the vaccine company, Aventis Pasteur (now Sanofi Pasteur).

    In addition to his activities within the pharmaceutical industry, Dr Sebbag teaches public health courses within the Paris hospital system, focusing on tropical parasitic diseases. He is active within the French Red Cross and has participated in numerous health missions in the Southern Hemisphere.

  • Thomas Szucs
    Thomas Szucs Professor of Pharmaceutical Medicine and Director of the European Center of Pharmaceutical Medicine at the University of Basel.
    Thomas Szucs

    Thomas Szucs
    Professor of Pharmaceutical Medicine and Director of the European Center of Pharmaceutical Medicine at the University of Basel

    Thomas Szucs is Professor of Pharmaceutical Medicine and Director of the European Center of Pharmaceutical Medicine at the University of Basel.

    Previously he was Chief Medical Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Hirslanden Holding, the largest private hospital chain in Switzerland. As an academic, he held appointments at the universities of Munich, Bayreuth, Milano and Zurich. In 2010 he received a honorary professor ship of the University of Peking.

    He has worked at F. Hoffman-La Roche, ulitmately as the global head of Health Economics and served as Chairman of BB Biotech, Bioxell SpA, Intercell AG and was founding Chairman of Okairos. Currently he is Vice Chairman of Biovertis AG and since 2010 Chairman of the largest Swiss healthcare insurer, Helsana Group.

    He holds a medical degree from the University of Basel, a Masters in Business Administration from the University of St Gallen, a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard University and an LL.M in International Business Law from the University of Zurich.

    Thomas is board certified in Pharmaceutical Medicine as well as in Prevention and Public Health. He has published more than 400 articles, book chapters and monographies. He has worked extensively in the field of pharmaceutical economics and epidemiology. Recently he started a small practice in personalised medicine with special emphasis on pharmacogenomics at the Klinik Hirslanden in Zurich.

  • Gregg Talbert
    Gregg Talbert Head of the Strategic Partnering Group Roche
    Gregg Talbert

    Gregg Talbert
    Head of the Strategic Partnering Group Roche
    Responsible for M&A landscaping and the assessment of M&A targets

    Gregg Talbert joined Roche in January of 2015 as Head of the Strategic Partnering Group. Gregg and his team are responsible for M&A landscaping and the assessment of M&A targets. In addition, his team leads the identification and execution of digital healthcare partnerships in support of Roche’s personalized healthcare strategy. Gregg and his team also lead strategic projects related to external innovation and partnering.

    Previously Gregg was Senior Director of Diabetes Strategy and Business Development for Eli Lilly, where he was responsible for leading strategy development and ensuring alignment of the licensing and M&A activity with the strategic needs of the diabetes business area. Prior to this Gregg was the Global Exenatide Transition Leader for Lilly. In this capacity he led the global transition of the exenatide product line to Amylin and its partners following the termination of Lilly and Amylin’s development and commercialization agreement for exenatide.

    Gregg has also served as Managing Director of Mergers and Acquisitions in Eli Lilly’s Corporate Finance and Investment Banking (CFIB) Group, where he led a team responsible for executing the company’s M&A strategy. During his tenure executing M&A transactions at Lilly, Gregg and his team played a lead role in identifying, evaluating, and negotiating major transactions, such as Lilly’s acquisitions of ImClone, ICOS, SGX Pharmaceuticals, and Janssen Animal Health. In this capacity, he also led the negotiation of the termination of Lilly’s exenatide partnership with Amylin.

    Gregg has held a number of management roles within strategy and business development, where he served as lead negotiator in the licensing of compounds and technologies. Prior to entering the pharmaceutical industry, he held a number of sales and marketing roles within the semiconductor industry. Gregg received a Ph.D. in Decision Sciences from Duke University, where he had previously earned an MBA, and holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University.

  • Mikael von Euw
    Mikael von Euw CFO & Director Business Development, Biovotion
    Mikael von Euw

    Mikael von Euw
    Director BD and Member of the Board, for Biovotion AG

    Mikael von Euw is CFO, Director BD and Member of the Board, for Biovotion AG.  He was born in 1967 and is a Swiss and Swedish citizen.

    Mikael has 23 years of experience in finance, investment banking and medical device investments. He was the founding partner of Sirius Healthcare Partners, a life science corporate finance boutique, and BioMedical Innovations, a medical device focused venture capital management company.

    Mikael was a former senior research analyst for European Medical Technology at UBS. At UBS, he was also an Executive Director and the Deputy head of the bank’s top rated European Medical Technology Research Team from 1999 to 2002, based in London and Zurich. Prior to that, he was the deputy head of UBS' Swiss Equity Research Team, which was repeatedly ranked the No 1 Team by institutional investors.

    Mikael holds a Master Degree, with honours, in Economics and Political Science of the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Mikael has been on the Board of Directors for various healthcare companies.