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Session I: "Biomarkers & Diagnostics"

Dr. Thomas Kremer (Roche)

Thomas Kremer is working as Biomarker Experimental Medicine Leader at F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Ltd. in Basel/Switzerland. Thomas is biochemist by training with a strong molecular neurobiology background. After his doctoral thesis at the University of Heidelberg, he started as Postdoc in the CNS biomarker department. As from 2013, Thomas works as senior scientist in the CNS Biomarker & Clinical Imaging group focusing on discovery and validation of translational molecular biomarkers for various neurodegenerative diseases.

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Dr. Irene Helbing (Alere)

Irene Helbing is currently working as a project manager R&D at Alere Technologies (Jena). She holds a PhD degree in Molecular Medicine and a Dipl.-Ing (FH) in biotechnology. After graduation she decided to go to Uppsala University (Uppsala, Sweden) for an internship and continued with her PhD-thesis. She developed different methods to investigate interacting biomolecules in situ (in situ proximity ligation assay). After graduation Irene joined the DKFZ and the group of Peter Lichter in 2011, working on the regulation of BCAT1 expression in glioblastoma. In the beginning of 2015 she
changed career and joined Alere Technologies.

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Dr. Marta Faryna (BioNTech)

Marta Faryna is Head of Immunoreceptor Diagnostics at BioNTech Diagnostics GmbH in Mainz, Germany. During her studies of Biotechnology she got interested in cancer genetics and the DNA/RNA-based tools. Consequently, she continued with a doctoral project in the field of breast cancer genetics in the group of Dr Clarissa Gerhäuser/ prof. Christoph Plass at German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. After her graduation, she decided to leave academia and embarked on product development projects as a scientist at BioNTech Diagnostics GmbH. Currently she leads Immunoreceptor Diagnostics team, works on technical development of one of the BioNTech Diagnostics’ products and coordinates the activities within this project.

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Dr. Alexandra Kienast (Abbott)

Alexandra Kienast is a Scientist and project manager at the Technical Operations Department of Abbott Diagnostics GmbH in Wiesbaden. She has received her PhD degree from the University of Heidelberg and her Biology Diploma from the University of Bielefeld. After graduation, she first continued as a post-doc in Ursula Klingmüller’s Systems Biology group at the DKFZ in Heidelberg. She then continued her professional career as a Scientist and Life Cycle Manager for the RotorGeneQ at Qiagen in Hilden. Since 2012 she works at her current position at Abbott Diagnostics.

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Session II: "Service & Discovery"

Dr. Markus Schmitt (GATC)

Markus Schmitt is Scientist at the Research and Development Department at GATC Biotech in Konstanz. After receiving his diploma in biology at the University of Heidelberg in 2005, he started his PhD on cervical cancer diagnostics in the lab of Dr. Pawlita at the DKFZ. During this time he was cofounder of the core facility “contamination control” that provided services for testing cell lines. He finished his PhD in 2008 and continued working on these topics for the next 6 years as PostDoc. In 2012, the Core Facility was spun-off and he founded the Multiplexion GmbH. In May 2014, he joined the R&D team at GATC.

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Dr. Lisa Steinbrück (Pepperprint)

Dr. Lisa Steinbrück joined PEPperPRINT as Business Development Manager in 2012. She studied Molecular Biotechnology at the Universities of Heidelberg and Lund (Sweden) and performed her PhD thesis at the Helmholtz Center Munich focusing on Epstein-Barr virus immunology and oncology. During her studies she performed internships at GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer Schering gaining insight into scientific and economical decision processes in the pharmaceutical industry. She is responsible for customer relation management, project coordination as well as establishment of new marketing and sales strategies. Besides that, she represents the company on national and international meetings, partnering events and conferences, and develops alliances with biotech and pharma companies.

Dr. Johannes Fredebohm (Sysmex Inostics)

Johannes Fredebohm is a senior scientist in R&D at Sysmex Inostics. He studied Molecular Biotechnology in Heidelberg and Dunedin, New Zealand and did his PhD at DKFZ in the Division of Functional Genome Analysis of Jörg Hoheisel. He finished his PhD in March 2013 and joined Inostics shortly afterwards. Later that year Inostics was acquired by Sysmex and became Sysmex Inostics. During his studies at DKFZ he worked on pooled RNAi screens in search of new avenues for combination therapy of pancreatic cancer. At Sysmex Inostics he is responsible for NGS assay development using the Safe-Sequencing System developed by Bert Vogelstein. SafeSeqS enables highly sensitive and reliable detection of mutations in circulating tumor DNA. The company is offering BEAMing and SafeSequencing assays to Pharma industry, oncologists in the US and soon in Europe and Asia to improve early diagnosis, monitoring and patient stratification.

