Anavo Therapeutics Strengthens Scientific Advisory Board with Industry-Leading Drug Discovery Experts in Oncology


Karl-Heinz Altmann, Andrew Mortlock and Gregg Siegal to join Anavo’s SAB

Anavo Therapeutics, a global leader in unlocking the full therapeutic potential of human phosphatase biology, today announced three key appointments to its Scientific Advisory Board in the persons of Karl-Heinz Altmann, currently Full Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at ETH Zurich and Head of the Department of Chemistry & Applied Biosciences, Andrew Mortlock, currently head of AstraZeneca’s hematology portfolio and Chief Scientific Officer of Acerta Pharma, and Gregg Siegal, currently Chief Executive Officer of ZoBio and Endowed Professor of Science, Chemistry & Pharmaceutical Sciences at VU Amsterdam.

The SAB will work closely with Anavo’s leadership team to develop its proprietary drug discovery portfolio in oncology and establish a versatile and robust platform to address the phosphatase therapeutic target class broadly across multiple indications.

The three new SAB board members complement the initial SAB consisting of Mathieu Bollen, Professor of Molecular Cell Biology at University of Leuven and Nicholas Tonks, Professor of Cancer Research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

“We are honored to officially welcome these distinguished scientific leaders with extensive oncology and drug discovery expertise to broaden the guidance of Anavo’s SAB on top of the leading phosphatase expertise provided through Dr. Bollen and Dr. Tonks,” said Dr. Gerhard Müller, Chief Scientific Officer of Anavo Therapeutics. “Anavo’s mission is to pioneer the systematic drug discovery and development approaches aimed at phosphatases and the accumulated industry knowledge and clinical experience of this SAB will undoubtedly aid us in fulfilling this mission.”

Dr. Karl-Heinz Altmann serves as Full Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at ETH Zurich, and he is also the current Head of the Department of Chemistry & Applied Biosciences at ETH Zurich. Prior to re-joining academia at ETH Zurich in 2003, Prof. Altmann gained 13 years of industry experience as a chemist and group leader at Ciba-Geigy and Novartis Pharma. In 2000, he was appointed Senior Chemistry Expert of Novartis Pharma Research. Later, he became acting Global Head of Chemistry at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). Currently at ETH Zurich, his research group centers on the chemical synthesis of pharmaceutically relevant natural products and their biological evaluation, with a particular focus on leads for anticancer and antituberculosis drug discovery. In 2017, he co-founded Tolremo Therapeutics AG and was previously awarded the Paul Ehrlich Prize of the Société de Chimie Thérapeutique, France, in 2014. He received his PhD in peptide chemistry from the University of Basel.

Dr. Andrew Mortlock leads the hematology portfolio at AstraZeneca while also serving as Chief Scientific Officer for member company Acerta Pharma, which developed Acalabrutinib for CLL and NHL. He joined the chemistry group at AstraZeneca in 1992 after completing post-doctoral work at the University of California, Berkeley, and subsequently led the Chemistry team that developed the selective Aurora B kinase inhibitor AZD1152. After working as Product Team Leader in the Early Development group, he became the leader of the Alderley Park/Reims Research group, delivering multiple clinical candidates into development in addition to starting a range of earlier projects, including AZD9291 (Osimertinib). From 2010 on, Andrew held responsibility for the global small molecule oncology portfolio through Phase II and became CSO for Acerta in 2016. After overseeing the development of AstraZeneca’s oncology combination strategy, Andrew transitioned to his current role leading its hematology portfolio, bringing his wealth of medicinal chemistry and global development experience. He earned his PhD in organic synthesis from the University of Oxford.

Dr. Gregg Siegal founded and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of ZoBio, in addition to being an Endowed Professor of Science, Chemistry & Pharmaceutical Sciences at VU Amsterdam. He moved to Leiden University in 1997 where he received a Dutch Royal Society Fellowship to form his own research group. His research interest focused on the continuous development, refinement and application of novel drug discovery technologies that aid in the discovery and mechanistic profiling of best-possible chemical matter. Based on technology developed in his lab, he spun out ZoBio to bring it to the commercial sphere. He has led ZoBio since its inception in 2004 and more recently accepted an academic position at the Free University Amsterdam. He obtained his PhD in eukaryotic DNA replication at the University of Rochester, USA.