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 chronic human diseases. Our ultimate aim is to improve the lives of patients suffering from chronic 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. Our lead immunotherapy candidate which is currently under clinical investigation is on the treatment of hypercholesterolemia.

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.


Claus Schalper, MBA


With his broad expertise as biotech entrepreneur, Claus serves as CEO of Affiris AG i.L as well as Affiris CVD GmbH.
Claus is a serial entrepreneur in the Life Sciences with 20 years’ experience in the Industry. In 2001, he cofounded Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: PIRS) and executed the listing of the Company at NASDAQ as CFO, playing a key role in transforming Pieris from a biotech Start-up to a mature biopharmaceutical company.
Claus also cofounded XL-protein GmbH and led the Company to profitability through a series of collaborations with Pharma and Biotech. Claus also supports other biotech companies in part-time management positions. He holds a Master degree in Business Administration from the University of Bamberg, Germany.

Petra Lührs, PhD

Chief Operating Officer

Petra Lührs has more than 20 years expertise in academic and industrial research and development as project leader and manager. She has been with AFFiRiS since 2005 and has had multiple senior management roles across all areas of R&D, from early preclinical development to the clinical areas of immunotherapeutic drug development. In her current role, she is responsible for the overall management of operational activities including alliance management and technology transfer. Petra holds a PhD in chemistry from University of Vienna.

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.


Noel Barrett, PhD

Product Strategy Advisor

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.

Dr. Barrett was CEO of AFFiRiS AG for a three year period up to April 2022. During this period he was instrumental in managing the sale of the alpha-synuclein and beta-amyloid neurodegenerative disease assets to AC Immune. He also managed the resulting restructuring process , the establishment of the AFFiRiS CVD GmbH company spin- off and the negotiation of the co-development partnership for the cardiovascular PCSK9 program with Frontier Biotechnologies.

Dr. Günther Staffler

R&D and CMC Advisor

Günther Staffler is a biotech industry executive and multidisciplinary researcher with more than 25 years’ experience in bio-chemical and immunology research and in the establishment and management of drug development programs. He has extensive leadership and strategic oversight experience in early discovery to early clinical phase drug development phases with strong involvement in manufacturing operations. In his role as Chief Technology Officer at AFFiRiS AG he led the development of different active immunotherapies for the treatment of non-communicable chronic diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and Hypercholesterolemia. Günther completed his degree in biochemistry and immunology at the University of Vienna. Apart from his research work at the Institute for Immunology he has been lecturer at the University of Vienna and at the University of Applied Sciences, FH Krems & Vienna.

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.

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.

Ajla Hrle, PHD

Vice Chairman

Klaus Schollmeier, PhD