Pekka Simula

Chief Executive Officer

Pekka Simula joined Herantis Pharma Plc. as CEO in November 2013. Previously he was founding CEO of Oncos Therapeutics Ltd, successfully building it into a clinical stage company. During his international career Mr. Simula has also served as Project Director for CRF Health, a leading ePRO provider for clinical trials, and as Global Program Manager at Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR). Mr. Simula also served as board member of Oncos Therapeutics Ltd. from 2009 until the company’s merger with Norwegian Targovax in 2015, and is a board member of Finnish Bioindustries since 2016 and chairman since 2018. He holds a MSc in physics.

Twitter: @simulapekka

Antti Vuolanto

Chief Operating Officer

Antti Vuolanto, DSc, joined Herantis Pharma Plc in February 2018. He has vast experience in biological drug development, gene therapy, and in-vitro diagnostics. Previously he has served as COO at Valo Therapeutics, as Executive Vice President at Targovax ASA, and COO and co-founder at Oncos Therapeutics Ltd that was merged with Targovax in 2015. He has also held senior management positions at other biotech companies. Dr. Vuolanto graduated as Doctor in Science in Technology at Aalto University, Finland, in 2004 in bioprocess engineering.

Henri Huttunen

Chief Scientific Officer

Henri Huttunen co-founded Herantis Pharma Plc. in 2008 and served as the company’s founding CEO until February 2010. Dr. Huttunen is currently the Chief Scientific Officer of Herantis, and has also served as member of the Board of Directors until April 2014. Dr. Huttunen has previously held research positions at the University of Helsinki, Orion Pharma, and Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School (USA). Dr. Huttunen has a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Helsinki and more than 20 years of experience in neuroscience research. As an adjunct professor, Dr. Huttunen also leads an academic research group focusing on molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases at the Neuroscience Center, University of Helsinki.

Outi Lahdenperä

CMO consultant for Lymfactin

Outi Lahdenperä joined Herantis’ Lymfactin team in 2016 after a long and successful clinical and scientific career at the Cancer clinic of the University of Turku. Lahdenperä received her doctorate in clinical pharmacology and clinical chemistry in 2000. Since 2013, she has been an adjunct professor at the University of Turku. She has more than 20 years experience in clinical drug development and continues her research activities in collaboration with several research groups. Lahdenperä has completed Medimerck Health Care Management and Leadership training in 2015.

Magnus Sjögren

CMO consultant for CDNF

Magnus Sjögren is Consultant Chief Medical Officer for Herantis Pharma since 2016. He has extensive experience in drug development and translational research in several therapeutic areas, in particular CNS but also oncology and inflammation. He is a trained Psychiatrist with over 20 years of hands-on experience in clinical psychiatry. He is also Associate Professor at Gothenburg University and a Lecturer at Copenhagen University, and the author of more than 130 scientific publications. Dr. Sjögren has held several senior executive and scientific positions: Chief Medical Officer at DiaGenic ASA; Vice President at UCB Pharma in Belgium and UK; Global Head of Translational Medicine in Schering-Plough; Senior Clinical Research Director in Organon NV and AstraZeneca.

Arnab Bhattacharjee

Senior Scientist

Dr. Arnab Bhattacharjee started as a senior scientist at Herantis in January 2018. He has more than 15 years of experience in structural biology and worked on diverse structural biology projects using X-ray crystallography, NMR, SAXS and computational methods. He has held research positions at the University of Helsinki and the Indian Institute of Sciences in the past, and also continues to be associated with HiLIFE Institute, University of Helsinki. Dr. Bhattacharjee holds a PhD in medicine from University of Helsinki. His research project at Herantis was initiated with financial support from the Postdocs for Companies program.

Sigrid Booms

Director of Clinical Development

Sigrid Booms has served as Director of Clinical Development of Herantis since August 2011. Mrs. Booms has more than 20 years of experience in global development of pharmaceuticals for human use, with previous positions in regulatory affairs at Orion Pharma and at a global clinical CRO as Director, Regulatory Affairs. During her career she was involved in several drug development projects in the CNS therapeutic area and is currently study director for the CDNF (protein) clinical development in Parkinson’s disease. Over the years she has become a specialist in regulatory aspects for nonclinical and early phase clinical development. Mrs. Booms holds a Licentiate in pharmacy from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Rebecka Holmnäs

Project Manager

Rebecka Holmnäs joined Herantis in March 2018 as a Trainee and was promoted to Project Manager in August 2019. She received her M.Sc. diploma in cell biology from Åbo Akademi University in 2019. In her master’s thesis she studied the efficacy of an epigenetic pharmaceutical for the treatment of ovarian clear cell carcinoma in vitro in a collaborative project between the university and Orion Pharma.

