We aim to become a leading pharma company focused on oncology and antibiotics
We are a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company based in Allschwil, Switzerland, and are focused on the discovery and development of immuno-oncology compounds and a new class of antibiotics.
Polyphor was founded in 1996 and is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company based in Allschwil, Switzerland, near Basel. It focuses on the development of macrocycle drugs that address antibiotic resistance and improve therapy outcomes in cancer.
Our lead drug candidates
An antagonist of the chemokine receptor CXCR4 for combination treatment in oncology
A precision Outer Membrane Protein Targeting Antibiotic (OMPTA) against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis
POL6014 – Outlicensed to Santhera on 14.02.2018
An inhaled inhibitor of neutrophil elastase for the treatment of Cystic Fibrosis and other severe lung diseases
First new class of antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria
We are a clinical stage, Swiss biopharmaceutical company which has discovered and is developing the OMPTA (Outer Membrane Protein Targeting Antibiotics). The OMPTA are potentially the first new class of antibiotics against Gram-negative bacteria to have reached Phase III stage in the last 50 years. The company’s lead product, murepavadin, (POL7080) is in Phase III development against Pseudomonas aeruginosa – recognized as a critical priority 1 pathogen by WHO. Polyphor is also developing an immuno-oncology candidate, balixafortide (POL6326), which is in preparation for a pivotal trial program in combination with eribulin in patients with advanced breast cancer, and a pipeline of further preclinical antibiotics based on its OMPTA platform.
Proprietary macrocycle technology platform for pharma companies
Polyphor offers its macrocycle library to interested parties for screening on their biological targets.
Giacomo Di Nepi, MBA, MSC
Chief Executive Officer
Giacomo Di Nepi, MBA, currently serves on the boards of Geneuro (GNRO.PA), Kuros Biosciences (KURN.SW) and in the Shareholders’ Advisory Board of NTC, a privately held company. Before, he was Executive Vice President and General Manager, Europe, for InterMune Inc., where he launched and brought to the patients Esbriet (orphan drug, the first product to treat IPF, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis) and built a USD 140 million and 200-person business from scratch, until the acquisition from Roche. Prior to that, he held senior leadership positions with Takeda and Novartis, where he was also a member of the Pharma Executive Committee, and was a Partner with McKinsey & Co.
Giacomo Di Nepi holds a degree in Economics from Bocconi University, Milan, Italy and an MBA from INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France.
Frank Weber, M.D.
Chief Medical & Development Officer
Frank T. Weber, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer Probiodrug and head of Market Access at Santhera (both part time). He has 25 years of industry experience, having served as Senior Vice President, EU Medical and Global Medical Advisor of Intermune and prior to that as Chief Medical Officer at Merck Serono. Dr. Weber held also various clinical development medical affairs positions at American Cyanamid/Lederle, Sythelabo and Merck KGaA and worked as a Medical Director in managed care with MedNet, a Munich Re/United Health Care joint venture. Dr. Weber trained as a maxillo-facial surgeon and immunologist. He holds a medical degree from the University of Cologne.
Daniel Obrecht, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer
Daniel Obrecht, Ph.D., spent 11 years at the Central Research Laboratories of Roche Basel. In his previous position he was Head of the Combinatorial Chemistry Group.
Dr. Daniel Obrecht obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Zurich in 1985 under the supervision of Prof. H. Heimgartner, after which he was associated with Prof. R. E. Ireland at Caltech as a postdoctoral fellow for 2 years. Dr. Daniel Obrecht is the author of numerous publications and books and holds several patents in the field of pharmaceuticals. He was appointed Roche Lecturer in 1993.
Chief Financial Officer
Hernan Levett joined the Polyphor management team from NASDAQ listed company Auris Medical where he served as CFO. He started his Pharma international career at Novartis where he held roles of increasing responsibility in various countries and regional functions and as CFO for one its affiliates. Following a 10 year tenure at Novartis, Mr Levett continued to build his experience in biotech joining InterMune where he served as VP of Finance. Mr. Levett brings over 25 years of finance and pharma / biotech experience at leading companies and holds a CPA degree from the University of Buenos Aires, Faculty of Economics.
Chief Commercial Officer
Gökhan Batur joined from MSD, where he was Executive Director, as Global Brand Leader, responsible for leading the global commercial strategy and execution for the entire Merck antibiotics portfolio managing multiple in-line, launch and pipeline products and sales of ~2 billion dollars. Prior to this role he was Executive Director, Global Brand Leader, Gram Negative Antibiotics. Previous roles at MSD included Executive Director, Hospital Acute Care Franchise for Emerging Markets and China and, before, he held positions both at regional and country level in marketing and sales including regional marketing leader for Hospital Products and Oncology in the EEMEA region
Gökhan Batur studied Management Information Systems and holds a Bachelor of Science from Bosphorus University, Istanbul.
Head of Human Resources
Franziska Müller is responsible for all strategic personnel-related topics at Polyphor as well as the management of the daily business in Human Resources. She joined the company in 2008 as an assistant in Human Resources. From 2005 to 2007 she completed internships at Credit Suisse and Basler Insurance in Human Resources and Management Development.
Franziska Müller studied personnel and organizational psychology and holds a master’s degree from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. She is a Swiss citizen.
Argeris (“Jerry”) M. Karabelas, Ph.D.
