We are a team of seasoned scientists and drug developers dedicated to improving the lives of patients affected by neurodegenerative diseases.
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Dirk Beher (Ph.D.)Chief Executive Officer
Christoph Wiessner (Ph.D.)Chief Operating Officer
Anna Quattropani (Ph.D.)Head of Medicinal Chemistry
Bruno Permanne (Ph.D)Head of Biology
J. Michael Ryan (M.D)Chief Medical Officer
Dirk Beher (Ph.D.)
Dirk Beher is the Chief Executive Officer, a Founder and member of the Board of Directors of Asceneuron SA. He has raised CHF 36 million from leading venture capital firms for Asceneuron besides obtaining grant funding. Since its inception he has strategically positioned the company as an emerging leader in the field of orally bioavailable drugs for treating tauopathies. Dirk led the initial spin-off proposal for Merck Serono's tauopathy and Alzheimer's disease pipeline and successfully raised the seed funding which led to the creation of Asceneuron SA in October 2012. Dirk brings more than 23 years of experience in the field of Alzheimer's disease and Neurodegeneration and spent over 17 years in pharmaceutical drug discovery. Prior responsibilities include the management of the Alzheimer's disease team at Merck Serono in Geneva, Switzerland. He also managed the in vitro pharmacology team and oversaw a diverse CNS portfolio as management team member in the Neuroscience Department at Amgen Inc. in Thousands Oaks, California. Dirk started his career in pharmaceutical drug discovery at Merck Sharp & Dohme (Merck & Co.) in Harlow, United Kingdom in 1998. During that time he made key contributions to the clinical γ-secretase inhibitor MK-0752 and was finally responsible for all γ-secretase programs. Dirk holds a Ph.D. and a Diploma (M.S.) in Biology from the Ruprecht-Karls University Heidelberg, Germany. He is an inventor of seven patents and currently the author of 49 peer-reviewed publications and reviews.
Christoph Wiessner (Ph.D.)
Christoph Wiessner is the Chief Operating Officer, and a Founder of Asceneuron SA. He has more than 20 years of experience in neuroscience and drug discovery with a focus on developing novel therapies for neurodegenerative diseases including stroke, spinal cord injury, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Orphan Tauopathies. Prior to Asceneuron, he was a director at Merck Serono, Geneva, Switzerland (2008-2012) in the Therapeutic Area “Neurodegenerative Diseases”. From 1996-2008 he worked with increasing responsibilities in the CNS department at Novartis in Basel, Switzerland, and finally headed the CNS Target and Lead Discovery Unit as a director. At Novartis he also led the drug discovery team for CAD106, a vaccine for Alzheimer’s Disease currently in Phase II/III, and contributed to several CNS projects that entered into clinical testing. Christoph obtained his PhD in the department of Nobel laureate Hartmut Michel at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysics, Frankfurt, Germany. Subsequently he joined the department of Konstantin-Alexander Hossmann at the Max-Planck-Institute for Neurological Research, Cologne, Germany, and concluded this work with a habilitation in Experimental Neurology at the Medical Faculty of the University of Cologne. He has authored > 60 peer-reviewed publications, reviews, and book chapters with over 4300 citations and an H-index of 35 according to Google Scholar.
Anna Quattropani (Ph.D.)
Anna Quattropani is the Head of Medicinal Chemistry at Asceneuron. She is responsible for the design and implementation of the medicinal chemistry strategy for all of Asceneuron’s programs and preclinical development activities. Anna is an experienced Medicinal Chemist with more than 17 years of experience and a successful track record in the design and optimization of small molecules originating from HTS, fragment discovery or knowledge-based design into drug candidates. During the past ten years, she has been working on a variety of neurodegenerative disease projects, designing and optimizing drug-like small molecules with CNS exposure for multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease therapeutics. She has successfully delivered preclinical candidates for progressive supranuclear palsy (O-GlcNAcase inhibitor), multiple sclerosis, and an oxytocin receptor antagonist that has entered Ph. II. Anna obtained her Ph.D. and M.S. in organic synthesis and organometallic chemistry at University of Geneva, Switzerland. She is the inventor of 32 patents and the author of 20 peer-reviewed publications.
Bruno Permanne (Ph.D)
Bruno Permanne is the Head of Biology at Asceneuron. He is responsible for planning and supervision of assay development and pharmacology activities. Bruno is a neurobiologist with over 15 years of experience in drug discovery programs on neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and tauopathies). At Asceneuron he focuses on the O-GlcNAcase inhibitor program and biomarker development. Previously he was a project team leader at Merck Serono, Switzerland, where he successfully ran early discovery programs resulting in the progression of small molecules from high-throughput screens to lead optimization stage. Bruno obtained his PhD in biochemistry at the University of Lille under the co-supervision of Drs Andre Delacourte and Luc Buée. Subsequently he joined the laboratory of Professor Blas Frangione at the NYU Medical Center, USA, as a postdoc. Both groups are internationally recognized for their work on the pathophysiology of the tau protein and amyloidogenesis in neurodegenerative diseases. He is the author of 13 peer-reviewed publications.
J. Michael Ryan (M.D)
J. Michael Ryan is the Chief Medical Officer at Asceneuron. With over 15 years of Central Nervous System (CNS) clinical research experience, Michael is responsible for advancing Asceneuron’s pipeline of innovative small molecules and progressing tau modifiers through the clinic.
Michael joined Asceneuron from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, where he was Vice President in the Neuroscience Development Franchise and Therapeutic Area Head for Neurodegeneration for five years. At Novartis, he worked on the clinical development strategy and led programmes in a number of CNS indications including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Schizophrenia. He has also held a number of senior clinical research and development positions at several multi-national companies including Pfizer, Wyeth Research, and MSD Research Laboratories (known as Merck Research Laboratories in the United States).
Michael completed training in geriatric psychiatry and neuropsychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School and has published over 30 scientific articles on neurodegenerative diseases. He has held academic positions at Dartmouth Medical School and the University of Rochester, where he co-directed the Geriatric Neurology & Psychiatry Clinic until 2004. Michael holds an M.D. in Medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina and a B.S. in Biology from Georgetown University.