We are honoured to introduce you to the keynote speakers and investor panellists who will be participating in Prague.bio Conference 2023.
INDUSTRIAL KEYNOTES SPEAKERS
Roche Diagnostic Solutions, in Pleasanton, California
Jan was born in the Czech Republic where he graduated from Masaryk University in Brno with a Doctor of Natural Sciences degree (RNDr.) in molecular biology and genetics. After four years of post-graduate studies, Jan received a post-doctoral fellowship at the Barnett Institute, Northeastern University in Boston, MA, where he worked on developing multi-capillary DNA sequencers, a project funded by the DOE under the Human Genome program. Jan continued to develop DNA analysis methods at CuraGen and in April 2000 became a team member at 454 Life Sciences, a CuraGen spin-off. At 454 life Sciences, he was a co-inventor of several key components of the Roche-454 DNA sequencing system, including emulsion PCR.
In 2006, Jan switched focus to applying next-generation 454 sequencing to the discovery of rare genetic variants associated with human disease traits, first at Perlegen Sciences with David Cox, and later at Pfizer Rinat Laboratories in South San Francisco. At Rinat, Jan’s team was among the first groups to apply NGS to profiling of the human immune system. Jan continued to explore innovative immunosequencing approaches at Adaptive Biotechnologies in Seattle, where he developed a novel method for pairing sequences of immune receptor chains. In 2014, Jan joined Roche Sequencing Solutions in Pleasanton, California, where he has been conducting research on biomarker assays since then.
Marek Šťastný is enthusiastic immunologist by background. He was working on anti-cancer and immunosuppressive drugs during his 12 year academic career under the leadership of prof. Blanka Říhová. He co-developed and tested in vitro and in vivo several antibody-drug conjugates and polymeric hydrogels for long-term release of compounds blocking multidrug resistance in cancer cells. When modern immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors approaches entered phase I. clinical trials, he moved to Bristol-Myers Squibb as a Scientific Advisor for Hemato-oncology and later as a Senior Medical Advisor for Immuno-oncology working on clinical trials in melanoma, renal cancer, lung cancer and Hodgkin Lymphoma. Recently in 2021, he started to work also as a Local Liaison for Business Development & Molecule Scouting in the Czech Republic. In this position he is trying to identify interesting scientific projects and molecules developed in the Czech Republic within the areas of interest for Bristol-Myers Squibb.
During the Covid pandemic, he was giving the lectures and educated both public as well as scientific community on SARS-CoV-2 and new vaccines being developed to reduce fear from the virus and increase vaccination rate in the country. He is interested in all areas related to immunotherapy of cancer, from checkpoint inhibitors, CAR-T cells up to bispecific antibodies and rational combinations of immunotherapies with other modalities like radiotherapy, TKI´s and chemotherapy. Biomarkers of response to immunotherapy represent his favorite topic in real life clinical practice. Recently he became a co-author of the book for with prof. Blanka Říhová named “How immunity works?”. Until his recent knee injury he was actively playing basketball during his free time, but currently he is playing only sports for “old guys” like tennis, golf and skiing during the winter.
CzechInvest, Director of TECH4LIFE Hub
Technology Incubation program represents a significant effort to systematically support emerging startups in the Czech Republic. Its primary goal is to identify and assist projects that demonstrate exceptional innovation, feasibility, and scalability. Within the scope of the Technology Incubation initiative, chosen technology startups receive direct financial support ranging from CZK 1,100,000 to CZK 4,500,000. Additionally, they benefit from indirect assistance valued at CZK 500,000, provided through workshops, seminars, guidance from incubation managers, consultations with business and technology experts, and an incubation period of up to two years. Importantly, startups retain ownership of their companies during this support process. Among the seven hubs, the Tech4life hub stands out. Its focus lies in supporting technology startups that develop novel products related to enhancing human life or its quality. It also contributes to bolstering the overall innovation ecosystem in these domains. The hub aims to encourage the creation of innovative solutions in health, diagnostics, life preservation, biotechnology, medical devices, early warnings, defense, security industries, cybersecurity, and other related fields. As a result, aside from backing the startups, we actively seek collaborations with potential partners from industries, academia, and the public sector. This includes engaging with individual experts, corporate representatives, investors, startups, and stakeholders from various spheres. Their involvement is crucial in selecting and supporting these startups effectively.
Richard has been serving as the Director of the Tech4Life Hub since its launch in 2023. His journey at CzechInvest began in 2014 as a sector manager for the automotive industry, and he later became the Director of the foreign office in Tokyo. Throughout his career, Richard has been dedicated to promoting the Czech business and innovation environment and facilitating collaborations between local and international entities, including companies, universities, and research institutions.
