About Us

Vivoryon Therapeutics has two decades of successful history in bringing pharmaceutical innovation to patients in need. Our programs are based on dedicated research, top-level discovery and determined development.

We develop first-in-class medicines that target post-translational modifying enzymes. Our pipeline contains several product candidates across various stages of development, focused on Alzheimer’s Disease and oncology.

Our Science

The human genome consists of about 20,000 different genes. However, the human proteome – the complete universe of proteins in humans – is estimated to be several million, a number that is necessary to cope with the multitude of protein functions that are required for human vitality.

 

So how come that several million protein functions can originate out of 20,000 genes?

One of a few physiological processes by which the functional range of proteins is expanded is called post-translational modification. This describes a mechanism in which proteins are modified by enzymes that for example introduce specific chemical groups after the protein sequence is translated from RNA. These post-translational modifications are often acting like on-off switches for protein functions. Consequently, as in disease protein activity is often deregulated the enzymes that are responsible for post-translational modifications are one of the most prominent therapeutic target classes.

Vivoryon has a successful history in bringing drugs targeting post-translational modifying enzymes from research into clinic.

Vivoryon Therapeutics is focusing on the discovery of therapeutics with action on disease relevant enzymes. Our active research programs are focusing on Glutaminyl cyclases. One of the two homologs is QPCT or QC and is primarily expressed in brain, the other one, isoQC (QPCTL), is more broadly expressed in healthy and cancer tissues. Both enzymes are catalyzing the transformation of an N-terminal residing Glutamine or Glutamate amino acid into their cyclic form called pyroglutamate.

The main physiological functions of this cyclization could be exemplified by PQ912 mode of Action in Alzheimer’s Diseases and cancer respectively.

QPCT in Alzheimer’s disease

Glutaminyl-peptide cyclotransferase (QPCT) is a post-translational modifying enzyme which catalyzes the pyroglutamate formation (cyclization) of N-terminal residing Glutamine or Glutamate amino acids in substrate proteins. This cyclization has two main physiological functions: One is the mediation of protein-protein interactions, the other is the stabilization of peptides and chemokines. Both of these events can have significant impact on protein functionality in health and disease.

In Alzheimer’s disease QPCT has been identified as the crucial human brain enzyme for the generation of very stable and sticky pyroglutamate (pGlu) species of Abeta. Findings from various parties strongly support that these pGlu species are especially neuro- and synaptotoxic and correlate with AD disease progression.

 

 

QPCTL in cancer

The CD47/SIRP alpha (SIRPα) interaction is an important myeloid immune checkpoint whose clinical relevance has been shown by successful application of CD47 antibodies in cancer therapy. CD47 is expressed on cancer cells and SIRPα on myeloid cells like macrophages and NK cells. Glutaminyl-peptide cyclotransferase-like (QPCTL) is critical for pyroglutamate formation on the N-terminus of CD47 shortly after biosynthesis. The formation of pyroglutamate on CD47 is essential for the binding of SIRPα. Thus, QPCTL is a novel and attractive target to silence the “do not eat me” signal provided by the CD47/SIRP alpha interaction.

As opposed to antibody approaches in clinical development our small molecule QPCTL inhibitors are a first-in-class and innovative therapeutic approach for boosting the efficiency of cancer immunotherapy.

 

Management

Dr. Ulrich Dauer

Chief Executive Officer


Dr. Ulrich Dauer joined Probiodrug as CEO on May 1, 2018. He has had a career spanning more than 20 years in the biopharmaceutical industry in both public and private companies.

As one of the founders, Dr. Dauer previously worked for 14 years as CEO of 4SC AG, attracting multiple private and, upon the company’s listing at the Prime Standard segment of Deutsche Börse in 2005, public investors. Under his leadership, 4SC closed multiple industry partnerships with international biopharmaceutical companies. In subsequent leadership positions in the biotech industry, he executed in 2014 the €130 M trade sale of Activaero and later took up CEO positions of two privately held biotech companies.

