Ascending as a new biopharmaceutical force

Leadership

Management (select to display)

  • Jan Møller Mikkelsen President and CEO

    Jan Møller Mikkelsen founded Ascendis Pharma and has served as President and Chief Executive Officer as well as Board member since December 2007. From 2002 to 2006, Mr. Mikkelsen was President and Chief Executive Officer of LifeCycle Pharma A/S, now traded under the name Veloxis Pharmaceuticals A/S. From 2000 to 2002, Mr. Mikkelsen was President of the Pharmaceutical Division of Maxygen, Inc.. Prior to that, Mr. Mikkelsen co-founded ProFound Pharma A/S, a biopharmaceutical company acquired by Maxygen, Inc., and at ProFound, he served as Co-Chief Executive Officer from 1999 to 2000. From 1988 to 1999, Mr. Mikkelsen held various positions at Novo Nordisk A/S, a global healthcare company, including Vice President of Protein Discovery. Mr. Mikkelsen currently serves on the advisory board of Inspirion Delivery Technologies, a specialty pharmaceutical company.  Mr. Mikkelsen received a Cand. Scient. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Odense, Denmark, and pursued his post-doctoral research at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, CA.

  • Mark A. Bach, M.D., Ph.D. Senior Vice President, Clinical Development and Medical Affairs for Endocrinology
    Rare Diseases

    Mark Bach has served as our Senior Vice President of Clinical Development and Medical Affairs for Endocrinology Rare Diseases since November 2020. Dr. Bach is a pediatric endocrinologist with 30 years of clinical research and pharmaceutical development experience, including extensive global experience building and leading clinical teams that have successfully launched innovative pharmaceutical products into global markets. Most recently, from August 2019 to October 2020, Dr. Bach served as interim CEO and previously led a team to design and establish Accumulus Synergy, Inc, a cross-industry initiative to design and build a cloud-based platform to facilitate data exchange between pharmaceutical companies and health authorities. Prior to this, Dr. Bach was based in Asia, and served as Head of Asia Pacific Medical Sciences at Janssen Pharmaceutical Co. from November 2014 to August 2019. Previously, he was Vice President of Research & Development and Scientific Affairs for Janssen Pharmaceutical KK in Japan from January 2010 to November 2012. For 16 years, he held positions of increasing responsibility in Clinical Research at Merck & Co., Inc., ending his tenure there as Vice President of Clinical Research Operations Worldwide. Dr. Bach has lectured in national and international forums, has numerous publications and served on professional society advisory boards to advance the field of endocrinology and clinical research. Dr. Bach received his M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine; his Ph.D. in Pathology from the University of Chicago; and his B.A. in Chemistry from the Carleton College.

  • Vibeke Miller Breinholt, Ph.D. Senior Vice President, Nonclinical Development and Bioanalysis

    Vibeke Miller Breinholt has served as our Senior Vice President of Nonclinical Development and Bioanalysis since January 2020 and Vice President of Nonclinical Development since January 2016. Dr. Breinholt has more than 15 years of experience within nonclinical development in the biopharmaceutical industry and more than seven years of experience in experimental cancer research. Prior to joining Ascendis Pharma, Dr. Breinholt served in roles of increasing responsibility at Novo Nordisk from November 2013 to December 2015, including serving as Head of Biopharm Toxicology and Safety Pharmacology, where she was responsible for overseeing more than 30 projects in early and late-stage development within diabetes, obesity, hemophilia and growth hormone deficiency. Prior to Novo Nordisk, she held positions of increasing responsibility at Genmab from October 2007 to November 2013, ending her tenure as Senior Director of Preclinical Safety and Preclinical Regulatory Affairs. While at Genmab, she led development activities across both inflammatory and immuno-oncology projects, including the regulatory documentation and strategy for first-in-human and later stage clinical trials. Dr. Breinholt began her industry career at Maxygen in October 2003, where she served as Head of Toxicology and Associate Director Regulatory affairs until October 2007. Dr. Breinholt received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Toxicology from Oregon State University within experimental cancer research and a B.S. in Bromatology from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Denmark. Dr. Breinholt also earned advanced diplomas in business administration and pharmaceutical regulatory affairs.

