Anders Gaarsdal Holst
CEO & CMO
Anders Gaarsdal Holst, MD, PhD has a clinical and academic research background within cardiology with a focus on the epidemiology and genetics of arrhythmia. In the period 2013-2020 he worked at Novo Nordisk, latest as lead for cardiovascular clinical development across the portfolio of projects. In the position he was medically and scientifically responsible for leading both large cardiovascular outcomes trials as well as early stage clinical activities within the cardiovascular area. He has substantial experience in interacting with the FDA, EMA and other major regulatory authorities as well as with some of the world’s leading academic experts on steering committees and advisory boards. He has published more than 100 publications, many of them in leading journals. He joined Acesion in 2020 as CMO and was appointed CEO in June 2022.
COO & Co-founder
Biotech entrepreneur with extensive R&D and executive management experience. Co-founder and founding CEO of Acesion Pharma, leading the company from 2011-2016 in the building of Acesion as well as raising of seeding and Series A funding from Danish and international investors. Ulrik Sørensen has a scientific background as PhD in Medicinal chemistry and led, at the Danish biotech NeuroSearch, the SK channel inhibitor program that formed the basis for Acesion. At Acesion he has in addition to executive management roles directed the company’s lead optimization campaigns from discovery to clinical development candidates. Chairman of the Steering Group of the second Wellcome Trust (Translational Award) program directed to take Acesion’s first clinical candidate AP30663 into Phase 2 human clinical proof-of-concept.
CSO & Co-founder
Morten Grunnet, PhD, DrSc, is co-founder, board member and CSO at Acesion Pharma. He brings +15 years of drug discovery experience at director level from both biotech and big pharma. His entire research career has been focused on drug development, which has led to managing projects covering early-stage discovery to mature full scale projects encompassing up to 30 project members. Some of these projects have been strategic collaborations between biotech and big pharma companies. His solid academic background has led to +140 publications in high impact journals, as well as 4 years at the University of Copenhagen as a full professor and currently as Honorary Professor. He is an expert within ion channels in excitable tissue and has led cross-disciplinary teams for several pre-clinical drug discovery projects within CNS and the cardiovascular field.
Torgeir Vaage has extensive experience from the financial industry in Norway. Prior to joining Initiator Pharma he worked as a financial analyst with several Scandinavian investment banks, including ABG Sundal Collier, Handelsbanken Markets, Norden Equity and has been involved in a number of early stage biopharma companies. He holds a MSc from Norges Handelshøyskole (Norway) and a PhD from UC Berkeley.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jørgen Søberg Petersen
Chairman of the Board. Senior Partner, Novo Holdings
Jørgen Søberg Petersen spent the first 9 years of his career in clinical and academic medicine in Denmark and in the United States. During his 20 years tenure in the pharmaceutical industry, Jørgen served in executive R&D roles at Lundbeck, Merck, and Novo Nordisk. Jørgen was co-founder of Zealand Pharma, and as CSO he played a key role in building this company to exit. Along his assignments in big pharma, Jørgen has been closely involved in multiple alliances between biotech and pharma and he has served on the board of multiple successful biotech companies. Jørgen joined Novo Holdings in 2017 where he currently serves as Senior Partner.
Director. Analyst, Alpha Wave Global LP
Nik Economopoulos, MBBS, MBA, serves as Analyst at Alpha Wave Global LP with a focus on private biotech and medtech financings. Nik has over 8 years experience in business development, corporate strategy, M&A and investing in the biopharma sector. Prior to joining Alpha Wave, Nik was part of the Venture Investments team at Novo Holdings and a consultant at L.E.K. Consulting. Nik holds a medical degree from University College London and an MBA from London Business School.
Director. General Partner, Canaan Partners
Dr. Shannon is a General Partner at Canaan Partners, which he joined in 2009. He has made investments in and serves or has served on the private and public boards of several Canaan portfolio companies.
Previously, Dr. Shannon was President and Chief Executive Officer of CuraGen, a public biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology. He also held positions of increasing responsibility for Bayer’s Pharmaceutical Business Group, including Senior Vice President of Global Medical Development. Prior to his career in industry, he was an Assistant Professor in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division at Yale University School of Medicine.
Dr. Shannon received his B.A. in Chemistry from Amherst College, his medical degree from the University of Connecticut, and completed his postgraduate medical training in Internal Medicine and Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Beth Israel Hospital of Harvard Medical School and Boston University, respectively.