Scientific Advisory Board

Thomas Hofmann. MD, Ph.D

Dr. Hofmann serves as an advisor to Ventaleon. He is the founder and CEO of Aumapharma, a pharmaceutical startup company with focus on pulmonary disease. Prior to that, he served as Chief Medical Officer of Activaero, later sold to Vectura. Dr. Hofmann was a co-founder of Corus Pharma, Seattle, which was bought by Gilead Sciences in 2006. At Corus Pharma, he was responsible for the clinical development of aerosolized aztreonam (Cayston) for Cystic Fibrosis, and the clinical development of asthma programs.. Dr. Hofmann received his MD and PhD from the University of Giessen, Germany in 1994, and spent his postdoctoral research at the Cystic Fibrosis Center at UNC Chapel Hill. He is a Pediatric Pulmonologist, with broad experience in pulmonary disease, and holds a number of patents on the aerosolized therapy of pulmonary diseases. He is Adjunct Professor at Temple University, Philadelphia, and the 2015 recipient of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Milton Graub Medical Recognition Award.

Prof. Oliver Planz. Ph.D

Prof. Planz is a co-inventor of the technology. Together with the co-investigators Professors Ludwig and Pleschka, he has pioneered the research field of virus induced signal transduction, being the first to demonstrate the relevance of a cellular signaling kinase pathway in influenza virus replication in pre-clinical studies. Furthermore, he was in charge of the complete pre-clinical investigations together with Bayer Health Care, Wuppertal Germany. He has taken this concept further to the clinical stage. Thus, he was involved in the first antiviral drug development proving this concept successful in preclinical and Phase 2b clinical trial.
Prof. Planz received a scientific training in immunology, virology and cell-biology at the University of Giessen, at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and in Zürich in the lab. of Prof. Dr. R.M. Zinkernagel.  Later on in Tübingen he focused his research to adapt a more translational approach, by combining academic research with the need of pre-clinical development required by pharmaceutical companies and regulatory authorities. Since then he provides consulting services to SME’s (small and medium-sized enterprises) and large pharmaceutical companies, focusing on long range medical development strategies in the field of antiviral drug development. Moreover, he worked as an advisor for the WHO on antiviral strategies against influenza. Now, he is an associated Professor for Translational Immunology of infection at the Eberhard Karls University, Tuebingen. Prof. Planz has authored more than 120 peer reviewed publications and patents. 

Prof. Stephan Ludwig. Ph.D

Prof. Ludwig is a globally renowned expert in influenza virus-cell interactions. He studied chemistry at the Justus – Liebig  University of Giessen, Germany, and performed his Diploma and PhD thesis work in the field of influenza virology. After obtaining his PhD in 1993 he moved to the University of Würzburg to work in cancer research and signal transduction. More by chance than by purpose he started again to work with viruses in 1999, now combining his expertise in cell signaling and virology.
Prof. Ludwig gained a unique research profile in cell biology of influenza virus infections, which is still his major research field today, now working as a full professor and director of the Institute of Molecular Virology at the Center of Molecular Biology of Inflammation at the University of Münster. Member and Coordinator of the FluResearchNet, a nationwide research network on zoonotic influenza. In 2002 he received the Science Award for Clinical Research from the GlaxoSmithKline Foundation and has authored more than 160 peer reviewed publications and patents (Hirsch Index=49).

Prof. Stephan Pleschka. Ph.D

Prof. Pleschka is an expert virologist for influenza viruses. He studied Biology at the University of Marburg. During his postdoctoral training at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA, and at the University of Giessen, Germany, he developed new techniques to generate recombinant influenza viruses and participated in the invention, for which he received the Science Award for Clinical Research from GlaxoSmithKline together with Prof. Ludwig in 2002. He works as an independent group leader at the Institute of Medical Virology, University of Giessen, Germany, on influenza virus replication, virus/host-interactions and genetic systems for recombinant influenza viruses. He is also co-inventor of further patented antiviral approaches and advises biotech and pharmaceutical companies.