Dr John Ford has built innovative biotechnology companies for over 20 years. He co-founded Xention (CSO), Ario Pharma (CEO) and Metrion Biosciences (Co-Owner) and is currently the CEO of Enterprise Therapeutics, a company that is developing mutant agnostic mucokinetic drugs approaches for Cystic Fibrosis and other respiratory diseases. At Xention he was responsible for the Kv1.5 ion channel atrial fibrillation project which was partnered to Servier (up to 120M EUR). He was a member of the Executive Team at Dezima (Project Director & COO) that developed TA-8995 for dyslipidaemia (Phase 2b study published in The Lancet) and sold the company to Amgen ($300M upfront, potential deal size of US$1.55bn + royalties). In 2020, he partnered the TMEM16A portfolio developed at Enterprise Therapeutics to Roche/Genentech for £75M upfront with undisclosed milestone payments. Dr Ford holds a first class degree in Biotechnology and has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Leeds.
Rafiq has pursued a highly successful career in the pharma industry globally, including senior positions in ophthalmology with Bayer and Novartis. Most recently as SVP and Global Head of Ophthalmology at Bayer, Rafiq grew the business of Eylea® from launch to over USD 2.5bn in 5 years, including its launch in 5 indications in 3 years.
Daniela Couto is a Partner at BGV having joined the fund in 2015. Daniela is an experienced investor and entrepreneur who has lead successful transactions. Daniela serves on the board of four portfolio companies and works closely with management teams on the development plan, scientific programs, and strengthening the teams, from seed to clinical stage.
Daniela served as Managing Director of cardiovascular-focused Staten Biotech, an anti-apoC3 antibody approach that is now being validated in the clinic. Previously, she was co-founder and CEO at Cell2B, a cell therapy company dedicated to treating immune and inflammatory diseases.
Daniela is a Biomedical Engineer by training and holds a PhD degree in Bioengineering (summa cum laude) from Technical University of Lisbon (IST), in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT-Portugal Program).
Edward van Wezel
Edward van Wezel is the Managing Partner at BGV.
Edward currently serves on the supervisory boards of Azafaros, Escalier BioSciences, Genase Therapeutics, Scenic Biotech, Staten Biotechnology, Synaffix and TigaTx. He served on the supervisory boards of Progentix Orthobiology (acquired by Nuvasive ), Noviogendix (acquired by MDxHealth) and was founding investor and supervisory board member of Acerta Pharma (acquired by Astra Zeneca). Edward is also on the board of Mibiton.
Edward started his career as process engineer for Chiron Inc.. He subsequently worked in product development and corporate licensing at Johnson & Johnson. Since 2000 he expanded his experience as CEO of several life sciences companies in the Netherlands.
Edward holds a M.Sc. in chemistry from the University of Utrecht and a M.Sc in Biochemical Engineering from the Delft University of Technology.
Edward van Wezel
Geert-Jan is Managing Partner at Forbion and has a leading role in the Investment Team and the Portfolio. He is an experienced life sciences investor who led the firm’s successful investments and served on the boards (sometimes also in an executive capacity) of portfolio companies Sanifit (sold to Vifor in 2021), KaNDy Therapeutics (sold to Bayer in 2020), Enterprise Therapeutics (sold to Roche in 2020), Promedior (sold to Roche in 2020), Exsosome (sold to Bio-Techne in 2018), bluebirdbio (IPO on Nasdaq 2013: BLUE), Acorda (IPO on Nasdaq 2006: ACOR), PanGenetics (sold to Abbott in 2009) and Transave (reverse-merged with Insmed, listed on Nasdaq in 2010: INSM).
Geert-Jan serves on the Board of several Forbion portfolio companies. In addition to his portfolio management activities, he works closely with management teams of various Forbion portfolio companies on clinical development strategies and regulatory matters, such as IND/ NDA filings, Special Protocol Approval (SPA), and US/EU Orphan designations for several products reflected by being a co-author of several Forbion and Forbion portfolio-related scientific publications.
Prior to joining the Venture Industry in 2001, Geert-Jan spent two years as resident in OBGYN at the University Medical Center of Utrecht (UMC) and several years in the pharmaceutical industry in clinical development and global medical marketing for both Searle (now Pfizer) and Byk Gulden (now Takeda).
Dmitrij is a Partner in the Munich office and joined the Forbion team in 2020. Prior to joining Forbion, Dmitrij was Senior Director of Global Business Development & Licensing at Bayer Pharma where he was mainly responsible for Ophthalmology, Cardiology, Nephrology and Pulmonology. His spectrum of activities included scouting, evaluation, negotiation and transaction for in- and out-licensing.
Before joining the Business Development Group at Bayer Pharma, Dmitrij spent two years in R&D where he was Head of Pharmacology Lab in Ophthalmology. His role encompassed activities ranging from target discovery to start of preclinical development. Dmitrij received his PhD in Immunology (summa cum laude) from the University of Aachen/Fraunhofer IME in 2013.
Paul is a world leading ophthalmologist, expert in AMD (molecular mechanisms and clinical) and entrepreneur.
He is an Emeritus Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Manchester and has recently retired from being an Honorary Consultant Ophthalmologist at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. His research expertise spans from laboratory science through to clinical trials with a focus on developing treatments for major causes of blindness including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinal dystrophies and vitreoretinal disorders. Paul has chaired UK national grant awarding panels, including Macular Society and RP Fighting Blindness, and was a member of the Ophthalmology Advisory Panel for the Commission on Human Medicines. He has a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Manchester and held Wellcome Trust Fellowships for 15 years, including a Senior Research Fellowship in Clinical Science. His translational research has resulted in patents for the treatment of AMD, ocular angiogenesis and restoration of vision using optogenetics. He has published over 100 research papers and has an H-index of 48.
Steve is currently the CEO of Glycomine, a clinical-stage company focused on developing new therapies for serious unserved orphan diseases. Steve has more than 20 years of corporate development and leadership experience in pharma and biotech. Prior to Glycomine, he served as CEO of Prothelia, a preclinical company focused on the development of a protein replacement therapy for patients with congenital muscular dystrophy. Prior to Prothelia, Mr. Axon served as Chief Business Officer of Apellis Pharmaceuticals, a global biopharmaceutical company that develops treatments focused on disorders of the innate immune system. Prior to joining Apellis, Mr. Axon worked at Serono and Merck KGaA in Switzerland and the US with progressive leadership roles in Corporate Strategy, Alliance Management and Business Development. Most recently, he served as Senior Vice President, Business Development. During his 12 year tenure at Merck, Mr. Axon led more than 50 transactions across all therapeutic areas and stages of development. He received a B.Sc and M.Sc. in biomechanical and biomedical engineering from the University of Toronto and his MBA from the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland.