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Dr. Maximilien Murone – CEO and co-founder

Maximilien is a Scientific Executive with experience in start-up establishment, management and fund raising. He joined Cellestia as co-founder in 2015 and COO in 2017, with 20+ years of experience in the pharma/life sciences industry. Before joining Cellestia, Maximilien served as the Managing Director for AdipoGen Life Sciences. In addition, Maximilien served for 10 years as Associate Director at Debiopharm International SA, where he was managing the Early Projects team. Maximilien holds a PhD from the Swiss Institute of Experimental Cancer Research, and an executive MBA from HEC Lausanne. He spent three years as postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Molecular Oncology at Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, USA.
Dr. Bernard Schneider – CSO and co-founder

Bernard is a Research and Teaching Associate at the Brain Mind Institute of EPFL. Since 2017, he is heading the Bertarelli Gene Therapy Platform, leading a team producing viral vectors and supporting the development of gene therapies for disorders of the central nervous system and sensory organs, including ALS. In 2006, he joined the Brain Mind Institute as senior scientist and later as a group leader in the team of Prof. Patrick Aebischer. Bernard has 16+ years of experience in Neurosciences, with a focus on translational research for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. He is the author of 100+ publications related to neurodegenerative diseases. He has worked on the development of AAV vectors adapted to gene therapy against familial forms of ALS, deafness and blindness. Bernard holds a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Lausanne (2001) and spent three years for postdoctoral research in Neurosciences at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, USA.
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Dr. Harald Petry - CDO and co-founder

Harald has 20+ years of experience in the field of gene therapy. After his PhD on retroviruses, retroelements and cancer, he worked for 10 years at the German Primate Center on vaccines. During this time, he worked on a Polyomavirus-based gene delivery system which was transferred to Jenapharm GmbH for further development.

Harald joined Jenapharm GmbH in 2000. In 2002 he joined Berlex Biosciences (US) as Project Leader. In 2007, he became the Director of Research at Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics (AMT, which later became uniQure). In 2012 he was appointed CSO. During his 10 years at AMT/uniQure he was involved in the development of several gene therapy programs including Glybera for lipoprotein lipase deficiency. Glybera is the first gene therapy product approved in EU.

Harald holds a PhD degree from the Justus-Liebig University of Giessen (GER).
Laurent Witschi - CFO and co-founder

Laurent brings extensive experience in wealth management, fund raising and operations. Prior to Avrion, he advised high net worth individuals, building a Swiss and International network of investors, managers and board members. He is a Certified Wealth Management Advisor CWMA®.

Laurent has worked at UBS for 25+ years, but also for other banks, like the Spanish bank Banco Santander. Upon special request by a group of shareholders, Laurent joined CP Partners Asset Management, an external asset management boutique, as General Manager. Thanks to this experience he developed a wide network of private clients, external asset managers and professionals in the banking sector.

Laurent is specialised in asset management, acquisition and development, tax optimisation, financial planning, fund management including fund setup and loan solutions, such as lombard lending, mortgages and private placement bonds.
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Management Team