Next-generation off-the-shelf and precision viral vector neoantigen cancer immunotherapies

Our History

  • Riccardo Cortese | MD, PhD Co-Founder

    Riccardo founded the genetic vaccine company Okairos in 2007 and led the company through its successful acquisition by GSK in 2013. He sadly passed away in April 2017, but his intuitions, leadership and ability to recognize fields of research with untapped potential continue to drive and inspire our work each day.

     

Building upon our knowledge, manufacturing expertise and success in infectious disease vaccines based on viral vectors

Nouscom’s leadership and founding team are successful entrepreneurs, who have previously developed innovative candidate vaccines for a range of infectious diseases that include: Malaria (Ewer et al, 2013), Ebola (Stanley et al, 2014Ewer et al, 2016), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (Taylor et al, 2015Green et al, 2015), and Hepatitis-C virus (Swadling et al, 2014). The platform developed by Nouscom is based on proprietary recombinant Adenovirus isolated from non-human great apes (GAd) and Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara (MVA). The use of viral vectors derived from primates has several advantages, in that they generate potent immune responses, and are much less susceptible to neutralization by pre-existing immunity in humans (Colloca et al, 2012). These vaccines have been evaluated in over 4,000 adult, newborn, and elderly healthy subjects, and shown to be safe, immunogenic and efficacious.

The team is now leveraging its experience and expertise in viral vectored vaccines design and development to advance a portfolio of novel, safe, and effective neoantigen immunotherapies to target human malignancies and expand the utility of existing immunotherapeutic agents, such as checkpoint inhibitors.

Successful past experiences are the building block of our new objectives.

Nouscom’s leadership and research team are successful entrepreneurs, who have previously developed innovative candidate vaccines for a range of infectious diseases that include: Malaria (Ewer et al, 2013), Ebola (Stanley et al, 2014; Ewer et al, 2016), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (Taylor et al, 2015; Green et al, 2015), and Hepatitis-C virus (Swadling et al, 2014). The platform technology, originally developed at Okairos, is based on recombinant Adenovirus isolated from non-human great apes (GAd) and Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara (MVA). The use of viral vectors derived from primates has several advantages, in that they generate potent immune responses, and are much less susceptible to neutralization by pre-existing immunity in humans (Colloca et al, 2012). These vaccine therapies have been evaluated in over 4,000 adult, newborn, and elderly healthy subjects, as well as in patients with chronic infectious diseases, and shown to be safe and efficacious.

The team is now leveraging its experience and expertise in genetic vaccine development to develop a portfolio of novel, safe, and effective neoantigen and oncolytic-based vaccine therapies to target human malignancies and expand the utility of existing immunotherapeutic agents, such as checkpoint inhibitors.

  • Riccardo Cortese | MD, PhD Co-Founder

    Riccardo founded the genetic vaccine company Okairos in 2007 and led the company through its successful acquisition by GSK in 2013. He sadly passed away in April 2017, but his intuitions, leadership and ability to recognize fields of research with untapped potential continue to drive and inspire our work each day.

     

Executive Team

  • Marina Udier | PhD CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND BOARD DIRECTOR

    Marina joined Nouscom in 2016 from Versant Ventures. Before Versant, she headed up the Global Neurodegeneration portfolio for Novartis Neuroscience and lead development of companion diagnostics for Novartis Oncology. She received her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Yale University.

  • Richard Davis | PHD Chief Operating Officer

    Rick joined Nouscom in September 2020 from Johnson and Johnson Innovation where he was the Global Oncology Transaction Lead responsible for external collaborations and licensing of transformational preclinical assets. Previously he had responsibility for direct healthcare investments at Wellcome Trust, and has led business and corporate development for private and public biotechnology companies.

  • Sven Gogov | MD Chief Medical Officer

    Sven joined Nouscom as Vice President Clinical Development in October 2021. Prior to joining the company, Sven held Senior Clinical Development positions in oncology at Incyte, Novartis, OSI Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca. Previously he held an academic position at the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada

  • Elisa Scarselli | MD Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder

    Elisa was formerly a Research Scientist at IRBM/Merck, where she worked on immunological aspects of Hepatitis C infection and was subsequently appointed Group Leader in Oncology. She joined Okairos in 2010 as Clinical Director of the infectious disease vaccine programmes.

