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Abarceo Pharma is a spin-out of Lund University Diabetes Center and is located in Malmo Sweden. Scientific founders Prof. Claes Wollheim, MD, and Associate Prof. Albert Salehi are world-class experts in beta cell biology. Abarceo Pharma is a Lund University Holding company and was founded in December 2017. The company is dedicated to developing novel therapeutics for type-2 diabetes based upon a deep molecular and genetic understanding of the disease.

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About the Team

Management

Kristian Hansen

Kristian Hansen

CEO

Kristian Hansen is a former Novo Nordisk executive with over 30 years of front-line experience in early stage drug development. He has managed numerous and large diabetes R&D projects from early discovery to mid-stage clinical development. He’s well-versed in developing different molecular formats such as small molecule and peptide/protein diabetes therapeutics, some of which are on the market today. He has served in many senior roles at Novo Nordisk R&D including Project VP of the company’s first-generation GLP-1 agonist liraglutide (Victoza). In addition to his role at Abarceo, he runs his own pharmaceutical and biotech consulting firm advising start-ups in Sweden and Denmark. He holds a Ph.D. in pharmacology and chemistry from the University of Copenhagen.

Claes Wollheim

Claes Wollheim

CSO & Scientific Founder

Professor Emeritus
Lund University
University of Geneva

Claes Wollheim is a qualified Swedish physician and an international authority on beta-cell biology and diabetes research. He has dedicated almost five decades to preclinical diabetes research, focusing on the hormones secreted from the islets of Langerhans changing the view of diabetes from a disease dominated by insulin resistance to one in which beta-cell dysfunction is also central. He received numerous scientific distinctions, including the Claude Bernard Prize of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD), honorary doctor degrees (Doctor Honoris Causa) of Semmelweis University, Budapest and Lund University as well as an elected member of the Swiss Academia of Medical Sciences and Academia Europaea.

The Board

Adam Bruce

Adam Bruce

Chairman of the Board

Adam Bruce comes with a background in product innovation and entrepreneurship. He’s been instrumental in establishing TikoMed, a company with now two projects in Phase 2 clinical development for neurology and cell therapy. During his time at TikoMed he has served in positions as CEO, Chairman, Business Development, and project VP. Over the years Adam has provided advice on financing and strategic development in various constellations for life science and med-tech companies. Adam holds a business degree from Lund University.
Annie Chandy

Annie Chandy

Vice- Chairman of the Board

Annie Chandy is part of the Lund University Technology Transfer Unit where her responsibility is to help academics evaluate and develop early diabetes and other life science research projects and mature them along a commercial path to increase their commercial value. She manages the project evaluation process, develops the projects along a commercial path, manages pharma industry relationships, and maintains a portfolio of IP projects. She represents LU Holding on the Board and with her understanding of the Swedish soft funding, the landscape has helped to fund the company through non-dilutive sources in its early days.
Ulrich Koch

Ulrich Koch

Independent Board Member

Ulrich S. Koch worked for 35+ years in the pharmaceutical industry at Schering and Bayer having been based in Germany, in the United Kingdom, and in the USA. During this time he was responsible for Strategic Marketing, Licensing, and Business Development, managed international teams, negotiated several important Licensing and M&A deals, and coordinated the respective implementation of such partnerships. Currently, Ulrich Koch works as Senior Transaction Manager for the New York-based investment firm Ferghana Partners and provides additional partnering services as head of Venice Pharma Consultancy. For 20+ years he is also a board member, speaker, and trainer within the European IPLS network (International Partnering in Life Science Society). Ulrich is an economist by training.
Tara Heitner

Tara Heitner

Board Member and co-Founder

Tara Heitner has more than 20 years’ experience in R&D, management, and board positions in the biotech and pharma industry. Her previous roles include CEO, Business Development Director, and Scientist. In 2014 Tara founded her own consultancy company, Heitner Biopharm Consultation, focusing on strategic, financing, and business development advice for small biotech companies and start-ups. Tara is the co-founder of and former CEO of Abarceo. She’s currently the CEO of Cyxone AB, part-time CEO of Danish ISD Immunotech, and is a Board Member in the Nordic Pharmaceutical Licensing Group. She holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from McGill University in Canada and an MBA from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).
Albert Salehi

Albert Salehi

Scientific Founder

Albert Salehi’s work is focused on the pancreatic cell physiology and the complex aetiology of type 2 diabetes (T2D) as well as the interaction between both genetic and environmental factors including nutritional, metabolic, and inflammatory signals. His work addresses the need for novel T2D therapies to address the root causes and prevent the progressive nature of the disease and its organ complications. The goal of his research is to alleviate the mounting problem of diabetes by restoring pancreatic β-cell dysfunction and also preventing diabetic cardiovascular and kidney complications by targeting the common cellular denominator mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1).