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Dr. Markus Böhl (R-Biopharm)

Markus Böhl is Director R&D New Technologies at the R-Biopharm AG, Darmstadt. He holds a Diploma in Food Chemistry and a PhD in Biochemistry. During his postdoctoral fellowship in developmental biology and biophysics he worked on drug/ target interactions of cytoskeletal proteins and enzymology. In 2007 he joined R-Biopharm as R&D Manager. He is now responsible for product development of rapid assays and multiplex assays. He is also coordinator of funded research projects with industrial and academic partners.

Dr. Thomas Pieta (Jobvector)

Thomas Pieta works as a Sales Consultant at jobvector. He holds a PhD degree in molecular biology. His main focus during his research at the Ruhr-University Bochum was the role of transcriptions factors in plastids. Since 2014 he works at jobvector – the specialized job market for scientists, health professionals & engineers. At his current work he is the contact person for companies on strategic personnel topics.

Session III: "Product Development"

Dr. Katharina Schlegel (BASF)

Katharina Schlegel is a lab manager at BASF SE in Ludwigshafen. She holds a PhD degree in Microbiology and a diploma degree in biology. After graduating in 2013 she worked as a lab manager in the field of crop protection for Bayer CropScience in Monheim. Since 2014 she has worked as a scientist for biopolymer research at BASF SE Ludwigshafen.

Dr. Sebastian Grimm (Molecular Partners)

Sebastian Grimm studied Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Heidelberg and TU Munich and obtained his PhD with Prof. Per-Åke Nygren at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm. He was post-doctoral fellow at the Thayer School of Engineering in Dartmouth and joined the biotech company Molecular Partners as a Scientist in Lead Generation in 2014. Sebastian is author of 11 peer-reviewed articles. His research interests are protein engineering and directed evolution. His scientific achievements include ribosome display selection of Affibody molecules and directed evolution of HIV gp140 using yeast surface display.

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Dr. Ruth Wagner (Octapharma)

Starting off with studying Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Heidelberg, my Master course led me to Canada where I was working on a research project at the Centre for Gene Therapeutics at the McMaster University of Hamilton, Ontario. Fascinated of viral vector-based gene therapy concepts, I returned back to Heidelberg and joined the division Infection and Cancer at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), where I was again working on a gene therapy project as a doctoral fellow. During my PhD I was investigating functional infection mechanisms of the Adeno-associated Virus, that is extensively explored as viral gene therapy tool, especially in the area of hemophilia treatment. In 2012, I then joined Octapharma Biopharmaceuticals where I first supported the QC and the R&D Analytics departments as an analytical scientist. Since 2013, I am now leading the High-Throughput Screening team, being responsible for the generation of stable production cell lines for the upcoming projects.

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Dr. Andrew Kaiser (Miltenyi Biotec)

Andrew Kaiser is Senior Project Manager for T cell and Immunotherapy R&D at Miltenyi Biotec GmbH. He obtained his PhD in Immunology in 2005 in France on dendritic cell vaccines at the Pasteur Institute and ImmunoDesigned Molecules. As post-doc, he aimed to further cancer immunotherapy using gene-modified T cells at the National Cancer Institute of the NIH, Bethesda, USA and the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) in Amsterdam. In 2012, he joined Miltenyi Biotec where together with his team he focuses on developing tools and technologies for clinical applications of adoptive cell therapy and more specifically the automation of gene-modified T cell manufacturing.

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Dr. Torsten Hechler (Heidelberg Pharma)

Torsten Hechler is group leader at Cell Biology & Assay Development at Heidelberg Pharma GmbH, a pharma company located near Heidelberg, mainly conducting research and development of anti-cancer drugs. He obtained his diploma degree in biology in 2007 followed by a PhD in microbiology at the Technical University of Darmstadt, with focus on the influence of environmental conditions on gene regulation in halophilic Archaea. For his postdoctoral studies at the DKFZ in Heidelberg he switched the field towards virology and focused on animal retroviruses and the risk of zoonotic infections of humans. He is currently working on the development of new ADCs based on the RNA polymerase II inhibitor alpha-Amanitin at Heidelberg Pharma.