  • Jesper Høiland Senior Vice President, Global Chief Commercial Officer

    Jesper Høiland has served as our Senior Vice President and Global Chief Commercial Officer since May 2020. He has over 25 years of senior leadership experience in operations, commercialization and global marketing and has launched five products to market leadership positions in endocrinology and hematology. Previously, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Radius Health from July 2017 to April 2020, where he led Tymlos® to a market leadership position in three years as a treatment for osteoporosis. Prior to joining Radius, Mr. Høiland served as Executive Vice President at Novo Nordisk and President of Novo Nordisk USA, overseeing approximately 5,300 employees from 2013 to 2016. Under his leadership, Novo Nordisk solidified its market leadership in diabetes and also significantly grew its hemophilia and growth hormone franchises. Before serving as President of Novo Nordisk USA, Mr. Høiland held multiple global roles of increasing responsibility at Novo Nordisk from 1987 to 2013, including leading its International Operations which spanned approximately 150 countries. His extensive experience establishing global leadership of endocrinology products began with the first launch of Novo Nordisk’s daily growth hormone in 1988. Mr. Høiland holds an MSc in Management from Copenhagen Business School.

  • Flemming Steen Jensen Senior Vice President, Product Supply

    Flemming Steen Jensen has served as our Senior Vice President, Product Supply since August 2015. Prior to this, Mr. Jensen served as Corporate Vice President for Global Pharma Consulting and Business Development and member of the management team at NNE Pharmaplan A/S, an engineering and consulting company (part of Novo Nordisk A/S), from October 2014 to July2015. From 1999 to September 2014, Mr. Jensen served as Executive Vice President of Product Supply (Production, Supply Chain, Engineering and Maintenance, Business Improvements, Quality Assurance and Health, Safety and Environment) and member of the Board of Management of ALK-Abelló A/S, a pharmaceutical company. From 1986 to 1999, Mr. Jensen held several management positions relating to Development, Manufacturing and Engineering within Novo Nordisk A/S, a pharmaceutical company. Mr. Jensen is also a member of various Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards of privately held companies in the life sciences industry. Mr. Jensen holds a M.Sc. in Pharmacy from the University of Copenhagen.

  • Michael Wolff Jensen, L.L.M. Chairman & Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer

    Michael Wolff Jensen, L.L.M. has served as Chairman of our board of directors since January 2008 and as our Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer since June 2013. In addition, Mr. Jensen served as our Acting Chief Financial Officer from May 2008 to June 2013. From October 2010 to June 2013, Mr. Jensen served as Senior Legal Advisor and Head of Partnerships (France) for the renewable business division of Dong Energy A/S, the Danish State-owned utility company. Prior to Ascendis Pharma, Mr. Jensen served as Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of LifeCycle Pharma A/S, now known as Veloxis Pharmaceuticals A/S, a publicly traded biotechnology company, from 2003 to 2008. Prior to joining Veloxis, Mr. Jensen served as Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of Genmab A/S, a publicly traded biotechnology company from 2000 to 2003. Mr. Jensen also currently serves as Chairman of the board of directors of XSpray Pharma AB; a publicly traded biotechnology company. Mr. Jensen received an L.L.M. degree from the University of Copenhagen.

  • Sigurd Okkels, Ph.D. Senior Vice President, Product Development

    Sigurd Okkels has served as our Senior Vice President of Product Development since April 2019. Most recently, Dr. Okkels led an independent consulting firm in the biopharmaceutical industry. Prior to this, he served as Vice President, Head of the Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls Center in Europe at Takeda where he was responsible for numerous projects at all stages of development, from preclinical and launch to life cycle management. Prior to his tenure at Takeda, Dr. Okkels held multiple VP roles at Nycomed, including Vice President of Technical Development, the Biologics Network and the International Pharmaceutical Affairs. Dr. Okkels also served as the Science and Technology Director at Maxygen after a merger with Profound Pharma, a company which he co-founded in 1999. He launched his industry career at Novo Nordisk in 1992 after completing his postdoctoral training at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (RVAU). Dr. Okkels received his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the RVAU in Copenhagen, Denmark.