Twitter: @RHolmnas

Katarina Jääskeläinen

Project Manager

Katarina Jääskeläinen served as Project Manager for Laurantis Pharma Ltd. and subsequently Herantis Pharma plc. since 2012. Previously, Ms. Jääskeläinen worked as Drug Development Assistant for Laurantis Pharma and prior to the merger that formed Laurantis Pharma, for BioCis Pharma Ltd., since 2005 having years of experience working with cis-urocanic acid. Earlier in her career she worked in several research projects at the Turku University Hospital. Ms. Jääskeläinen holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in biotechnology from Turku University of Applied Sciences.

Jani Koskinen

Head of Quality and CMC Development

Jani Koskinen joined Herantis Pharma Plc. in December 2014. He works as a Head of Quality and CMC Development taking care of tasks related to manufacturing and process development. Before joining Herantis Mr. Koskinen worked for Biotie Therapies, University of Helsinki and Fit Biotech having over 15 years of experience in manufacturing and process development of biopharmaceuticals. He holds a MSc in bioprocess engineering from the Helsinki University of Technology (Aalto-university).

Natalia Kulesskaya

Senior Scientist

Natalia Kulesskaya has served as a senior scientist, in vivo pharmacology, at Herantis Pharma since August 2019. Dr. Kulesskaya earned her PhD in physiology and has more than 15 years of experience in neuroscience and in vivo pre-clinical studies related to the normal and pathological functioning of the central nervous system. Dr. Kulesskaya is a docent of animal physiology at University of Helsinki. She previously held the position of senior scientist in the Neuroscience Center, HiLIFE, University of Helsinki.

Twitter: @KulesskayaN

Satu Leikas

Project Manager

Satu Leikas joined Herantis in March 2018. Currently she serves as Project Manager in the Lymfactin® project. Previously she has worked at hospital pharmacies in the manufacturing of medicinal products. Satu holds a B.Sc. in pharmacy from University of Helsinki.

Twitter: @LeikasSatu

Jutta Poutanen

Chief Pharmaceutical Officer

Jutta Poutanen has served as Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at Laurantis Pharma Ltd. and subsequently Herantis Pharma Plc. since August 2010. Prior to the merger that formed Laurantis Pharma, Ms. Poutanen was Development Manager, Product Development of BioCis Pharma Ltd since August 2008. In her earlier career she has among others worked as Senior Research Scientist at Orion Pharma. She has about 20 years of working experience in pharmaceutical industry in formulation, product and process development and she holds a MSc in pharmacy from University of Helsinki.

Päivi Vuorio

Project Manager

Päivi Vuorio joined Herantis Pharma in January 2017. Her present assignment is Project Manager and she serves as the coordinator of TreatER EU project. During her earlier career, she has worked at Biotie Therapies Corp. as a Project Manager in drug development for over 17 years and before that at the University of Turku in research, training and coordination positions. She holds a PhL (biology) degree from the University of Turku.

Pekka Mattila

Chairman of the Board

Pekka Mattila is a board member of Herantis since 2013. Currently CEO of Desentum, Pekka Mattila was the founding CEO of Finnzymes for 25 years until its acquisition by Thermo Fisher Scientific in 2010. Currently Mattila is the CEO of Desentum Oy and a board member in e.g. Fimmic Oy:n, Oy Medix Biochemia Ab:n and FIMM.

Ingrid Atteryd Heiman

Board member

Currently the Chairman of Doxa AB, Ingrid Atteryd Heiman holds Board positions in several companies and organizations including Parkinson Research Foundation, Redwood Pharma, and Dignitana. Previously she was e.g. Chairman of Ellen AB, Board member in Radix Kompetens AB, Chairman of Food Supplement Europe and Svensk Egenvård, and interim CEO for Ellen AB. Heiman has been Herantis’ Board member since 2019.

Jim Phillips

MD, MBA, Board member

Currently Director and CEO of Imevax GmbH, Jim (James) Phillips has held a number of Non-executive directorships in Europe including Insense Ltd and Healthcare Brands International Ltd.  Previously he was e.g. CEO for Midatech, President of EUSA Pharma Europe in its key growth phase prior to its sales in 2012 to Jazz Pharma, CEO & founder in Talisker Pharma (sold in 2006 to EUSA Pharma) and also SVP Corporate Development at EUSA; he founded Talisker Pharma in 2004 which was acquired by EUSA in 2006. Jim previously worked for Johnson & Johnson and Novartis as a senior executive. Phillips has been a board member of Herantis since 2014.

Aki Prihti

Board member

Currently CEO of Aplagon, Aki Prihti has been a board member of Herantis since 2014 and was one of the founding partners of Inveni Capital, a venture fund focused on life sciences. Aki Prihti was on the Board of Directors for several Life Sciences growth companies and was previously Chairman of Laurantis Pharma from 2010 to 2014. He is currently Chairman of Inveni Capital Ltd and Medeia Therapeutics Ltd. Prior to transitioning to life science venture capital he worked in the corporate finance arm of Salomon Brothers in London.

Timo Veromaa

MBA, MD, PhD, Vice Chairman

Timo Veromaa has been a Herantis board member since 2012. He is also the former Executive Chairman of Domainex Ltd and was the CEO and President of Biotie Therapies Corp. from 2005 until its acquisition by Acorda Therapeutics in 2016. Towards the beginning of his career he was a Medical Director of Schering Ltd. in Finland, Senior Scientist and Project Director of Collagen Corp. and Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University. Dr. Veromaa has a PhD in immunology from the University of Turku and as a MD holds a Special Competence in Pharmaceutical Medicine.