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Dr. Rainer Schlecht (Sanofi)

Rainer Schlecht is Senior Scientist and Lab Manager of Downstream Processing at Sanofi-Aventis Deutschland GmbH in Frankfurt am Main. After obtaining his diploma in Biochemistry from the University of Bayreuth he investigated the mode of action of molecular chaperones at the Center for Molecular Biology at the University of Heidelberg. After receiving his PhD Rainer gained first insights into pharmaceutical industry through a collaboration project with Merck KGaA before entering the Expert-Start-Up Trainee program in reagent development at Roche Diagnostics GmbH in 2011. Since January 2015 Rainer heads a laboratory focusing on the development of purification processes for biologics and insulins.

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Session IV: "Drug Discovery"

Dr. Frederik Igney (Boehringer Ingelheim)

Frederik Igney is a laboratory head in Discovery Research, Department Immunomodulation & NBE Discovery at Boehringer Ingelheim in Biberach. Germany. From 2007 to 2014 he worked with Novartis in Basel, Switzerland. In the department Technical Research & Development, Biologics, he developed bioassays for the functional characterization of biological drug candidates and biosimilars. Before, he was lab head at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research in the respiratory disease area. Dr. Igney did a postdoc with Bayer Schering in Berlin in the field of skin inflammation. He did his PhD in the field of tumor immunology and apoptosis at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. Dr. Igney received his diploma in chemistry from the University of Stuttgart.

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Dr. Aoife Ward (Cellzome (acq by GSK))

After completing a Biotechnology from Ireland, I moved to Heidelberg to do my masters in Molecular Biosciences, majoring in Cancer Biology. After this, I spent around 4 years investigating the role of microRNAs in breast cancer, also at the DKFZ. I wanted to continue with research, but to do something different. I eventually found a Postdoc position at Cellzome, a small company which was recently acquired by GSK. We collaborate on many global projects on diseases as diverse as malaria, heart disease, inflammation and cancer. I am investigating interactions of small molecules with protein and DNA to uncover the biology behind and to better understand the mechanism of action of clinical compounds.

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Dr. Claus Kremoser (Phenex Pharmaceuticals)

Claus Kremoser is CEO and cofounder of Phenex Pharmaceuticals AG. He studied biochemistry at the Universitiy of Tübingen and Munich and earned his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology (Tübingen). He became a founding member of the newly established Life Science Group of Ernst & Young in Germany. In 1998 he joined LION bioscience AG as VP Corporate Development where he initiated the 100 M Euro Bioinformatics collaboration between LION and BAYER AG. At Phenex he started two translational medicine projects which were partnered in two major deals with Janssen (135 M USD for RORg project, 2014) and with Gilead Sciences (470 M USD for FXR assets, 2014/15).

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Dr. Nils Pfaff (Bayer Healthcare)

Nils Pfaff is Laboratory Head in the Disease Genomics Department at Bayer Healthcare in Wuppertal. After studies in Molecular Medicine (B.Sc and M.Sc) at Göttingen University and a 6-months research visit at Stony Brook University, New York, he moved to Hannover Medical School to obtain his PhD in Molecular Medicine. During his PhD and two years of postdoctoral training in Hannover, he worked on mechanisms determining the generation and differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells. In late 2013, Nils Pfaff joined Bayer Healthcare in Wuppertal and works in a group dedicated to leverage genomic data for drug discovery and development.

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Prof. Rienk Offringa (DKFZ)

Rienk Offringa is a K.H. Bauer-endowed professor and Head of the Div. of Molecular Oncology of Gastrointestinal Cancers, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). He also is Head of the Div. of Pancreas Carcinoma Research, European Pancreas Center, Dept. of Surgery, Heidelberg University Hospital and Head of the DKFZ-Bayer Joint Immunotherapeutics Development Lab, National Center for Tumor diseases (NCT), Heidelberg. His Research focus is: pancreatic cancer, immunotherapy, drug development and biomarkers. Previousely, he has worked as Principal Scientist, Immunonology Discovery, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, USA (2007-2011) and was Head ot the Tumor Immunology Group, Dept. of Immunohematology & Blood transfusion, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden.

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