Zentiva, Chief Scientific Officer
At Zentiva, we are united on our common purpose to ensure the supply of high-quality and affordable medicines to the people who depend on our products every day. Every year, we serve over 100 milion patients in Europe and beyond. With a dedicated team of more than 4,800 people and a network of production sites - including flagship sites in Prague, Bucharest, and Ankleshwar - Zentiva strives to be the champion of branded and generic medicines in Europe to better support people’s daily healthcare needs. Zentiva also has two R&D centres, in Prague and in Ankleshwar that drive innovation in drug product formulation and bring bioequivalent and value-added medicines. Additionally, we actively look for ways to save costs and reduce our carbon footprint during manufacturing and delivering. It is our aspiration that healthcare should be a right and not a privilege. More than ever, people need better access to high-quality affordable medicines and healthcare. We work in partnership with physicians, pharmacists, wholesalers, regulators, and governments to provide the everyday solutions that we all depend on.
Martin Albert is a member of Zentiva‘s Executive Committee, responsible for Portfolio, Program, and Launch Management, Business Development, R&D, Pharmacovigilance, and Regulatory Affairs. In this role, Martin is responsible for the product pipeline and all a launches. He has more than 20 years‘ experience in the industry. Prior to being named Chief Scientific Officer, Martin held various roles related to R&D, Portfolio, and Business Development at Sanofi, Glenmark, and Sandoz. Martin studied chemistry and holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Technical University in Graz, Austria. After his studies, Martin did a post-doc at the Max Planck Institute fuer Kohlenforschung with a focus on natural product synthesis. Martin is the author of 30+ scientific publications and patents. Martin is married with three children and speaks English, German and French (basic). He enjoys skiing, running, cooking and photography.
INVESTOR PANEL DISCUSSION
YouNick Mint VC
Managing Partner at YouNick Mint VC. Focused on seed and early-stage investments in healthcare & digital healthcare space. 15+ years of experience in pharmaceutical sales management and venture investment in healthcare, digital healthcare, pharma, food tech and industry 4.0. Led or participated in 30+ capital investments and exit transactions, including sale of 100% of shares of SmartPharma portfolio company to global pharmaceutical company. Passionate about working with entrepreneurs, scientists and medical experts to create unique value within the innovative tech companies for clients and investors. MS in Psychology and MBA graduate. Privately an avid traveller!
As a principal at HTGF, Anke Caßing is financing early stage life science start-ups, supporting them in their development. Anke has many years of experience in strategic marketing and business development in biotechnology and medical technology. She holds a doctorate in biology and studied economics. Before joining the HTGF, she developed the product portfolios of international companies ensuring their future growth.
The seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) finances technology start-ups with growth potential and has supported more than 700 start-ups since 2005. With the start of the fourth fund, the HTGF manages around 1.4 billion EUR. The team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts supports the young companies with know-how, entrepreneurial spirit and passion. The focus is on high-tech start-ups in the areas of digital tech, industrial tech, life sciences, chemistry and related business areas. To date, external investors have invested more than 4.5 billion EUR of capital in more than 2,000 follow-up financing rounds in the HTGF portfolio. The fund has also successfully sold shares in more than 170 companies.
The fund investors in the public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, KfW Capital and 45 companies from various sectors.
xista science ventures
Alexander is partner of Austria based VC fund xista science ventures where he works with early stage start-ups in life science, chemicals, and physics . He is a trained chemist with a broad interest in the natural sciences and deep experience in consulting. Previous to xista science ventures, Alexander has worked for more than 15 years as a consultant, focusing on innovation, business development and strategy. For eight years he was part of McKinsey’s strategy practice, chemicals practice, and was a core member of the industrial biotechnology practitioner group. He served clients in the pharma, biotech, agriculture, chemical, and the basic materials industry.
Alexander holds a PhD in chemistry, was a research fellow at ETH Zurich and a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University with George M Whitesides. Additionally, he pursued his research interest in agriculture and decision making as a research fellow at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). Alexander is jury member of the Houska Prize for applied science in Austria, member of the supervisory board of stock listed SW Umwelttechnik, and board member of the Harvard Club of Austria.
KHAN Technology Transfer Fund
Michael is a member of the fund management team of KHAN Technology Transfer Fund (KHAN), a German early-stage life science venture fund with € 70 millions under management. At KHAN, Michael is responsible for company building and equity investments into academic spin-offs. He is also co-founder and CEO of HeartBeat.bio AG, a Vienna-based start-up company with the mission to radically change the paradigm of cardiac drug discovery by converging unique human organoid technologies, hardware engineering, and artificial intelligence. Michael has a degree in business administration and more than 25 years of experience as a founder, start-up manager and executive board member at several fast-growing life science organizations in Germany and Austria. Prior to that, he worked for 8 years in corporate finance and management consulting.
Yveta Holeckova, a visionary leader and entrepreneur, has left an indelible mark in the world of business and innovation. With a background in the IT industry, she held several senior leadership positions in HP Inc. and Microsoft and led critical initiatives in IT strategy, digital transformation, and enterprise solutions. In her current role as the CEO of family office BPD partners, Yveta is driving the expansion of Life Science VC business unit with focus on CEE region. Through strategic investments in biotech, diagnostics and healthcare startups, BPD Partners enrich its financial investments with valuable resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities. This hands-on approach fosters a collaborative culture, empowering invested projects to thrive in a competitive market.