Frans Wuite

MD, MBA, Board member

Currently CEO of Acesion Pharma, Mr. Wuite has a long international career with a track record of successfully launching and growing pharmaceutical and biotech businesses. Mr. Wuite was previously the CEO and President of Oncos Therapeutics, COO of Warren Pharmaceuticals, Co-founder and Board Director of Araim Pharmaceuticals, and member of Amgen’s European management team, where he was in charge of establishing their anemia franchise. Before Amgen, he was President of Pharmacia-Leiras BV, a joint venture marketing hormonal products with novel dose delivery technology. Wuite has been a board member of Herantis since 2014.

Alan Whone

MD, PhD, Neurologist

Dr. Alan Whone is Senior Lecturer in Movement Disorders at the University of Bristol and Consultant Neurologist to Frenchay Hospital, Bristol. Prior to training in neurology in the South West, Alan undertook a PhD in Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders at the Cyclotron Unit, Hammersmith Hospital , London, with Professor D J Brooks. Presently, Alan runs a regional movement disorders clinic at Frenchay where a significant part of his clinical role is to support the functional neurosurgery for movement disorders programme. His current research programme includes clinical investigations of novel target regions for DBS in PD (the pedunculopontinenucleus) and growth factor infusions (GDNF) in PD, both of which he is investigating with Professor Stephen Gill. Alan also runs non surgical clinical investigations into cognitive and axial complications in PD and oversees preclinical (lab based) investigations into novel neuroprotective approaches, including assessing the potential utility of bone marrow stromal cells as a cell based therapy in Parkinson’s disease.

Jonathan Knowles

PhD, Professor

Previously President of group research at Roche, Professor Knowles was also a member of the Genentech Board for 12 years and of the Chugai Board for seven years. He was the first chairman of the Board of the IMI – Innovative Medicines Initiative – with a budget of more than 2 Billion Euros over five years. He was awarded the Scrip’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 for his long academic and commercial career distinguished by his passion for personalized medicine. Board member of Herantis since 2009, Professor Knowles holds a PhD in Molecular Genetics from the University of East Anglia, England. He currently serves also as a Professor at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM).

Kari Alitalo

MD, PhD, Professor

Professor Alitalo is the Director of Translational Cancer Biology Research program at the University of Helsinki. He is an internationally leading expert in endothelial growth factors in cancer. His research group discovered VEGF-C, the growth factor that regulates lymphangiogenesis, and subsequently has shown that regulation of lymphangiogenesis can be used therapeutically to suppress lymph node metastasis but also to promote formation of new lymphatic vessels in lymphedema. He has published more than 500 articles in the fields of biomedicine, cancer research and cell and molecular biology. Professor Alitalo has received numerous international prizes, such as InBev-Baillet Latour International Health Prize, Louis Jeantet prize for Medicine, Anders Jahre prize, Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize and is a foreign associated member of the National Academy of Sciences in the USA.

Mart Saarma

PhD, Professor

Professor Mart Saarma received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Tartu, Estonia. His work has focused on the in vivo roles, therapeutic effects and receptors of the neurotrophic factors including GDNF and the novel neurotrophic factor CDNF discovered by his research group. Dr. Saarma’s work has been instrumental in understanding the therapeutic potential of these neurotrophic factors for neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Parkinson’s disease. He has published more than 200 scientific articles. Professor Saarma is the member of Estonian Academy of Sciences, Finnish Academy of Sciences, Tanner Academy, Finnish Technical Academy and member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). He has received several domestic and international awards including Estonian State Prize for Science and Technology, Finnish Innovation Prize, Väinö Tanner Prize, Runeberg Medical Science Prize and Karl Schlossmann Science Prize. Between 1990 and 2009, Prof. Saarma was the Director of the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki. In 2015, Professor Saarma was nominated as the Vice President of the European Research Council (ERC).

Seppo Kaakkola

MD, PhD, Professor

Professor Kaakkola earned his MD degree in 1978 and PhD in 1981 from the Department of Pharmacology, University of Helsinki. Following training in pharmacology and clinical pharmacology he moved to the Department of Neurology in Helsinki University Central Hospital where he is still working. Docent (Senior Lecturer) in neurology since 1990, and in 2010 the President of Finland awarded him the title Professor. Professor Kaakkola has been the Chief Physician of Out-patient Department and at present is responsible for the movement disorders unit at Out-patient Department of Helsinki University Central Hospital. His main research interests include dopamine, Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders and drug development. He was involved in development of entacapone (a COMT inhibitor, Orion Pharma) for Parkinson’s disease both at the preclinical and clinical phases. Professor Kaakkola has a long history of active collaboration with patient organizations, including the Finnish Parkinson Foundation and the Finnish Multiple Sclerosis Society.