Synendos Therapeutics was incorporated in April 2019 as spin-off company of the University of Bern and as first spin-off company of the drug discovery consortium NCCR TransCure.
Synendos stems from 10 years of solid basic research on endocannabinoid biology and pharmacology carried out at the University of Bern by Prof. Jürg Gertsch and Dr. Andrea Chicca.
PD Dr. Andrea Chicca. Co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer
Andrea holds a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Pisa. After his first post-doctoral studies in cancer biology at the Istituto Toscano Tumori (Firenze, Italy), Andrea joined the group of Prof. J. Gertsch at the University of Bern initially working as post-doctoral scientist, then senior scientist and principal investigator.
In November 2018, Andrea obtained the venia docendi in Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine awarded from the Medical Faculty of the University of Bern. In December 2018, he obtained also the habilitation for professorship in Pharmacology from the Italian Ministry of Education and Research. Andrea is co-author of 45+ scientific articles published in international peer-reviewed journals.
He strongly contributed to the elucidation of the endocannabinoid membrane transport mechanism and the development of SERIs of first and second generation. Andrea is co-inventor on a granted patent covering SERIs of first generation in the US.
Before joining the University of Bern, Andrea worked for almost 2 years as a scientific advisor in the corporate marketing of Chiesi Pharmaceuticals (Parma, Italy), where he acquired hands-on experience in preclinical and clinical drug development.
Prof. Dr. Jürg Gertsch. Co-founder and Head of Scientific Advisory Board
Jürg studied cultural anthropology in Venezuela, neuroscience and biochemistry (MSc) in Basel and the UK. He holds a PhD in Natural Sciences from ETH Zurich.
After postdoctoral studies with Prof. Karl-Heinz Altmann at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the ETH Zurich, he became a group leader and was appointed track assistant professor in Bern in 2009. He was a visiting professor at the University of Cagliari (Italy) and Guadalajara (Mexico).
Since 2013, he is a full professor at the University of Bern for Membrane Biochemistry and Pharmacy. He is deputy and co-director of the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine (IBMM) at the University of Bern and part of the management board of NCCR TransCure where he promotes Knowledge and Technology Transfer (KTT) activities.
His main research focus is on the molecular mechanisms of action of small organic compounds and natural products and their use as tools to understand biochemical processes. He has a strong interest in molecular pharmacology and the mechanistic role of the endocannabinoid system in inflammation and neuromodulation.
Jürg is co-author of 130+ scientific articles published in international peer-reviewed journals and acts as reviewer or editorial board member of different journals. Jürg is co-inventor on granted patents covering SERIs of first generation in Europe and of a second patent covering SERIs of first generation in the US. He is also an inventor of the two patent applications covering SERIs of second generation and several other patents.
In 2002, he was a co-founder of the ETH spin-off NaproMed Biopharmaceuticals. He serves as occasional consultant to the pharma industry and has several ongoing research collaborations with private companies related to analytics.
Dr. Simon Russell. Co-founder and responsible for business and commercial development
Simon has 30 years’ experience in both Biotech and Big Pharma and was recently Chief Business Officer at Creabilis Ltd, responsible for commercial and business activities and culminated a series of deals and financing with negotiating the sale of Creabilis to Sienna Bio-pharmaceuticals Inc in the US in December 2016.
With Sienna he supported the subsequent listing of Sienna on NASDAQ in July 2017 and the creation of a new 500 Mio USD dermatology company.
In his Big Pharma career, he has held senior global commercial roles at both Novartis as Head of Strategic Marketing for Biologics and AstraZeneca in Switzerland, Sweden and the UK, taking several products through Phase III and launch and defining development strategies for many early products across a wide range of therapy areas. Earlier he held significant R&D roles in Clinical Development, Development Management and Medicinal Chemistry.
He holds a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Southampton University and an MA in Chemistry from the University of Oxford in the UK.