We are an international, interdisciplinary team, dedicated to contributing our expertise in science, strategy, and business to support entrepreneurship.

GALS Team - United States

Christoph Lengauer
Christoph Lengauer

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Christoph Lengauer

CEO of German Accelerator Life Sciences

Short Bio

Christoph is Executive Vice President at Blueprint Medicines (BPMC) in Cambridge, MA. He has a proven record in cancer drug discovery, including contributing to 22 development candidates, 13 drugs or programs that reached first-in-human clinical trials and three approved drugs. He joined Blueprint Medicines from Sanofi, where he was Vice President and Global Head of Oncology Drug Discovery and Preclinical Development. Before joining Sanofi, Christoph was Executive Director and Senior Unit Head of Oncology Discovery at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR). Prior to Novartis, Christoph was an Associate Professor at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where he worked with Drs. Bert Vogelstein and Ken Kinzler for more than ten years.

Christoph discovered that all cancers are genetically unstable and was involved in the identification of several oncogenic driver genes. He has authored more than one hundred scientific articles published in top-tier scientific journals, including Nature and Science. He is a strong and outspoken advocate of patients’ rights and is featured in the New York Times bestseller “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Christoph studied human genetics in Salzburg, Austria, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg, Germany and his MBA with a focus on medical services management from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Christoph has received numerous awards including the Boveri Award in Cancer Genetics, the Benjamin Baker Scholar award, and a V Foundation scholarship. He was awarded the Novartis Oncology’s President’s Award for top innovator and has been elected to membership in the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars.

Christoph is also Venture Partner at Third Rock Ventures. In the fall of 2015, he was appointed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs & Energy to lead the build-out of the German Accelerator Life Sciences in Cambridge.

Annika Pierson
Annika Pierson

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Annika Pierson

Chief Operating Officer

Short Bio

Through various roles in the German and the US healthcare industries, Annika has extensive experience building strong global networks by bringing together investors, entrepreneurs, and senior industry executives.

As Chief Operating Officer of GALS, she facilitates the successful US market entry of startups and emerging companies from Germany. Annika is also Co-founder and COO of Advise Connect Inspire, LLC, the company that runs GALS as well as several other programs and connects US-based startups with European investors and industry groups.

Prior to joining GALS in Cambridge, MA, Annika headed the innovation and entrepreneurship programs of Charité Foundation in Berlin, including the highly successful international healthcare industry conference, Charité Entrepreneurship Summit.

Cornelia Kröger
Cornelia Kröger

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XCornelia Kröger

Program Director

SHORT BIO
Cornelia Kröger is the Program Director of the German Accelerator Life Sciences in the US. Before she transferred into the world of entrepreneurs, she was working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute at MIT in the lab of Prof. Robert Weinberg. Here she focused on tumor heterogeneity and cancer stem cells, studying their implications on tumor growth and metastasis. She obtained her Diploma degree in Biology from Heidelberg University in 2005 after completing her Master’s thesis in cancer research in Australia. Her doctoral degree she received in 2011 from Bonn University, where she studied embryonic development using large scale genomic knockdowns in Prof. Thomas Magin’s lab.
Lauren Desrosiers
Lauren Desrosiers

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Operations Assistant
Vanessa Vazquez
Vanessa Vazquez

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XVanessa Vazquez

Program Director

SHORT BIO
Vanessa joins GALS after having worked for GfK in their Market Access-Health consulting division. While at GfK, she worked on pricing and reimbursement strategy, market access strategy, landscape assessments, KOL and payer interview programs, as well as quantitative studies in multiple therapeutic areas for pharmaceutical, medical device, and diagnostics clients. Prior to GfK, Vanessa was on contract with Vertex Pharmaceuticals where she performed FDA audit preparedness of Clinical Trial Master Files. She was previously a Scientific Advisor at PHT Corporation where she performed statistical analyses using SAS (SAS Institute, Cary NC) for in-house survey data projects. She has 6 years of experience in the academic-hospital setting, both as a clinical researcher and clinical data analyst. Her previous research experience includes the following therapeutic areas: ophthalmology (cornea, glaucoma, pediatrics, and retina), neurology (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)) and pediatric asthma.

Vanessa holds a Master of Public Health Degree, with a concentration in epidemiology, from Boston University’s School of Public Health and a Bachelor Degree in Health Science from the University of Florida.

GALS Team - Germany

Stefan Beerhalter
Stefan Beerhalter

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XStefan Beerhalter

Vice President Germany

SHORT BIO

Stefan has many years of operative experience in various executive positions in the medical technology industry. Before joining German Accelerator Life Sciences, Stefan was in various international senior management roles, lastly as Vice President Global Marketing & Sales for CARDIONOVUM GmbH, Germany and Managing Director for OrbusNeich Medical, The Netherlands. Previously, he was the Director of Sales for ev3 and Head of Business Development for Terumo Europe. He has also worked with Getinge (Jostra), Medtronic as well as Biotronik, and held senior management positions in marketing and sales management. Stefan has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management.

