Who we are

Since our founding in 2003, we have pursued our vision of using the immune system to find and fight proteins central to the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Our ultimate aim is to improve the lives of patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, by focusing on the root cause rather than symptom management: an ethos inspired by the impact that vaccines have on health and society worldwide. We have a broad portfolio of immunotherapy candidates which are currently in clinical trials or in preclinical development for a variety of neurodegenerative diseases; these include Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy (MSA), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and Huntington’s disease (mutHTT).

Meet our exceptional team, who have a proven track record of making ground-breaking scientific discoveries and developing novel therapies.

Together we can achieve more.


Noel Barrett, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

Noel Barrett is a distinguished business leader in the field of vaccines. He has more than 30 years of experience in the vaccine and biologics industry, with management responsibilities covering the complete development process required to bring vaccine products to the market. In his prior position as Vice President Global Research and Development Vaccines at Baxter Healthcare, he led the development and licensure of Baxter’s FSME tick-borne encephalitis vaccine, Meningococcal C vaccine, and cell‑culture derived H5N1, H1N1, and seasonal influenza vaccines (Preflucel®). His contribution to the Baxter scientific community was recognized with the title of Baxter Distinguished Scientist, the most prestigious scientific recognition within the company, and the Baxter Bioscience President’s Leadership Award.

Günther Staffler, PhD

Chief Technology Officer

Günther Staffler is Chief Technology Officer at AFFiRiS, where he is responsible for preclinical development and technology. Prior to his appointment to the executive board, Günther led the immunology department.

Before joining AFFiRiS, he held various positions at Intercell and Biovertis AG, which he co-founded. Günther completed his doctorate degree in biochemistry and immunology at the Institute of Immunology, University of Vienna, Austria and has authored many publications in international journals. He was awarded the ‘Förderungspreis’ from the Austrian Society of Chemistry in 1996 and the ‘Fritz and Ursula Melchers Preis’ from the Austrian Society of Immunology in 2003.

Rossella Medori, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Rossella Medori brings more than 20 years of neuroscience expertise to AFFiRiS and has an extensive track record in successful CNS drug development. Before joining AFFiRiS, she led Prexton Therapeutics to a successful early exit, had key leadership roles at Biogen (including Vice President of Translational Neurology and Vice President of Late Clinical Development) and served in European and Global Medical leadership roles at Janssen-Cilag, BMS and Lilly. Rossella practiced as a Clinical Neurologist in Italy, the United States and Germany and held various academic positions at Case Western Reserve University, Washington University and Columbia University. The identification of the DNA mutations associated with different forms of muscular dystrophy and the description of a new prion disease called Fatal Familial Insomnia are among her most important scientific contributions.

Cornelia Kutzer, PhD

Chief Business Officer

Conny is the Chief Business Officer. She is responsible for the company’s business development, commercial planning, investor relations, alliance management and external communication. She has more than 20 years experience in various roles in marketing & sales in corporate environments as well as in consulting. She spent 15 years at Baxter’s vaccines unit, her last position being Senior Director Global Marketing with responsibility for worldwide sales of Baxter’s tick-borne encephalitis and meningococcal vaccines as well as the pre-launch management of pipeline products.
Conny earned her PhD in Pharmacology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany, and finished her postgraduate education in economics at the Technical University Munich, Germany.

Martina Hopitzan

Head of Finance & Administration

Martina Hopitzan is Head of Finance & Administration and is mainly responsible for Accounting and Controlling. She has been a member of AFFiRiS since 2009 and previously gained multiple years of experience in the biotech/high-tech sector at companies such as Intercell. She holds a degree in Controlling and is a Certified Accountant.

Supervisory Board

Michael Motschmann


Michael Motschmann has been an entrepreneur for over 20 years. In 2004, Michael co-founded MIG Verwaltungs AG (MIG AG), and as well as being a member of the board of management, he is Head of the Participations Division. MIG AG is a management company for various VC funds, which are financed by private investors who invest in companies in Austria and Germany (mainly in the life science and high tech fields). Michael is also a member of the Supervisory Board of BioNTech Gmbh, Mainz, Germany.

Andrea Lentz-Koblenc

Andrea Lentz-Koblenc is a knowledgeable Animal Caretaker with more than 25 years of experience in both big pharma and biotech industry (11 years within AFFiRiS, 17 years within Novartis). At AFFiRiS Andrea has been responsible for the majority of internal projects. She has also been appointed by the works council as a delegate to the supervisory board.

Helmut Jeggle, MBA

Vice Chairman

Helmut Jeggle is Managing Director of ATHOS Service GmbH in Munich, Germany. In this role, Helmut has been responsible for building an extensive portfolio of biotechnology companies for ATHOS/Santo. Helmut is also Chairman of the Supervisory Board of BioNTech Gmbh, Mainz, Germany and 4SC AG, Munich, Germany. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Sidroga AG, Zoffingen, Switzerland and SiO2 Medical Products Inc, Auburn, USA.

Katja Balazs

Katja Balazs holds an engineering degree in technical chemistry and studied molecular biology at the University of Vienna, Austria. Before joining AFFiRiS in 2007, Katja worked for many years in various research laboratories at Immuno AG/Baxter, Böhringer Ingelheim and Biovertis. At AFFiRiS Katja was involved in development of diverse internal projects such as Angiotensin, IL23, C5a, DPPIV, AD and PD. She has also been appointed by the works council as a delegate to the supervisory board.

Klaus Schollmeier, PhD

Scientific Advisory Board

Professor Christoph Huber, MD PhD


Christoph Huber is Professor Emeritus at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany, former Head of the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the Mainz University Medical Center, and an international leader in the field of immuno-oncology. He chairs Europe’s Association for Cancer Immunotherapy, is a board member of the Ci3 Cluster of Individualized ImmunIntervention e.V in the Rhine-Main metropolitan area of Germany, and is a senior advisor to international pharmaceutical companies, science-driven SMEs, and big-science institutions. Professor Huber is also a co-founder of BioNTech AG and of Ganymed Pharmaceuticals.

Professor Rogier Sanders, MD PhD

Rogier Sanders is a Professor of Virology at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands where he is the Principal Investigator for research into vaccine design. His main research interest is HIV and the development of vaccines for infectious diseases. He is a recipient of a Starting Investigator Grant from the European Research Council, as well as numerous other research grants and fellowship awards.

Professor Werner Poewe, MD

Werner Poewe is Chairman of the Department of Neurology, Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria. His main research interests are in the field of movement disorders, with particular emphasis on the clinical pharmacology of Parkinson’s disease and dystonia. Professor Poewe has published over 550 papers in the field of movement disorders. He has served as President of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society, President of the Austrian Society of Neurology, President of the Austrian Parkinson's Disease Society, and Chair of the Movement Disorder Society/European Section.

Professor Michael Platten, MD

Michael Platten is a Professor of Neurology at Heidelberg University, Germany and Chairman of the Department of Neurology, University Hospital Mannheim, Germany. He is also Head of the Immune Monitoring Unit at the German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, a position he has held since 2015. Professor Platten has received many honors including, honorary membership of the European Academy of Tumor Immunology in 2016. He has published over 140 research papers and has served on several editorial boards.