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Meet the Swiss CEO Pulling Out All the Stops Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Andrea Pfeifer started out as toxicologist in oncology before she moved into entrepreneurship. She left Germany after her PhD at the University of Würzburg for a postdoc at the NIH, but moved back for personal reasons. : “It was by pure chance that I ended up in Nestlé for two years, which turned into sixteen years,” she told me.

At Nestlé, she headed Global Research in Switzerland, managed more than 600 people and raised €100M to co-found the company’s venture capital fund for life sciences. Pfeifer described the role as “internal entrepreneurship,” such that it didn’t seem like a huge change to move into a biotech startup. Pfeifer left Nestlé because she saw the opportunity to help people even more than through Nestlé when she met the founders of AC Immune, where she found her place as a co-founding CEO.

Since the company was founded in 2003, the field of neurodegenerative disease has taken off, though Alzheimer’s Disease, on which AC Immune focuses, has taken some notable hits in the past year: Both Eli Lilly and Merck suffered late-stage efficacy failures, and Merck’s candidate presented some serious side effects, as seems to be the case for drugs inhibiting β-secretase. Most recently, Axovant’s abject efficacy failure became the latest blowout despite high hopes and confidence in its founder, the famed Vivek Ramaswamy.

To read the full article, clock HERE

Written by Evelyn Warner for

(Photo Credit: AC Immune & Alexilusmedical, Designua, Juan Gaertner, CI Photos /

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