Management Team

Asceneuron’s management team combines research and development excellence with business and fundraising experience to bring innovation to patients.

We are a team of seasoned scientists and drug developers dedicated to improving the lives of patients affected by neurodegenerative diseases.

Barbara Angehrn Pavik

Chief Executive Officer

With over two decades of expertise in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, Barbara Angehrn Pavik is a highly experienced pharma and biotech executive. In her most recent position at Vifor Pharma Group, Barbara served as Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer, overseeing a spectrum of global commercial and operational functions. Notably, Barbara played a key role in the company's acquisition by CSL Limited.

Throughout her career, she has assumed leadership roles in prominent EU and US companies, including EXELIXIS, ONYX PHARMACEUTICALS, and AMGEN. Barbara also founded and served as the Chief Executive of STEPSTONE Pharma.
Beyond her executive capacities, Barbara currently holds Non-Executive Board Director positions at BELLEVUE Group, a healthcare focused asset management organization, and at medmix, a global leader in high-precision devices.
Barbara completed her education, earning a Bachelor & Master in Business Administration from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Andrin Cerletti

Head of Business Development

Andrin brings over 20 years of experience in the biotech industry and as the Head of Business Development leads all partnering efforts at Asceneuron.

He joined the company after having successfully built and led the Global Business Development & Licensing department at Vifor Pharma for the last 10 years. Within this timeframe, by partnering and acquiring the best external innovations, Vifor became a global leader in chronic kidney disease therapies and was sold to CSL in 2022 for over $11bn.

Prior to Vifor, Andrin held senior commercial positions at Nycomed and Takeda, where he supported the integration of the merger. He spent over 3 years as an investor at HBM Partners and other funds with a single focus on early-stage biotech opportunities. He also successfully led the commercial group at J&J in Switzerland for the pain franchise.

Andrin holds a Master’s Degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Basel and a Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Ryan Schubert, M.D.

Senior Vice President Research and Development

Ryan Schubert is Senior Vice President Research and Development at Asceneuron. He is responsible for clinical strategy, biomarkers, medical oversight, and operational support for Asceneuron’s pipeline.

Ryan graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. in Biology before receiving his M.D. from the Stanford University School of Medicine. Afterwards, he completed an Internal Medicine internship, Neurology residency, and Physician-scientist post-doctoral fellowship in Neuroinflammation and Multiple Sclerosis at the University of California, San Francisco. Ryan is the first author of publications in top-tier journals including Nature Medicine and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is a patent inventor, and is a board-certified Neurologist. Passionate about translating scientific discoveries into innovative medicines, Ryan was inspired to join Asceneuron because of its potential to make a transformative impact on the lives of Neurology patients with high unmet needs.

Bruno Permanne (Ph.D.)

Senior Director & Head of Preclinical Development

Bruno Permanne is the Head of Preclinical Development at Asceneuron. He is responsible for planning and supervision of assay development and pharmacology activities. Bruno is a neurobiologist with over 20 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.

Vanessa Teachout

Head of Clinical Operations

Armed with 15 years of experience in the biotechnology industry, Vanessa serves as the Director of Clinical Operations, spearheading the planning, implementation, execution, and management of clinical studies. In this pivotal role, she oversees day-to-day operations, directly managing external clinical research organizations (CROs) and vendors. Vanessa collaborates closely with the SVP of Research & Development and Program Lead to ensure seamless coordination across cross-functional teams, facilitating the generation of high-quality clinical data essential for advancing therapeutic breakthroughs. As the primary liaison for CRO and vendor personnel, Vanessa provides invaluable oversight and guidance, ensuring adherence to study plans and regulatory standards.

Vanessa received her MBA in Healthcare Administration from the Western Governors University and has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus on Finance from San Diego State University. She leverages her financial background coupled with her successful advancements in neurology, oncology, and autoimmune disease to manage study budgets, timelines, negotiate contracts, track site performance, and anticipate and address potential study issues, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and ensuring the successful execution of clinical trials. Vanessa’s commitment to excellence and interdisciplinary collaboration fuels her mission to enhance patient outcomes and catalyze meaningful change in healthcare.

Uyum Evcin

ASN51 Program Lead

Leveraging 13 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Uyum Evcin is a dedicated and skilled program lead. Currently, Uyum oversees the ASN51 program, ensuring its strategic development and success. In her most recent role as the Global Integration and Brand Team Lead at CSL Vifor, Uyum led the seamless integration of a clinical-stage European Biotech start-up into a multinational corporation. She directed multiple cross-functional workstreams concurrently, delivering a pivotal trial and ensuring uninterrupted operations during the integration.

