Board of Directors

Dr. Olivier Valdenaire

Chairman of the Board of Directors
Generalist engineer and PhD (neurobiology), Olivier has started his career as scientist in Roche. He was co-founder and CEO of Axovan, a GPCR-specialized R&D biotech (60 employees, Phase 2 lead) until its acquisition. After several years of collaboration with venture capital groups (e.g. Endeavour Vision in Geneva), he joined Mestex in 2014 as CEO.

Dr. Frank Kalkbrenner

Member of the Board of Directors
Frank is the Global Head of the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund. He served as board member of STAT Diagnostica (acquired by Qiagen in 2018), Hookipa Biotech (IPO at NASDAQ in 2019) and Amal Therapeutics (acquired by Boehringer Ingelheim in 2019). Currently, he is on the Boards of T3 Pharma, RinRi Therapeutics, eTheRNA, Aelin Therapeutics, Acousia Therapeutics, and Brainomix.
Frank is a physician by training did his PhD in Pharmacology and specialized in Pharmacology and Toxicology. He spent more than 10 years in academic research in the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin and in the Institute of Pharmacology of the Freie Universität, Berlin. He began his industrial career at Schering AG and moved in 1999 to Boehringer Ingelheim joining Pulmonary Research. In 2005, he took over the responsibility for the Licensing Department. In this function, he was responsible for the licensing activities of the German Boehringer Ingelheim organization in various indication areas. In addition, he built up the Biological Research unit at the German Research site in Biberach. In 2010 - shortly after its initiation - Frank joined the Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund.

Dr. Helmut H. Kessmann

Member of the Board of Directors
Helmut has over 20 years experience in business and corporate development in the biotech industry. In 1996, he co-founded Discovery Technologies Ltd. in Basel, Switzerland, which was later integrated into US-based Discovery Partners International, followed by a successful IPO in 2000. He then joined Graffinity Pharmaceuticals, Heidelberg, Germany, which in 2004 merged with MyoContract Ltd to form Santhera Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Helmut studied biology, philosophy and business administration and completed his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1988 at the University of Münster, Germany.