Argeris (“Jerry”) M. Karabelas, Ph.D., is a Partner at Care Capital, LLC. Previous to this position, Dr. Karabelas founded the Novartis BioVenture Fund. He was also the former Head of Global Healthcare and Executive Committee Member, Novartis. Prior to that he was former Executive VP and Head of Global Pharmaceuticals, SmithKline Beecham. He was also a Professor of Pharmacokinetics. Dr. Karabelas has founded several companies. He is currently a member of the Board of Valeant Pharma, Regenxbio and Braeburn Pharma. He is former Chairman of Human Genome Sciences, Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc., Renovo, NitroMed, Inc., and SkyePharma plc.
Dr. Karabelas holds a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacokinetics from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and a Bachelor of Sciences in Biochemistry from the University of New Hampshire.
Kuno Sommer, Ph.D.
Kuno Sommer, Ph.D., today focuses on active board memberships in the life sciences sector as non-executive member. He became Chairman of the Board of the Bachem Group starting in 2012 and in 2017 Chairman of TargImmune. He is also a Board member of Ferienclub Privilège AG, Kenta Biotech AG, PDS Pathology Data Systems AG and Sunstar-Holding AG and other companies of the Sunstar-group. In his last operational role he headed the contract research division of Harlan Laboratories Ltd. From 2000 until 2006 he was CEO of Berna Biotech Ltd, which was sold to Crucell N.V. in 2006 (today Johnson & Johnson). Starting in 1986 at F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd he worked in various functions until 1999 and spent 4 years in the US. In his last position at Roche he became a member of the Executive Committee, responsible for the Flavours and Fragrances division (today Givaudan Ltd).
Dr. Sommer holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Basel as well as an MBA.
Bernard Bollag, MBA
Bernard Bollag, MBA, is a senior finance executive with broad experience in corporate finance and capital markets. Bernard was CFO in private equity, until 2012, with HomeSun in the UK Renewable Energy sector, as well as internationally, across a broad portfolio of sectors and investments. Prior to that, Bernard was with Syngenta. As its Group Treasurer, Bernard led the company’s banking and capital markets funding of the company as it spun off from Novartis and Astra-Zeneca. He then established the company’s financial risk practice for the Group and its international affiliates. Prior to that, he led a typical international finance career at Unisys, progressing through planning, operations, investments and funding. He is the founder and MD of Beaufort Capital, a boutique supporting High Net Worth individuals with their private equity and alternative investments.
Bernard Bollag holds an MBA in Finance from the Columbia Business School in New York and a BA in Economics from the Bar-Ilan University of Tel-Aviv.
Silvio Inderbitzin, Ph.D.
Silvio Inderbitzin, Ph.D., is active as an active board member and investor in various start-up and small to mid-sized life science companies in Switzerland. In addition, he has an operational function as CEO (besides Chairman) at a new on the market dermatological company Mavena International Ltd. He is also member of the Board of the following companies: Aurealis Pharma AG, Hänseler Holding AG, Helvecura Genossenschaft, HTHC High Tech Home Care AG, Just Finance AG, NEXILIS AG, Nuomedia AG, Strekin AG, Ulrich Jüstrich Holding AG, Vital Solutions Swiss AG, as well as the following non-profit organizations: Krebsforschung Schweiz and Swiss Cancer Foundation. Before he served a privately-held 450-employee pharmaceutical company Spirig Pharma Ltd. where he first joined as Head of QA, was elected to Technical Director, member of the Corporate Management Team, Board of Directors and also became a co-owner. Prior to the successful sale of the company in 2012/2013, he served as CEO and was responsible for its foreign subsidiaries. He has his origin in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Dr. Inderbitzin studied Pharmacy at the University of Berne, holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Zurich/ETH and obtained an Executive MBA from the University of St. Gallen.
Jean-Pierre Obrecht, Ph.D.
Jean-Pierre Obrecht, Ph.D. is co-founder of Polyphor Ltd. and has been its CEO for more than 18 years, from the company’s inception until March 2015. Under his leadership the proprietary Macrocycle Technology Platform was developed and business relations were established with companies in Japan, USA and Europe. Three own product candidates were advanced into clinical development and Polyphor evolved from a drug discovery chemistry service provider into a clinical stage pharma company supported by a strong and broad investor base. Prior to that Jean-Pierre Obrecht was Head Logistics Chemicals at F. Hoffmann-Roche Pharma in Basel. Before that he was head of the production and engineering department and member of the management team of Dr. R. Maag AG, a former affiliate of Roche and later Ciba-Geigy.
Jean-Pierre Obrecht obtained his Ph.D. in Natural Sciences (chemistry) from the ETH Zurich and an Executive MBA degree from the University St. Gallen (NDU/HSG).
Andreas Wallnöfer, Ph.D.
Andreas Wallnöfer, Ph.D., MBA served at F. Hoffmann-La Roche Roche Ltd. from 2007 to 2009 as Global Head of Clinical Research & Exploratory Development and Senior Vice President. After Roche’s acquisition of Genentech he was appointed in 2010 as Head of Roche pRED Development and, in addition, in 2012 he took on the role of Global Head of Cardiovascular & Metabolism Disease (CVM). After the company decided to exit CVM for strategic reasons, he left Roche and joined in 2016 BioMedPartners. Subsequently, he acted as interim Head of Development at Polyphor until spring 2017 and directed the company’s lead project successfully through end of Phase II regulatory meetings. He currently also serves as Board member of Amal Therapeutics SA.
Dr. Wallnöfer holds a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Basel, trained as Clinical Pharmacologist at the University Hospital of Leiden and holds an Executive MBA from IMD Lausanne.
Polyphor has around 71 employees. Half of them are PhDs, the other half mainly graduate chemists, biologists and technicians. We are a team of professionals that bring together profound life science knowledge, an entrepreneurial mindset and strong personal dedication to bring better therapies to those in desperate need.