  • Dana Pizzuti, M.D. Senior Vice President, Development Operations

    Dana Pizzuti has served as our Senior Vice President of Development Operations since January 2020 and Vice President of Global Regulatory Affairs since July 2019. Dr. Pizzuti has more than 30 years of pharmaceutical industry experience in Clinical Development, Pharmacovigilance, Medical and Regulatory Affairs. Prior to joining Ascendis Pharma, Dr. Pizzuti served as Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Quality and Pharmacovigilance at Theravance Biopharma from March 2019 to July 2019 and served as Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Quality at Rigel Pharmaceuticals from June 2017 to March 2019. Prior to Rigel, Dr. Pizzuti served as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Gilead Sciences from March 2007 to June 2017, where she directly supervised a global regulatory department of more than 500 individuals in 33 countries and was responsible for obtaining marketing authorizations for 15 new drugs in global markets. Prior to Gilead, she served as Vice President of Global Regulatory Affairs for West Coast Pharmaceuticals at Johnson and Johnson and Vice President of Global Pharmacovigilance and Labeling at Bristol-Myers Squibb. For 10 years, she held positions of increasing responsibility in Medical Affairs at Abbott Laboratories, ending her tenure there as Vice President of Global Medical Affairs for the Pharmaceutical Products Division and Abbott International. Dr. Pizzuti began her career in industry at Hoffmann-La Roche. She received her M.D. from New York University and a B.S. in Biology (cum laude) from Yale University.

  • Juha Punnonen, M.D., Ph.D. Senior Vice President, Head of Oncology

    Juha Punnonen has served as our Senior Vice President and Head of Oncology since September 2018. Prior to this, Dr. Punnonen served as Executive Director, Oncology Discovery Research, at Merck & Co., Inc., where he coordinated preclinical research and early development programs for Merck Oncology, including external clinical collaborations for Merck’s anti-PD-1 antibody, Keytruda® (pembrolizumab). Prior to his tenure at Merck, he served as CEO and Head of Research and Development at STATegics, Inc., a biotechnology company he co-founded in 2007. Prior to STATegics, Dr. Punnonen was Vice President and Head of Biology and Pharmacology at Maxygen, Inc., a company developing next-generation protein therapeutics and vaccines. He began his industry career in 1994 as a scientist with DNAX Research Institute (now Merck Research Labs), where he earlier did his postdoctoral training in cytokine research. His clinical experience is in internal medicine, pediatrics and medical microbiology. Dr. Punnonen received his M.D. and Ph.D. (immunology) from the University of Turku, Finland.

  • Scott T. Smith Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

    Scott Smith has served as our Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since August 2016. He was most recently Director of the Healthcare Investment Banking Group at Wedbush Securities, from 2012 to 2016, where he led the healthcare team and oversaw a substantial increase in revenue and transaction volume. From 2009 to 2012, Mr. Smith served as a Managing Director at Wedbush. Prior to joining Wedbush, Mr. Smith served as a Director in the Global Healthcare Investment Banking Group at Merrill Lynch where he began his career in 1995. He has also worked in sales, marketing and strategy roles for various companies, including start-ups and a Fortune Global 500 company. Mr. Smith received his M.B.A. from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Economics/Accounting – Physics from Claremont McKenna College.