Stefan Beerhalter holds a degree in Biomedical Engineering at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Germany. This was followed with a Diploma in Industrial Engineering and Management at the University of Applied Sciences, Kiel, Germany.
Julia John-Scheder
Julia John-Scheder

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XJulia John-Scheder

Project Assistant

SHORT BIO
Highly skilled event and program management professional with 4+ years of non-profit experience with focus on fostering international collaboration; able to work well under pressure and in fast-paced environments. Comfortable dealing with diverse groups of people. Very well organized and reliable, demonstrated aptitude to manage priorities and deadlines across multiple projects. Proficient at training and supervising people as well as providing constructive feedback.

Advisory Council

The GALS Advisory Council is comprised of accomplished, entrepreneurial individuals from diverse areas of expertise, including the life sciences, business development, and international relations. The Advisory Council provides strategic advice to GALS on how best to achieve its mission.

Neema Mayhugh
Neema Mayhugh

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XNeema Mayhugh
President and Principal, Wave Strategy

RESPONSIBILITIES
Member of GALS Advisory Council

BIO
Neema Mayhugh is a healthcare innovation expert who helps health systems accelerate innovation and bridge the gap between research and commercialization. Drawing on extensive experience with industry leaders in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, consulting and research, Dr. Mayhugh partners with health care enterprises, designing and executing comprehensive strategies to take products from bench to bedside -- engaging partners, securing capital, and delivering desired outcomes, always with an eye towards ensuring the highest quality patient care, and enhancing the patient experience.

Prior to starting Wave Strategy in 2016, Neema served as Chief Operating Officer of Mobile Hyperbaric Centers, a company providing hyperbaric medical services through contracted relationships with leading hospital centers. Her responsibilities included oversight of operations for seven hospital centers and all corporate functions including billing, documentation, compliance, human resources and center safety and maintenance.

Dr. Mayhugh received her PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology from Dartmouth College, and her BSc from Boston University.
Charlie Cameron
Charlie Cameron

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XCharlie Cameron

SVP, Strategy, Cooley LLP

RESPONSIBILITIES

Member of GALS Advisory Council

Bio

Charlie has over 20 years of management consulting, business development, and investing experience in more than 40 countries. He is SVP, Strategy, at Cooley LLP, a global law firm that has extensive experience working with life science and tech companies and venture funds. Charlie’s experience ranges from working on strategy with Fortune 500 companies, to counseling emerging technology and life science companies, to venture investing. In addition, he mentors emerging companies and has been a judge for business plan competitions in the US and in Europe. He co-founded the Hub Angel Investment Group which is now on its 5th fund. He works with entrepreneurs and innovators in the US and Europe, and especially with German companies. Charlie has built a global network of entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, and others. He is a frequent speaker, judge and panelist related to venture capital and entrepreneurship. In addition, he is VP and a board member of the German-American Business Council, Boston, advisory board member of the Charite Entrepreneurship Summit, board member of Hub Angels and an advisory member of the Technology Capital Network. He has an MBA, MPH, and BA, Economics – honors.

Johannes Fruehauf
Johannes Fruehauf

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XJohannes Fruehauf

Founder And President, LabCentral

RESPONSIBILITIES

Member of GALS Advisory Council

Bio

Dr. Fruehauf is a physician-scientist and life science entrepreneur. He is the Founder and President of LabCentral, and the Chairman of Cambridge BioLabs (CBL), a service-provider to venture capital funds and startups in Kendall Square. CBL offers scientific due diligence for investors as well as contract research services to early stage companies. BioLabs is in the process of opening a number of laboratory co-working facilities in major research centers, starting with Durham NC, New York City, San Diego and San Francisco. Dr. Fruehauf is a General Partner at Bio-Innovation Capital, a seed and early stage investment fund investing in biotech and life-sciences companies. Previously, he was a co-founder and Head of R&D at Cequent Pharmaceuticals, VP of R&D at Aura Biosciences, Co-founder at Vithera Pharmaceuticals and Deltix. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the German International School Boston. Dr. Fruehauf studied medicine in Germany and France and practiced in Germany before coming to Boston for a post-doc in molecular medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School. He is an author of 30 peer reviewed articles or book chapters in the medical literature, and an inventor on numerous issued and pending patents, mainly in the areas of drug delivery and RNA-Interference technology.

Dietmar Harhoff
Dietmar Harhoff

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XDietmar Harhoff

Chairman, GA Inc.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Member of GALS Advisory Council

Bio

Since 28 February 2007 Dietmar Harhoff has been chairman of the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation that has been appointed by the Federal Government of Germany.

Dietmar Harhoff is director at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition and head of the department Munich Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research (MCIER). He is Honorary Professor at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich (LMU) and Academic Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the LMU. From 1998 to 2013 he was professor of business administration at the LMU and chaired the Institute for Innovation Research, Technology Management and Entrepreneurship (INNO-tec).