Uyum has held various international and global commercial and business operations roles in companies such as Vifor Pharma and Baxter, consistently demonstrating her ability to manage and execute strategic projects. She holds an MSc in Management, Technology and Economics from ETH Zurich in Switzerland and a BSc in Chemistry from Bogazici University in Turkey.

Rolf Pokorny (M.D. M.Sc. Ph.D.)

Head of Early Clinical Development

Rolf Pokorny is the Head of Early Clinical Development at Asceneuron.
With over 30 years of Central Nervous System (CNS) clinical research and clinical pharmacology experience especially in early phases of drug development, Rolf is supporting our management team in advancing Asceneuron’s pipeline of innovative small molecules and progressing tau modifiers through the clinic.

Ruhi Ahmed (Ph.D., RAC)

Senior Vice President & Head of Regulatory Affairs

Ruhi Ahmed, Ph.D., serves as Head of Regulatory affairs. She has nearly 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries doing global regulatory drug development as well as program and portfolio management of assets from the preclinical to the commercial stage.

Prior to joining Asceneuron, Dr. Ahmed held positions at Inozyme Pharmaceutical Inc., UltraGenyx Pharmaceutical Inc., BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. and Actavis Inc. (formerly Watson Pharmaceutical Inc.). Her expertise encompasses leading the preclinical, clinical and manufacturing regulatory strategy and submissions for multiple INDs and marketing applications for a variety of neuromuscular, respiratory, cardiovascular, oncology and metabolic rare disease indications. She also led the alliance management and program strategy for several investigational prodrugs, biologics and small molecules.

Dr. Ahmed earned her B.S. in Biology and M.A. in Biochemistry from The University of Texas at Austin and her M.S. in Regulatory Sciences and Ph.D. in molecular pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Southern California.

Sandra Millet

Head of Operations

As the Head of Operations, Sandra Millet oversees a broad spectrum of responsibilities essential for the smooth functioning of Asceneuron SA. Her role encompasses various strategic and operational aspects aimed at optimizing organizational efficiency and achieving corporate objectives.

Sandra’s career began with various sales and marketing positions across Germany, France, Monaco, and Italy before working for Merck Serono in Geneva, where she was involved in a major restructuring initiative and the creation of a new function withing R&D.

Fluent in French, English, German, and Italian, Sandra holds a Master’s degree in Applied Foreign Languages from the University of Angers. In parallel of her work, she continuously pursued further education, earning a professional certificate in operational management from CNED, a Master’s degree in Human Resources, Organization & Change Management from the University of Grenoble, and most recently, a certification as a Prosci Change Practitioner.

Colin Kahrs (Ph.D.)

Head of Intellectual Property

Colin Kahrs is the Head of Intellectual Property at Asceneuron.
With over 20 years of experience in intellectual property for the pharmaceutical and chemical industry, Colin provides essential input to Asceneuron’s strategy to protect its small molecule pipeline assets and supports the company in the management of its intellectual property portfolio.

Anna Quattropani (Ph.D.)

Head of Non-Clinical Development and Medicinal Chemistry

Anna Quattropani has more than 25 years’ experience in Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery. As part of the founding team of Asceneuron, she is inventor of the clinical O-GlcNAcase inhibitors ASN51 and ASN90 and one M1 PAM lead compound. With the transition of both clinical compounds into development, she has pivoted her activities to non-clinical development and chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC). She is also managing the small molecule intellectual property portfolio of the company.

In addition to Asceneuron, Anna held various drug discovery positions in Pharma (Serono and Merck KGaA) and biotech companies, with successful track record in the design of several small molecule clinical candidates. Anna obtained her Ph.D. and M.S. in organic synthesis and organometallic chemistry at University of Geneva, Switzerland. She is the inventor of 50 patents and the author of 21 peer-reviewed publications.

Manfred Schneider (Ph.D., DABT)

Head of ADME and Toxicology

Manfred joined Asceneuron in 2013 as an expert consultant in drug metabolism, pharmacokinetics and toxicology (ADME/PK/TOX) to guide lead optimization and to support non-clinical development (bioanalytics, DMPK, IND-enabling safety pharmacology & toxicology studies). He was instrumental in the early discovery of our clinical leads ASN90 and ASN51 and their clinical development up to Phase 2.   

Manfred has more than 25 years of international experience in his field and is board-certified toxicologist (US) since 2004. Between 2006 and 2012 he held positions as Head of DMPK & Toxicology at Addex Therapeutics and Head of early ADME at Merck Serono (Geneva, Switzerland). Prior to this, he worked for 10 years in the United States at Forest Laboratories (New York City) and at Tularik (now Amgen; South San Francisco) following a toxicology postdoc at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1996 he received his PhD in Analytical Chemistry and Environmental Toxicology from the University of Ulm, Germany.

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    Board of Directors

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    Scientific Advisory Board

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