Board of directors

Irina Staatz, PhD



Irina Staatz, founder of Staatz Business Development & Strategy, has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Since 2006 she has specialized in advising and supporting leading VC firms as well as international biotech and pharmaceutical companies in the strategy and the operations of their project / product licensing, collaborations and divestment/acquisitions including M&A. Irina has successfully negotiated a broad variety of agreements. Prior to her own business she held various senior management positions in product development, international marketing and business development at Hermal (Merck KGaA), Boots Healthcare International and Knoll (later Abbott) and served as CEO of the biotechnology companies Scil Technology as well as U3 Pharma which she sold to Daiichi Sankyo. Irina serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of the public French biotech company Innate Pharma and Chairman of BliNK Therapeutics, UK.


Jack Elands, PhD

Board member & CEO


Previous to BliNK Biomedical, Jack Elands was CEO of Amakem Therapeutics, a company that he cofounded in 2010. Jack was CEO of Vitec, a specialty biochemical company focused on antimicrobial surface chemistries and products, CBO of Silicos, an informatics platform-based biotechnology company and the VP of Business Development at Sidec AB, a Swedish company focused on the discovery and development of protein based drugs. Jack started his pharmaceutical career at Marion Merrell Dow (later HMR and Aventis, now Sanofi) where he was involved with the development of drugs such as terfenadine, fexofenadine and dolasetron. He has published extensively and has contributed to several patents. He received his undergraduate in medical biology from University of Utrecht in 1985. Jack was awarded his doctorate in Neuropharmacology from the Rudolf Magnus Institute at University of Utrecht in 1989.


Thierry Laugel, PhD

Board member


Pharmacist, doctor in pharmacology, Insead MBA. After his dissertation, Thierry was a scientific representative for Laboratoires Fournier in Japan for four years at a time when Lipanthyl was released in Japan and research programmes were being rolled out with Grelan, a Takeda Group company. Having then studied at Insead, he joined Flamel Technologies as project director for Pharmaceutical R&D, after its IPO on the Nasdaq. In 1998, Thierry then moved to the investment world, first at Caisse des Dépôts (CDC Innovation, then within the PharmaVent project), before moving to AGF Private Equity, where he supervised the healthcare investment team.


Franck Grimaud, MBA

Board member


Following the Intercell-Vivalis merger, Franck Grimaud was appointed Deputy CEO of Valneva. He co-founded Vivalis in 1999 serving as its CEO and “President du Directoire”. He has a long management track record, with more than 20 years of experience in various industries, including 14 years in the biopharmaceutical sector. Before building up Vivalis, he was responsible for the creation of the Chinese, Malaysian and Thailand subsidiaries of Groupe Grimaud, a worldwide leader in animal genetic selection and currently Valneva’s largest shareholder. Franck Grimaud holds an MBA from the University of Ottawa (Canada).


Mike Owen, PhD

Board member


Mike Owen has had a varied career in biotech, the pharmaceutical industry and academia. He serves as a director of Zealand Pharma, Ossianix Inc and BlinK Biomedical SAS, sits on the Scientific Advisory Boards of Kymab Ltd, the CRT Pioneer Fund LP and HS Lifesciences, and is a member of the Sanofi Aventis Oncology Board. Mike was formally Senior Vice President for Biopharmaceuticals Research at GlaxoSmithKline where he was responsible for the discovery and development of antibody drugs through to successful clinical proof of concept. He was also a Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Kymab Ltd, an antibody based biotech company, and for many years held a research position at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. He was elected a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation.


Klaus Schwamborn, PhD

Board member


Klaus Schwamborn is currently leading as Vice President Vaccine Research at Valneva SE and serves as a director of BlinK Biomedical SAS. As a member of the Executive Committee at Valneva he is involved in the development and execution of Valneva’s strategy and operational oversight across all areas of the business. Before joining Valneva he held positions of increasing responsibility at Pepscan Therapeutics and Celgene. Klaus has more than 20 years international experience in drug discovery and research in infectious diseases and oncology including the areas of therapeutics antibodies and peptide based biologics. Klaus received his PhD from the University of Göttingen in 1998 and completed postdoctoral studies at the Institute Pasteur Paris.


Phil L'Huillier, PhD

Board member


Phil L'Huillier, PhD, MBA serves as Director of business management of Cancer Research Technology Limited. Phil L'Huillier is a consultant in the areas of R&D programme development, and IP management and commercialization. He has 15 years experience in the biotech/pharma industry, in R&D, IP management, licensing & partnering and corporate development. Prior to joining CRT, he headed up licensing at BioFocus Discovery Ltd. Prior to BioFocus, he served as CSO and Chief Executive Officer of ProBio Inc. Phil serves as Chairman of Senectus Therapeutics Ltd, Director of Hybrid Systems Ltd and Cancer Research Technology Limited and he is a Non Executive Director at PsiOxus Therapeutics, Ltd. He holds an MBA, and a PhD in cellular and molecular biology.