Our client:

Based in Vienna, Apeiron Biologics AG is a private immune-oncology biotech company with unique oncology assets. The company was founded by Professor Josef Penninger and became operational in 2005.

Apeiron is focused on novel cancer immunotherapies and respiratory treatments; its antibody-based therapy to treat patients suffering from neuroblastoma has completed clinical development and achieved marketing authorisation in the EU in May 2017.


The challenge:

Apeiron was looking to appoint a top-calibre Chief Medical Officer who would be responsible for driving clinical development and supporting the CEO in getting the company ready for a possible IPO.

The candidate needed to have the presence and credibility to represent the Company with existing and potential investors and analysts, as well as having the personal strengths to work with and influence CROs and potential late-stage development partners globally. They needed to deliver credibility not only in Vienna but on the European and UK stock exchanges and with potential crossover funds in the USA. They would also need to strengthen the executive board.

This search was made more challenging by the fact that immune-oncology was (and is still) the most competitive landscape for hiring in biotech, and potential candidates needed to be happy with the discrepancies between US and European remuneration packages.


How our approach made a difference:

Our global network and strong database allowed us to generate a list of over 900 potentially qualified candidates. We refined this for candidates who had worked in both Europe and the US, had significant networks amongst key opinion leaders worldwide and who had strong personal links to Europe.

Our Europe-based team was then able to reach out to potential candidates and articulate the benefits of living and working in Vienna to a knowledgeable and receptive group of candidates, leading to a successful appointment. The company has since successfully floated.

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