Dr Dauer holds a PhD in Chemistry from the Julius-Maximilians University of Würzburg.

Dr. Michael Schaeffer

Chief Business Officer


Dr. Michael Schaeffer has been Chief Business Officer since October 1, 2018. Dr. Schaeffer brings more than 15 years of experience across pharma and biotech in strategic business development, scientific project and alliance management to Vivoryon Therapeutics.

Dr. Schaeffer is a highly experienced serial entrepreneur and was prior to joining Probiodrug, – amongst others – Founder, CEO and Managing Director of biotech companies, CRELUX GmbH and SiREEN AG. Following the acquisition of CRELUX by WuXiAppTec in 2016, Dr. Schaeffer was responsible for integrating CRELUX into the world-leading Shanghai based CRO with over 25,000 employees globally.

Dr. Schaeffer received his PhD in Molecular Biology from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany and is an exceptionally skilled Operations- and Innovation Manager.

Supervisory Board

Dr. Erich Platzer is investment advisor and industry partner at HBM Partners AG, a venture capital company, which he co-founded in 2001. Further Dr. Platzer acts as a business angel with StartAngels and BioBAC advising and investing in early- stage companies, in particular with biochemical, pharmaceutical or similar businesses. He currently serves as chairperson of privately held biotech companies, AOT AG and credentis AG. Until 1999, Dr. Platzer worked in various functions in product development and marketing at F. Hoffmann – La Roche, Basel, most recently as Business Director Oncology supervising the therapeutic area of oncology and responsible for various strategic corporate partnerships. Prior to that, Dr. Platzer actively worked in academic medicine and research and had a key role in the team succeeding in the first purification of natural human G-CSF, a glycoprotein that stimulates the bone marrow to produce granulocytes and stem cells and release them into the bloodstream, which lead to the development of Neupogen® and Neulasta®. Dr. Platzer holds a MD from the Medical School of the University of Erlangen where he also earned his MD.Ph.D. (Habilitation).

Dr. Dinnies Johannes von der Osten is CEO/Partner at GoodVent Beteiligungsmanagement GmbH & Co KG. Between 1998 and 2007 he was sole managing director of IBG Beteiligungsgesellschaft Sachsen-Anhalt mbH. Before that Dr. von der Osten worked as managing director of VWM Waste und Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH (1994-1997) after having been BDO of TechnoCommerz GmbH, a Treuhandanstalt owned company (1993-1994). Dr. von der Osten holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Free University of Berlin, a diploma in Economics from Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich and a Bachelor of Business and Engineering from TU Karlsruhe.

 

 

Charlotte Lohmann has been Senior Vice President since January 2018 and General Counsel since May 2012 at MorphoSys AG in Martinsried/Munich. Prior to this, she spent eleven years at Wilex AG in Munich, her last position as Senior Vice President Legal Affairs & Human Resources. Prior to her position at Wilex, she practiced as a lawyer at the law firm KPMG Treuhand & Goerdeler GmbH in Munich. She started her career in the tax and law department of the auditing company KPMG Deutsche Treuhand-Gesellschaft AG in the Munich office. Ms. Lohmann received her degree in law from the University of Munich and is a licensed attorney.

Dr. Jörg Neermann is partner at LSP Life Science Partners, a venture capital company focusing on financing life-science companies since 2007. He is responsible for sourcing, selecting and managing deals and portfolio companies in German speaking and other European areas. Until 2007, Dr. Neermann worked at DVC Deutsche Venture Capital, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank AG, where he became partner and head of Life Science in 2000 and managing partner in 2002. Since 2005, Dr. Neermann has been active at Dicke & Wicharz GmbH, Neuss, Germany, as a top management consultant. Until 1998 he worked for Atlas Venture, a venture capital company. Dr. Neermann holds a master’s degree in Biotechnology from TU Braunschweig and received his Ph.D. in 1996.