A shared vision for a world without genetic disease
We are fortunate to work with a board of directors who are deeply invested in our success and provide unwavering support to advance our technology and business.
President, Pharmaceuticals Division & Board Member, Bayer AG
Stefan Oelrich has been a member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and Head of the Pharmaceuticals Division, headquartered in Berlin, Germany, since November 1, 2018. He is also responsible for the region Latin America. After graduating from high school in Paris, France, he joined Bayer AG as a commercial trainee in 1989 and qualified as a commercial assistant in 1991. Over the next 20 years, he held several positions of increasing responsibility in the health care business in Latin America, Europe and the United States. In 1998, after working in Argentina and Uruguay, Oelrich transferred to headquarters in Leverkusen for two years before assuming responsibility for Pharmaceuticals in Belgium. Between 2003 and 2005, he was Vice President of Marketing at Pharmaceuticals in the United States. He was subsequently appointed President of Healthcare and Diagnostics in France. In 2006, Oelrich returned to the United States as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Women’s Healthcare. In 2011, he joined Sanofi as General Manager in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. In 2015, Oelrich became head of Sanofi’s Diabetes and Cardiovascular business unit in Europe. At the same time, he served as Sanofi Europe Coordinator. In 2016, Oelrich became head of Sanofi’s global diabetes franchise. A year later, he was appointed Executive Vice President Diabetes & Cardiovascular on the Executive Committee of Sanofi. Since 2016, Oelrich has been a member of the Supervisory Board of the Berlin Institute of Health.
Wolfram Carius, PhD
Executive Vice President, Cell & Gene Therapy, Bayer AG
Wolfram Carius is the Head of Pharmaceuticals Product Supply since September 1, 2016 (Chemicals, Pharma, Biotech, Devices) at Bayer AG and is a member of the Executive Committee for Bayer Pharmaceuticals. He is based in Berlin, Germany. Prior to joining Bayer, Carius was a corporate senior vice president and member of the global leadership team at Sanofi Genzyme for two years. Before that, he worked for Boehringer Ingelheim from 1987 to the end of 2013, eventually becoming responsible for that company’s worldwide chemical, pharmaceutical, and biopharma production network. In his 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry he has worked in Asia, South America and Europe. In 2009, the Biberach University of Applied Sciences awarded him the title of honorary professor in recognition for his long and exceptional service.
Christian Rommel, PhD
EVP, Global Head of Research & Development and Executive Committee Member at Bayer AG Pharmaceuticals
Christian Rommel became EVP, Global Head of Research & Development and a member of the executive committee of Bayer Pharmaceuticals in February 2021. He joined Bayer from Roche, where he was most recently Senior VP, Global Head of Oncology, Pharma Research and Early Development (pRED). Rommel also served at Amgen as Vice President of External Research and Development. Before that role, he was Amgen’s Vice President, Research Oncology. Previously, Christian Rommel served as Chief Scientific Officer of Intellikine, a private biotech company based in San Diego, from its inception to acquisition by Takeda. Earlier in his career, Rommel was Head of Target Research at Merck-Serono in Geneva, Switzerland. He also worked as a scientist in the team of George Yancopoulos at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, New York. Christian Rommel received his PhD in molecular oncology from the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, Germany and the Institute of Medical Virology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He is also a lecturer of biotechnology at the ETH Zurich, Switzerland. He has authored more than 70 publications, including papers in Science and Nature, and is an inventor or co-inventor of 18 patents.
Sheila Mikhail, JD, MBA
Adviser/Co-Founder, Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc.
Sheila Mikhail has over 20 years of biopharmaceutical leadership experience and is a Co-Founder of Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc. (AskBio), a company she started in 2001. She served as the Chief Executive Officer of AskBio until March 2023 and currently serves in the role of Advisor/Co-Founder. During her tenure as CEO, she built three GMP manufacturing facilities in Spain and AskBio’s excess capacity is sold under the tradename Viralgen for CDMO services and TAAV for plasmid supply. With $235m in Series A funding, she built the company to over 349 employees operating in five countries. Under her leadership, AskBio has advanced programs into the clinic for Pompe, late stage Heart Failure, Parkinson’s, Multiple System Atrophy, and Huntington’s. In December 2020, Ms. Mikhail led the negotiation of the $4b AskBio acquisition by Bayer AG and has since grown the company to over 800 employees worldwide. Prior to her role at AskBio, she served as Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Bamboo Therapeutics which, in 20 months, raised $50m, advanced a therapeutic for GAN into the clinic, completed pre-IND studies for a Duchenne muscular dystrophy therapeutic, and built a GMP manufacturing facility. Bamboo was acquired by Pfizer in August 2016 in a deal valued at $827m. Prior to that, she was part of the management team at Chatham Therapeutics which was acquired by Baxter in 2014. Ms. Mikhail practiced law for more than 15 years. During that time, she founded Life Sciences Law which serviced clients including Bayer, Gilead, GSK, Sanofi and Aventis. She also practiced with Ropes and Gray in Boston. She earned a JD with honors from Northwestern University, a finance MBA with honors from the University of Chicago, and a BS with highest honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
R. Jude Samulski, PhD
President, Chief Scientific Officer, and Co-Founder
Dr. Samulski received his PhD in Medical Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Florida. His graduate work (1978–1982) demonstrated the first substrate for use of AAV as a viral vector and culminated in the first U.S. patent involving non-AAV genes inserted into AAV. After completing his post-doctoral training at Princeton, Dr. Samulski was hired to provide his expertise in AAV biology as a member of the scientific advisory board of Avigen, a new AAV research company. In 1993, he co-founded an AAV-based gene therapy company called Merlin. This research group was headed by Xiao Xiao, PhD, and was the first to demonstrate AAV-mediated long-term gene transduction in muscle (J. Virology, 1996). This finding precipitated a merger of Merlin with Somatix Corp., which then merged in 1995 with Cell Genesys Inc. In total, Dr. Samulski has worked with AAV for 40 years. He spent 25 years of those years as Director of the University of North Carolina Gene Therapy Center. Dr. Samulski was the scientific founder of Bamboo Therapeutics, Inc. and served as the Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Chairman of the company until its acquisition by Pfizer in 2016. Upon its acquisition, Dr. Samulski joined Pfizer as Vice President, Gene Therapy to ensure the successful transition of Bamboo’s Duchenne muscular dystrophy therapeutic, which is now in pivotal trials. Dr. Samulski is a former member of the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC), which assists the FDA with gene therapy clinical trial approvals in the U.S. He also frequently serves as a gene therapy consultant to the FDA. In 2008, Dr. Samulski was honored by the American Society of Cell and Gene Therapy with the inaugural Outstanding Achievement Award. He was also invited by Pope Francis to the Vatican in recognition for his work in the treatment of Canavan disease. Dr. Samulski has advanced therapeutics into human clinical trials for hemophilia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, giant axonal neuropathy, Pompe disease, and heart failure. He holds more than 200 patents related to AAV technology.