  • Kennett Sprogøe, Ph.D. Senior Vice President, Head of Innovation and Research

    Kennett Sprogøe, Ph.D. has held positions of increasing responsibility at Ascendis Pharma since December 2007, including serving as our Senior Vice President, Head of Innovation and Research since 2019, Senior Vice President of Product Innovation since January 2016 and Vice President, Product Innovation since June 2014. Prior to joining Ascendis Pharma, Dr. Sprogøe conducted research at the University of Copenhagen, where he applied novel hyphenated screening technologies to expedite discovery of drug leads from natural sources. Dr. Sprogøe holds a Ph.D. in Natural Products Chemistry from the University of Copenhagen and a M.Sc. in Pharmacy from the Danish University of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

  • Lotte Sønderbjerg Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, Ascendis Pharma A/S, Managing Director, Ascendis Pharma GmbH

    Lotte Sønderbjerg has served as our Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer since December 2007. Mrs. Sønderbjerg is also Managing Director of Ascendis Pharma GmbH. Prior to joining Ascendis Pharma, Mrs. Sønderbjerg served as Senior Director of Human Resources and as Finance Director at Veloxis Pharmaceuticals A/S from 2003 to 2007. Prior to joining Veloxis Pharmaceuticals A/S, Mrs. Sønderbjerg served as Senior Director of Finance and Human Resources at Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc., a publicly traded biotechnology company from 1996 to 2003. Prior to her career in biotech, Mrs. Sønderbjerg was the Executive Secretary for the CEO and Board of Directors of Novo Nordisk A/S and PA to leading audit partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Denmark. Mrs. Sønderbjerg received a Masters of Arts in International Business Communications from University of Aarhus.

Board of Directors (select to display)

  • Michael Wolff Jensen, L.L.M. Chairman

    Michael Wolff Jensen, L.L.M. has served as Chairman of our board of directors since January 2008 and as our Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer since June 2013. In addition, Mr. Jensen served as our Acting Chief Financial Officer from May 2008 to June 2013. From October 2010 to June 2013, Mr. Jensen served as Senior Legal Advisor and Head of Partnerships (France) for the renewable business division of Dong Energy A/S, the Danish State-owned utility company. Prior to Ascendis Pharma, Mr. Jensen served as Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of LifeCycle Pharma A/S, now known as Veloxis Pharmaceuticals A/S, a publicly traded biotechnology company, from 2003 to 2008. Prior to joining Veloxis, Mr. Jensen served as Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer of Genmab A/S, a publicly traded biotechnology company from 2000 to 2003. Mr. Jensen also currently serves as Chairman of the board of directors of two biotechnology companies; one publicly traded, Eurocine Vaccines AB, and one privately held. Mr. Jensen received an L.L.M. degree from the University of Copenhagen.

  • Lisa Bright Board Member

    Lisa Bright, B.Sc., has served since July 2016 as President International for Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company. Prior to her appointment as President International, Ms. Bright held various senior leadership positions from November 2014 to July 2016 at Intercept Pharmaceuticals including Senior Vice President, Head of EUCA and Chief Commercial and Corporate Affairs Officer and Head of EUCA. During her tenure at Intercept, Ms. Bright has overseen the development of the global launch of an orphan medicine in the US and Europe, including building the commercial organization in the US establishment of legal affiliates and teams across Europe and Canada. From 2008 to November 2014, Ms. Bright held various leadership positions at Gilead Sciences Ltd., a biopharmaceutical company, including Vice President, Head Government Affairs, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Australasia, Vice President and Head of HCV Launch Planning, Vice President and Head of Northern Europe and General Manager, UK and Ireland. Prior to Gilead Sciences, Ms. Bright served in various positions of increasing responsibility at GlaxoSmithKline plc from 1997 to 2006 including VP, Commercial Planning and Operations, Global and Vice President General Manager NZ and Vice President Head of Sales, UK and Ireland. Prior to that, Ms. Bright also worked at Sanofi from 1992 to 1996 and GlaxoSmithKline from 1989 to 1992. Ms. Bright received her B.Sc. in Pharmacology from University College London, United Kingdom.

  • Albert Cha, M.D., Ph.D. Board Member

    Albert Cha, M.D., Ph.D. has served as a member of our board of directors since November 2014. In 2000, Dr. Cha joined Vivo Capital, a healthcare investment firm, where he has served in various positions, most recently as a managing partner. Dr. Cha currently serves as a member of the board of directors of several privately held biotechnology and medical device companies. From June 2002 through February 2009, Dr. Cha served as a member of the board of directors at BioForm Medical, Inc., a publicly traded medical aesthetics company. Dr. Cha holds a B.S. and an M.S. from Stanford University and an M.D. and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles.