After his training as a graduate engineer in mechanical engineering at the University of Dortmund, he first worked as a research engineer in the UK and Germany. After that he finished a master degree as McCloy scholar at Harvard University, followed by a doctoral degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). From 1991 to 1998 he initially worked as research group manager and then – from 1995 – as vice director at the Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim. He habilitated in 1996 at the Department of Economics at the University of Mannheim. In 1998 he took his current position at the University of Munich. In October 2007, Prof. Harhoff was granted a senior research professorship for four years. From January 2010 to September 2010 he was Visiting Professor at Stanford University in the U.S.

As a scientific adviser he is working for a number of public and private organizations, among others he is a member of the Standing Advisory Committee (SACEPO) of the European Patent Office (EPO) and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi). In 2007, Prof. Harhoff was nominated by Managing Intellectual Property Magazine to be one of the 50 most influential people in the field of Intellectual Property. Since 2008, he is an elected member of acatech (Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften) and since 2010 he is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina).

Anula Jayasuriya
Anula Jayasuriya

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XAnula Jayasuriya

RESPONSIBILITIES

Member of GALS Advisory Council

Bio

Anula has been investing in life sciences and health care since 2001. She combines successful investment expertise and industry operating experience together with scientific and medical knowledge. Most recently Anula formed EXXclaim Capital to capture the compelling yet under invested business opportunity in women’s health.

In 2007, Anula co-founded and raised an $85 million investment fund, Evolvence India Life Science Fund I (EILSF I), to provide growth capital for companies in health care delivery, medical devices and pharmaceuticals in India. EILSF I made eight investments and has had four successful exits to date. In 2014 ILSF II closed on $145 million and is actively investing in the health care space.

Anula was previously a venture partner at ATP in New York City, a partner with Skyline Ventures in Palo Alto and a principal at TVM, a German–US venture capital firm.

Anula serves as board Chair and investor in nVision and as a board member and investor in InDx, both located in the Bay Area. She is an investor and advisor to Medable and Wildflower Health, two digital health companies also in the Bay Area. Anula represents ILSF II on the board of Oliva, and serves on the boards of MapMyGenome and Ocimum Bio, all in Hyderabad, India. She formerly served on the boards of Triesta (acquired by HCG), Lipomics (acquired by Tethys) and HCG (exited to Temasek, a sovereign wealth fund of Singapore).

Anula serves on the board of three non-profits: Astia, which is dedicated to the success of female entrepreneurs, EPPIC a networking forum for the life science community, and The Gruter Institute for Law and Behavioral Research, which engages in thought leadership on the intersection of biology, economic theory and entrepreneurship.

Anula received her AB, summa cum laude, MD, PhD, and MBA, all from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. She also has a M. Phil degree in pharmacology from the University of Cambridge, England.

Thomas Kiessling
Thomas Kiessling

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XThomas Kiessling

Product Development Executive

RESPONSIBILITIES

Member of GALS Advisory Council

Member of GALS Selection Committee

Bio

Thomas is a technology entrepreneur with 25 years of experience in product and business development in software, hardware, and online consumer products. Thomas was the CTO / CIO of Securitas Direct, a Bain Capital & Hellman & Friedman company until the end of 2015. Securitas Direct is a private-equity owned supplier of home alarms and connected services for protected homes, sold to Hellman & Friedman in October 2015. Prior to this position Thomas was Chief Product and Innovation Officer for Deutsche Telekom / T Mobile group. Thomas has also worked in CTO / product development roles for bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, Amadeus, and GlobalOne HQ, managing growth businesses and bringing transformational change. Thomas holds an MA in Economics and was a Fulbright Scholar at the American University, Washington D.C. He also earned a Master in Telecommunications Network Engineering in Paris, France before receiving his Ph.D. in Telecommunications Economics from University of Stuttgart, Germany.

Valentin Piëch
Valentin Piëch

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XValentin Piëch

Venture Partner, BioMedPartners

RESPONSIBILITIES

Member of GALS Advisory Council

Bio

Valentin is a Venture Partner with BioMedPartners, a European venture capital firm based in Basel, Switzerland. The firm provides private equity and mezzanine financing to early and mid-stage healthcare and human life science companies. Valentin has an interest in research and drug development, particularly for rare diseases. He has made a number of venture capital and growth-capital private equity investments, and worked at an oncology-focused venture capital firm after leaving academic research. Valentin graduated from ETH Zurich in Mechanical and Process Engineering. After a research stay in a neurobiology laboratory at MGH in Boston, he obtained a Master’s degree at Boston University in Computational Neuroscience and a PhD in Neuroscience from The Rockefeller University in New York.

Contact

USA
Cambridge Innovation Center
One Broadway, 14th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142
Phone: +1 (617) 531-0404

gals@germanaccelerator.com

GERMANY
Mindspace
Friedrichstraße 68
10117 Berlin
Phone: +49 (0) 30 577 024 320

gals@germanaccelerator.com

GERMANY
German Entrepreneurship GmbH
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz
80539 Munich
Phone: +49 (89) 2180-9811

info@germanaccelerator.com