About us

Our company

Convert Pharmaceuticals is a preclinical-stage research and development company, building a proprietary drug pipeline that exploits the presence of hypoxia in tumors.

Hypoxia constitutes a therapeutic obstacle as it contributes to the development of resistance to conventional anti-cancer treatments. Convert Pharmaceuticals combines knowledge of the tumor microenvironment with expertise in drug and biomarker development to develop efficacious and well-tolerated Hypoxia-Activated Prodrugs (HAPs) that target a well-defined patient population.

Convert Pharmaceuticals builds on the expertise in tumor hypoxia and cancer treatment of one of its founders, Prof. Philippe Lambin, together with that of the pioneering scientists, Assoc. Prof. Adam Patterson and Dr. Jeff Smaill of the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Used in combination with appropriate biomarkers and imaging tools to identify the patient population most likely to benefit, the concept of Hypoxia-Activated Prodrugs (HAPs) has the potential to improve patient outcomes, especially by complementing existing therapies (chemo-, radio-, hormone-, immunotherapy or targeted agents).

Management Team

Janwillem Naesens

CEO

Janwillem is Managing Partner at Droia Oncology Ventures, an investor in early-stage oncology drug development companies and founding investor of Convert Pharmaceuticals. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of 6 biotech companies in Europe and the US, and is acting CEO of Convert. Previously, Janwillem was Investment Manager at Waterland Private Equity, a mid-cap European investment firm providing growth capital to companies in the healthcare, sustainability, outsourcing and leisure industries. Janwillem started his career at McKinsey & Company in New York as a strategy consultant for pharmaceutical and financial companies and holds an MSc in Engineering from the University of Leuven and an MBA from INSEAD.

Arne Heyerick, Ph.D.

Vice President, Non-Clinical Development

Arne has been involved in Convert Pharmaceuticals since its incorporation and heads non-clinical development including CMC, PK/PD, toxicology and the biomarker program. Previously, as an R&D Director, Arne managed the drug development programs of several oncology-focused companies, including pre-clinical stage companies PX Biosolutions (cancer vaccines) and Metaptys (cancer metabolism), and clinical-stage companies such as Normoxys (tumor hypoxia alleviation). Arne is author of more than 60 publications in international scientific peer-reviewed journals and inventor of 3 patents. He holds a MSc and PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Ghent (Belgium) where he worked as a post-doctoral researcher on various aspects of preclinical and clinical development with a focus on natural products.

Dominique Tersago, M.D.

Vice President, Clinical Development & Regulatory

Dominique joined Convert Pharmaceuticals in April 2017, and brings more than 20 years of global clinical development and regulatory affairs experience with both small molecules and biologicals. Her previous role was Chief Medical Officer with Ablynx, where she was responsible for clinical development and regulatory affairs of clinical programs in hematology, immunology and virology. Prior to this, she was Director Regulatory Sciences-Europe for oncology and virology products with Bristol-Myers Squibb. Dominique started her career with Janssen Research Foundation (J&J) in oncology clinical development. She obtained her Medical degree from the University of Antwerp (Belgium).

Scientific Advisers

Philippe Lambin, M.D., Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Adviser, Co-founder

Prof. Philippe Lambin is a clinician, radiation oncologist and pioneer in translational research with a focus on tumor hypoxia and decision support systems, including hypoxia imaging and Radiomics, a concept he co-invented. Philippe is Professor at the University of Maastricht, co-author of more than 402 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and co-inventor of more than 18 patents.  Moreover, Philippe has extensive experience with clinical trials. He has received an ERC advanced grant laureate in 2016 and is currently involved in several successful European grants including the Marie Curie Training network PREDICT, of which he is the initiator, and two NIH grants from the US. Philippe obtained his MD from UCL (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium) and Ph.D. in Radiation Biology from the Université Paris-Sud (France).

Investors

Convert Pharmaceutical is privately held and backed by venture capital firms, DROIA Oncology Ventures, MeusInvest and Spinventure, and by business angels.

Droia Oncology Ventures
MeusInvest
SpinVenture