  • Tiffany Muller Senior Vice President Finance

    Tiffany has 15 years of experience in finance including investments, global treasury, and investor relations. Prior to joining Nouscom in 2019, she held leadership roles with a U.S. based Fortune 500 company where she oversaw complex finance facilities and debt issuances, managed large hedge portfolios, and cultivated investor relationships. Tiffany received her B.A. and M.A. in Mathematics.

  • Loredana Siani | PHD Vice President Technical and CMC Development

    Loredana was GMP head at Okairos/ Reithera since 2010 where she oversaw all the manufacturing campaigns for the production of APIs for both infectious diseases  and advanced therapies. With extensive experience in developing technical operations conducted in compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice, she joined Nouscom in April 2020 as Technical Director.

  • Ilaria Cirasola Head of HR and Administration

    She has more than 15 years of experience in the field of HR and business management. Before joining, she was General Manager in ReiThera (ex Okairos) and worked as HR and Admin in MSD (IRBM site).

Senior Leadership

  • Morena D’Alise | PhD Vice President of Immunology

    Morena has more than 15 years’ experience in Immunology. She joined Nouscom in 2016 as Senior group leader of the Immunology Department; she currently leads the Immunology team, drives company interactions with external collaborators for the evaluation of genetic vaccine platforms in preclinical models and liaises with internal teams to design immunogenicity evaluation strategies.

  • Maria Jose Arce Tomas | PHD Vice President of Regulatory Affairs

    Maria joined Nouscom in 2022. Before joining, she held senior leadership positions at PharmaMar, NovoNordisk, GE Healthcare, Abbott, Norgine and GSK. In her role she establishes the Company’s goals and objectives regarding RA, leads all submissions and communications with regulatory authorities and manages international submissions and responses.

  • Polonca Andermann | PhD Vice President of Clinical Operations

    Polonca has more than 20 years’ experience in Clinical Operations in Pharma/Biotech and CROs covering important roles of increased responsibilities and gained extensive know-how in planning and execution of clinical trials ph I-III in oncology & infectious diseases. She recently joined Nouscom providing strategic oversight and direct management of the team responsible for the selection, implementation and execution of all Clinical Trial Operations.

Board of Directors

  • Göran Ando | MD Chairman of the board

    Göran spent 35 years in the pharmaceutical industry as head of R&D and in general management. He is now board director and chairman of biotech companies in US, EU and Asia. He is a physician by training.

  • Marina Udier | PhD CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND BOARD DIRECTOR

    Marina joined Nouscom in 2016 from Versant Ventures. Before Versant, she headed up the Global Neurodegeneration portfolio for Novartis Neuroscience and lead development of companion diagnostics for Novartis Oncology. She received her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Yale University.

  • Guido Magni | MD Board Director

    Guido has been closely involved in multiple biotech investments. He was previously Managing Director of EuroVentures, a Versant incubator. He is a physician with a specialty in neuro-psychiatry, and the co-author of over 100 peer-reviewed papers.

  • Joachim (JR) Rothe | PhD Board Director

    Joachim joined LSP in 2002, and is currently a Managing Partner and co-owner of the firm. He has facilitated the growth and development of a large number of companies by leveraging his scientific and pharmaceutical expertise, and extensive global network.

  • Scott Rocklage | PhD Board Director

    Scott joined 5AM Ventures in 2003 as a Venture Partner and became a Managing Partner in 2004. He has over three decades of healthcare management experience and has entered multiple drug candidates into clinical trials.

  • Sofia Ioannidou | PHD Board Director

    Sofia joined Andera Partners in 2009 and is currently a Partner in the Andera Life Sciences team. Prior to Andera Partners, Sofia was part of the Life Sciences team of L.E.K. Consulting London having started her career in R&D with Boston-based Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

  • Thibaut Roulon | PHD Board Director

    He has more than 15 years of experience in Life Science investments. Thibaut started his career as a Scientist in a company developing immunotherapies for cancer.

  • Hakan Goker | PHD Board Director

    Hakan started his investment career at Atlas Venture where he was part of the investment team in London focusing on global investment opportunities in healthcare and medical technologies across US, Europe and Asia.