BPD Partners' commitment to driving positive change and fostering innovation is evident in its extensive portfolio of life science ventures, as well as its investments in sustainable chemistry, renewable energy, and smart building development. These initiatives are leaving an indelible mark on the global business landscape, paving the way for a better and healthier future.
Taiwania Capital Management Corporation
Before joining Taiwania Capital as a principal at Bio Fund, Victoria was a seasoned international business executive and entrepreneur with over 20 years of hands-on experience in the fields of implantable devices, CAD/CAM, and AI-enabled medical technologies. Her role in Taiwania Capital includes identifying and promoting bio-converging innovative solutions as well as evaluating health economics challenges in the life sciences ecosystems.
She helps portfolio companies develop, differentiate value positioning, and enhance corporate governance best practices to optimize their companies’ value. Victoria holds an M.S. degree in health policy and management from the College of Public Health of National Taiwan University and continues expanding her capability to exploit and support innovation opportunities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with specializations in innovation management and global strategy.
i&i Biotech Fund
Jaromír Zahrádka is CEO of the i&i Biotech Fund, an early-phase biotech investment fund focusing on technologies and startups originated at CEE research institutes and universities. The fund has more than EUR 53 M under management and already invested 7 startups from 5 countries. Jaromir is also a co-founder of i&i Prague, a bio-innovation centre associated with the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences. Under his leadership, both companies have developed into respected partners of several Czech and European scientific institutions, spin-offs and other international investors.
During his 10 years of experience in technology transfer and scientific equity investments, Jaromír has been involved in managing a series of successful projects including two successful exits with an average multiple over 6,5 X in 2022. Together with his team, Jaromir participated in the establishment, investment, or other support of the development of more than 15 biotech spin-off companies and multiple out-licensing deals based on technologies originated at research institutes from more than 8 countries. In his profession, he combines his dual background in biochemistry and economics, he is teaching at a university and benefits from his deep expertise in the risk-adjusted valuation of early-phase technologies.
IP PANEL DISCUSSION
Dentons Patent Solutions
Roger is a European patent attorney and partner in Dentons Patent Solutions' Munich office, having moved to Dentons after almost 20 years working at a German IP boutique law firm. He is a specialist in life sciences including computer-implemented inventions and has considerable experience across a wide range of pharmaceutical and biotech fields. Having a background in biochemistry, structural biology and bioinformatics, Roger started out as a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry with Boehringer Ingelheim and, since becoming a patent attorney, has worked with a number of businesses ranging from large corporations to SMEs and academic institutions. He brings with him considerable experience in both German and European matters, including preparation and prosecution of patent applications, handling opposition and appeal hearings, as well as opinion and litigation consultancy matters. Roger has been involved in a number of contentious matters at both the German courts and the European patent office, as well as advising on contentious matters in several other jurisdictions across the world.
Kristýna & Mikuláš advokáti s.r.o.
Mikuláš is a leading Czech lawyer for university spinoff companies. He asissts founders, universities and research institutes to set up their spinoff companies.
Major focus of his work is preparation and negotiation of the terms of spinoff company formation including the drafting of the shareholders agreements, patent license and university collaboration agreements. His main asset is his insight into the technical and business aspects of each transaction. Mikuláš has over 10 years of experience with startups where he worked for major Czech startup incubator.
Later on he started his solo practise which solely focuses on biotech spin-off companies, licensing and technology transfer. Mikuláš studied law at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic and University of Antwerp, Belgium.
Cleveland Scott York
Adrian Bradley is a Partner and Chartered Patent Attorney at Cleveland Scott York, a London-based intellectual property firm. He trained as a patent attorney in the pharmaceutical industry, and has worked extensively in the healthcare field.
He covers technologies including small molecule and biological therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, and data analytics. Adrian has a track record of working with universities to assist them in commercialising their technologies. He has a long association with the Czech Republic and is a frequent visitor and speaker in the country.
Kamila Seberová leads the regional Life Sciences Group at Wolf Theiss. In the past two decades, she has advised a number of major companies in the life sciences sector on full range of regulatory, commercial, IP, compliance and other matters related to pharmaceuticals, medical devices and food supplements, clinical trials, price regulation, marketing and advertisement of pharmaceuticals as well as assessments of legal and ethical compliance. She often assists her clients in patent and unfair competition disputes and in proceedings before the State Institute for Drug Control, the Ministry of Health and administrative courts. She also helps clients with various kinds of M&A including legal due diligence and any commercial or other issues that arise in corporate transactions in the life sciences sector. Previously, she worked for the Appeals Department of the Czech Patent Office.
Ingrid Beránková Ambruzová
Ingrid Beránková Ambruzová is a patent attorney, European trademark and design attorney, technology transfer specialist and founding partner of HARBER IP. After finishing her previous artistic career as a ballet dancer at the National Theatre Ballet in Prague, she focused on studying law at the University of Wales, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
Upon her return to Prague, she gained experience as a paralegal in a general practice law firm. She entered the field of industrial property thanks to the patent attorney company INVENTIA s.r.o. and has been a patent attorney since 2015. Since 2018, Ingrid has been working at the patent attorney company HARBER IP, where, in addition to the management of the company, she focuses on trademarks and technology transfer.