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 and 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 Partner.
Morten Graugaard Døssing
Partner, Novo Seeds
Morten joined Novo Holdings in 2016 and serves as Partner in the company creation team of Novo Seeds. Morten primary role is within early-stage private investments and to lead new company formation with the focus on development of new medicine as well as drug discovery platform technologies. He has more than 15 years of experience in research, business development and licensing, M&A, equity investing, corporate strategy and company creation.
Morten currently serves on the Board of Acesion Pharma, Avilex Pharma, BiOrigin (Novo Seeds EiR program), Hoba Therapeutics, Muna Therapeutics, NMD Pharma, Precirix, and STipe Therapeutics. Furthermore, he is the executive chair of HyperBio Therapeutics and Orbis Medicines.
Morten led the spin-out and EUR 17 M Series A financing of Syndesi Therapeutics in 2018 which was subsequently acquired by Abbvie in 2022 for USD 130 M upfront and a total deal value of USD 1.0 Bn.
Prior to joining Novo, Morten was Director of Corporate Development at H. Lundbeck A/S where he was involved in M&A, corporate strategy, BD&L, portfolio management and equity investments. While at Lundbeck Morten successfully led the acquisition of orphan neurology company Chelsea Therapeutics for 658 USD m and was involved in a range of other deals including the 1.8 USD Bn alliance with Otsuka Pharmaceuticals as well as equity investments and spinouts.
Morten holds an MSc in Human Biology from the University of Copenhagen.
Partner, FC Capital
Dr. Chu is the founder and CEO of Harvest integrated Research Organization (HiRO), which is a global clinical research organization (CRO) stemmed from Asia Pacific and specializes in cross-border clinical research development. HiRO established in 2020 and headquartered in Shanghai.
She continues her role as Venture Partner in Fontus Capital as a member of the Investment Committee in evaluating and making decisions on investment opportunity. Dr. Chu was a Partner of the FC Capital from 2018 to 2020. Currently, she is a board member for three US/EU Biotech companies in clinical stages.
Dr. Chu was the Corporate Vice President for Clinical Research Services in Parexel International; she led PAREXEL’s Global Clinical Operations, which was responsible for the operational delivery of Phase I-III clinical trials. The team of operations was ~6000 employees cross 50+ countries.
In addition to her extensive experience with clinical trials globally, she possesses a unique understanding of the cross-border strategy and management. Dr. Chu holds both Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, College of Pharmacy.