  • James I. Healy, M.D., Ph.D. Board Member

    James I. Healy, M.D., Ph.D. has served as a member of our board of directors since November 2014. Dr. Healy has been a General Partner of Sofinnova Ventures, a venture capital firm, since June 2000. Prior to June 2000, Dr. Healy held various positions at Sanderling Ventures, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals (as successor to Miles Laboratories) and ISTA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. Healy is currently on the board of directors of Amarin Corporation plc, Hyperion Therapeutics, Inc., Coherus BioSciences, Inc. and several private companies. Previously, he served as a board member of InterMune, Inc., Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Durata Therapeutics, Inc., CoTherix, Inc., Movetis NV and several private companies. Dr. Healy holds an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Immunology from Stanford University School of Medicine and holds a B.A. in Molecular Biology and a B.A. in Scandinavian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

  • Lars Holtug, M.Sc. Board Member

    Lars Holtug, M.Sc., has served as a member of our board of directors since November 2018. Mr. Holtug was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers Statsautoriseret Revisionspartnerselskab (“PWC”) from 1993 to 2015. Previously, he was also Chairman of PWC in Denmark from 2005 to 2009. During his tenure at PWC, Mr. Holtug was responsible for auditing various large publicly-listed pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the U.S. and Denmark. He was also an advisor to a number of PWC clients. From 2004 to 2015, Mr. Holtug was a member of the Danish Commercial Appeals Board (“Erhvervsankenævet”) and a board member of the Danish Company law association (“Dansk Forening for Selskabsret”). He was also a member of the Accounting Standards Board of the Federation of State Authorized Accountants in Denmark (“Foreningen af Statsautoriserede Revisorer” or “FSR”) from 1998 to 2002, where he was previously a member of the Auditing Standards Board. Currently, Mr. Holtug serves as chairman of Gaming Investment A/S and its 10 subsidiaries, and of Valizo Aps. Mr. Holtug holds an M.Sc. from Copenhagen Business School and is educated as a state authorized public accountant in Denmark.

  • Jan Møller Mikkelsen President and CEO

    Jan Møller Mikkelsen founded Ascendis Pharma and has served as President and Chief Executive Officer as well as Board member since December 2007. From 2002 to 2006, Mr. Mikkelsen was President and Chief Executive Officer of LifeCycle Pharma A/S, now traded under the name Veloxis Pharmaceuticals A/S. From 2000 to 2002, Mr. Mikkelsen was President of the Pharmaceutical Division of Maxygen, Inc.. Prior to that, Mr. Mikkelsen co-founded ProFound Pharma A/S, a biopharmaceutical company acquired by Maxygen, Inc., and at ProFound, he served as Co-Chief Executive Officer from 1999 to 2000. From 1988 to 1999, Mr. Mikkelsen held various positions at Novo Nordisk A/S, a global healthcare company, including Vice President of Protein Discovery. Mr. Mikkelsen currently serves on the advisory board of Inspirion Delivery Technologies, a specialty pharmaceutical company.  Mr. Mikkelsen received a Cand. Scient. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Odense, Denmark, and pursued his post-doctoral research at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, CA.

  • Birgitte Volck, M.D., Ph.D. Board Member

    Birgitte Volck, M.D., Ph.D., has served as a member of our board of directors since May 2016. Dr. Volck has served as head of Research and Development, Rare Diseases for GlaxoSmithKline plc since June 2016.  From 2012 to 2016, Dr. Volck was the Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Development at Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB, a biopharmaceutical company.  From 2007 to 2012, Dr. Volck held various positions at Amgen Inc., a biopharmaceutical company, including Executive Development Director, Bone, Neuroscience & Inflammation.  Prior to Amgen, from 2004 to 2007, Dr. Volck served as Nordic Medical Director and Project Director at Genzyme A/S, a biotechnology company.  Dr. Volck received her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Copenhagen University, Denmark.

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