Mr. Aldag brings significant leadership experience and sector knowledge to Hookipa from leading biotechnology companies including uniQure, Molecular Partners and Unum Therapeutics. In particular, he has an impressive track record of building companies based on unique technology platforms, and bringing them to public markets in order to access the depth of capital needed to develop clinical stage assets. Alongside his CEO role at Hookipa Mr. Aldag will remain Chairman of Molecular Partners and a Board member of Unum Therapeutics, both of which are developing next-gen immuno-oncology therapies.
Prior to his appointment as CEO of Hookipa, Mr. Aldag was CEO of Nasdaq-listed uniQure N.V, a company pioneering adeno-associated virus based gene therapy. Under his leadership uniQure received the first ever approval of a gene therapy product by the European Medicines Agency, built a broad pipeline of gene therapy products across several disease areas, obtained approximately $200 m through its NASDAQ-listing and follow-on, and closed a multi-billion $ collaboration in cardiovascular gene therapy. Previous experience includes President and CEO of Evotec AG (1997-2008). In his position at Evotec AG, he designed many alliances with leading pharma companies, listed the Company on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and Nasdaq and managed the acquisition of LSE-listed Oxford Asymmetry and Nasdaq-listed Renovis Inc. Mr. Aldag holds business degrees from the European Business School and Harvard Business School (AMP).
Mr. Aldag replaces Dr. Katherine Cohen, who started the Company in 2011 and led its development from early science to clinical stage. As CEO, Dr. Cohen successfully raised €27 million in funding for the Company through Series A and Series B financing rounds, as well as raising an additional €11 million in non-dilutive funds.
Commenting on his new role, Mr. Aldag said, “Hookipa’s Vaxwave® technology platform has tremendous application in both infectious disease and in oncology, and I applaud what Katherine and the team have built to bring this vaccine technology to the next level. The Company is at a very exciting time of its development. Our lead program, HB-101 against Cytomegalovirus, having completed pre-clinical testing and GMP manufacturing, is poised to start a Phase 1 trial in Q3 2016 and our Human Papillomavirus immunotherapy candidate is entering pre-clinical testing.”
Dr. Cohen commented, “It has been a tremendous journey to lead Hookipa and bring the Company to what it is today. I look forward to seeing further success of the Company under Jörn’s leadership.“
“On behalf of the Board, the team and our highly supportive investors I would like to thank Katherine for her contribution to the Company. I am delighted to welcome Jörn Aldag as CEO, to lead the Company through the next stage of its development. Given his experience and track record, I am confident that he will enable Hookipa to realise the tremendous potential of its technology in both oncology and infectious disease”, Chairman John Lambert said.