Technology Advisory Board

As the RNA field evolves at an ever-faster rate, our TAB helps us to assess its competitive position in technology and offers guidance in developing it in the most effective way.

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Jörg Vollmer, PhD

Chairman of the TAB

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Kevin V. Morris, PhD

Member of the TAB

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Ekkehard Leberer, PhD

Member of the TAB

Jörg Vollmer, PhD

Chairman of the TAB

Jörg currently serves as Chief Scientific Officer at Rigontec and as an executive board member at BioRiver e.V.. He was previously CEO at Nexigen, focusing on peptide therapeutics targeting cancer stem cells. Prior to that, Jörg was Site Head at Pfizer, working mainly on RNA interference and delivery technology, after holding several positions leading up to Vice President Discovery and Development at Coley Pharmaceuticals ahead of the company’s acquisition by Pfizer. Jörg brings over 17 years’ experience in drug discovery and development across key areas such as oncology, infectious diseases, vaccinology, and autoimmunity, with a focus on peptide and nucleic acid-based therapeutics. He has been actively involved in the discovery of several nucleic acid and peptide drug leads that were progressed into clinical studies. Jörg has a proven ability of managing small companies, directing preclinical drug research and discovery, external collaborations and working in multinational environments in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. He holds a degree in biology from the Albert-Ludwigs-University and a Ph.D. from the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology, and has a strong record of innovative scientific contributions, including peer-reviewed publications, patents and research grants.

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Kevin V. Morris, PhD

Member of the TAB

Kevin is currently a Professor & Associate Director at the Center for Gene Therapy, City of Hope – Beckman Research Institute. He received his BS degree from Humboldt State University in 1996 and his PhD in 2001 from the University of California Davis. During his post-doctoral training at the University of California San Diego (2001-2004) he determined that non-coding RNAs were capable of modulating transcriptional and epigenetic silencing in human cells. The Morris lab has since determined the mechanistic underpinnings of non-coding RNA mediated regulation of gene transcription in human cells, with evidence suggesting a role for longer forms of non-coding RNAs as endogenous effectors involved in epigenetically remodelling target loci in human cells. The Morris lab is specifically interested in utilizing the recently described endogenous non-coding RNA pathway in human cells to epigenetically modulate gene expression in those genes involved in HIV, cystic fibrosis, and cancer. Notably, evidence suggests that this endogenous pathway can be utilized to either epigenetically silence or activate a genes expression. The Morris lab is also active in developing cell targeted non-coding RNA delivery vehicles, such as lentiviral derived conditionally replicating vector systems, cell-targeted aptamers, and peptide conjugated RNAs.

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Ekkehard Leberer, PhD

Member of the TAB

Dr Leberer is currently responsible for R&D Alliance Management at Sanofi, and is the Scientific Managing Director of the Innovative Medicines Initiative COMPACT Consortium on the delivery of biopharmaceuticals across biological barriers and cellular membranes (www.compact-research.org).
Since joining Hoechst Marion Roussel in 1998, Dr Leberer carried out various managing roles in this company, Sanofi’s predecessor companies and Sanofi itself, including responsibilities in functional genomics, biological sciences, RNA therapeutics strategies and external innovation for oligonucleotide-based therapeutics. He has also served as Head of Biotechnology Germany and a member of the Scientific Review Committee of Aventis Pharma Germany.
Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, Dr Leberer served as Senior Research Officer in genetics and genomics at the Biotechnology Research Institute, National Research Council of Canada, Montreal. His research has focused on the molecular mechanisms of signal transduction and the role of signalling molecules in human diseases. He is the principal discoverer of the p21 activated protein kinase (PAK) family of cell signalling proteins and of novel virulence-inducing genes in pathogenic fungi. Dr Leberer received his Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Konstanz, Germany (1986). He conducted post-doctoral training in molecular biology at the Banting and Best Institute of the University of Toronto, Canada, and then became a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Konstanz, Germany (1992). He is co-author of more than 60 publications in prestigious peer-reviewed journals including Nature and Science.

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