  • Jean-Paul Prieels | PhD Board Director

    Jean-Paul is a Director of Vaximm AG and a member on Curevac independent Advisory Board. He was instrumental in developing several licensed vaccines and served as the Head of Research at GSK Vaccines.

  • Rob Woodman Board Observer

    Leading the Biotech team at Panakes Partners since 2021, Dr. Rob Woodman has global experience in biotech and pharma gained in both institutional and corporate venture firms, encompassing de novo start-up through to growth investments, with a track record of value creation in all of these settings as demonstrated by multiple acquisitions and NASDAQ listings of the companies he has invested in.

  • Doug Fisher – MD, MBA Board Observer

    Doug joined Revelation Partners in 2020.  With seventeen years of investment experience, Doug focuses on biopharma, diagnostics, and medical device investments.  Over his career Doug has invested over $150 million in venture backed companies.  At Revelation, he has recently invested in Aspen Neurosciences, Dren Bio, Endeavor Biomedicines, Hotspot Therapeutics, and Strata Oncology.

  • Paolo Fundarò Board Observer

    Paolo is Managing Partner of XGen Venture, a Life Science venture capital firm he co-founded in 2021. He was formerly the CEO of Genextra, a Life Science investment company where he worked since its inception in 2004. Paolo has served as a member of the board of directors of various Genextra’s portfolio companies.

  • Giovanni Rizzo – PHD, MBA Board Observer

    Giovanni is Partner of the Biotech Fund at Indaco Venture Partners. He has more than 20 years of experience in drug discovery and development. Previously he led the biology unit of Intercept Pharmaceuticals. He received his Ph. D. in Oncology and his specialization in Microbiology and Virology at the University of Perugia.

Board Observer

  • Rob Woodman Board Observer

    Leading the Biotech team at Panakes Partners since 2021, Dr. Rob Woodman has global experience in biotech and pharma gained in both institutional and corporate venture firms, encompassing de novo start-up through to growth investments, with a track record of value creation in all of these settings as demonstrated by multiple acquisitions and NASDAQ listings of the companies he has invested in.

  • Doug Fisher – MD, MBA Board Observer

    Doug joined Revelation Partners in 2020.  With seventeen years of investment experience, Doug focuses on biopharma, diagnostics, and medical device investments.  Over his career Doug has invested over $150 million in venture backed companies.  At Revelation, he has recently invested in Aspen Neurosciences, Dren Bio, Endeavor Biomedicines, Hotspot Therapeutics, and Strata Oncology.

  • Paolo Fundarò Board Observer

    Paolo is Managing Partner of XGen Venture, a Life Science venture capital firm he co-founded in 2021. He was formerly the CEO of Genextra, a Life Science investment company where he worked since its inception in 2004. Paolo has served as a member of the board of directors of various Genextra’s portfolio companies.

  • Giovanni Rizzo – PHD, MBA Board Observer

    Giovanni is Partner of the Biotech Fund at Indaco Venture Partners. He has more than 20 years of experience in drug discovery and development. Previously he led the biology unit of Intercept Pharmaceuticals. He received his Ph. D. in Oncology and his specialization in Microbiology and Virology at the University of Perugia.

Key Advisors

  • Alfredo Nicosia | PhD Co-founder

    Alfredo was previously Chief Executive Officer of Nouscom and co-founders and Chief Scientific Officer of Okairos. He led the preclinical and clinical development of several vaccines and monoclonal antibodies against various infectious diseases and human cancers.

  • Antonella Folgori | PhD Co-founder

    Antonella was a co-founder of Okairos and Director of Immunology. She is a named inventor on several patents, and contributed to the preclinical and clinical validation of multiple infectious disease vaccine programmes.

  • Stefano Colloca | MD Co-founder

    Stefano co-founded Okairos, where he was Senior Director for Vector Development. He has overseen and directed GMP manufacturing campaigns for numerous clinical trials.

  • Cinzia Traboni | PhD CO-FOUNDER AND R&D GMO MANAGER

    Cinzia Traboni is a Nouscom co-founder and R&D GMO Manager. Previously she was Head of Regulatory Affairs and she was responsible for the RA activities supporting clinical trials in thefield of cancer immunotherapy, in US and in EU. She was also Regulatory Affairs Head of Okairos, where she coordinated the company regulation submissions for multiple clinical trials in the field of vaccines to infectious diseases in EU.

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