We live product development – transforming ground-breaking ideas into life-saving medication.

Team

With over 20 years of experience, VPM's management and team members are dedicated to provide excellent service and expertise to support organisations in the entire value chain of product development. At VPM we know what it means and takes to develop a biotech product. Our motivation is based on our own experience: We make your projects our own.

Dr. Leander Grode

Managing Director

Dr. Leander Grode is Managing Director (CEO) at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM) since June 2019. Since 2013 he is Chief Scientific Officer at VPM and since April 2008 he has been responsible for Business Development.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Regulatory Affairs
  • Patent Strategy
  • Immunology
Between 2001 and 2003 Leander Grode was the coordinator of the vaccine development group at the MPI in the Department of Immunology.
 
He graduated in 1997 with a degree in biology at the Max-Planck Institute of Biophysics in Frankfurt/Main in the Department of Molecular Membrane Biology under Prof. Hartmut Michel. In the year 2000 he graduated as a PhD at the Max-Planck Institute of Infection Biology in the Department of Immunology under Prof. Stefan H.E. Kaufmann. The focus of his thesis was vaccine development against tuberculosis based on live carriers, such as salmonella or mycobacterium bovis BCG.

He studied biology in Giessen and Frankfurt/Main with focus on cell biology and zoology. As an exchange student, he visited the University of California San Francisco in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the lab of Prof. John Watson.

 

Inge Jacobi

Director Finance and Accounting

Inge Jacobi is Director Finance & Accounting at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM) and joined the company in 2002. She coordinates VPM's financial administration department and is responsible for Human Resources. In her daily operation she is particularly involved in budgeting, public funding and contracting.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Accounting & Controlling
  • Projects Funding
  • Financial Due Diligence

Inge Jacobi studied English and French in Trier and is a qualified Foreign Language and Business Correspondent. In addition to her studies she got qualified for accounting and management which led into more than 20 years of experience in Finance & Accounting in national and international companies. For 7 years she worked at the Chamber of Commerce in Braunschweig in the Department of Foreign Trade & Commerce.

 

Dr. Christiane Meller

Director Quality Assurance

Dr. Christiane Meller is Director Quality Assurance at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM). She joined VPM as Clinical Project Manager and later became Quality Assurance Manager.

Christiane Meller is experienced in planning and management of clinical trials within the EU regulatory framework (phases I-III). At VPM she is responsible for running the quality assurance.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Quality Management
  • Good Clinical Practice
  • Infectious diseases

Christiane Meller studied biology and majored in molecular and cell biology at the Ruprecht-Karls-University in Heidelberg.

Supported by a doctoral scholarship of the International Graduate College "Hannover Biomedical Research School" she accomplished her doctoral thesis at the TWINCORE, a centre for translational research in infectious diseases. The aim of her doctoral thesis and following post-doctoral work was the characterization of viral ion channels as target structure for hepatitis C virus-specific therapeutic agents.

 

Dr. Steffi Hansen

Director Quality Assurance

Dr. Steffi Hansen is Director Quality Assurance at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM). She joined VPM as project manager and later became quality assurance manager.

Steffi Hansen is experienced in planning and management of clinical trials (phases I-III). She consults companies in custom designing their quality management system and bringing them up to date with current and future regulatory requirements (ICH E6(R2), Clinical Trial Regulation, ICH GCP Renovation).

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • QMS Consulting
  • Teaching and Coaching
  • Risk based clinical trial management

Steffi Hansen holds a doctorate in pharmacy from Saarland University, Germany (2009).

She held several positions in academic research including as visiting scientist at Winkle College of Pharmacy, University of Cincinnati, USA and as team leader in the field of transdermal vaccination at the Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland, Germany.

Furthermore, Steffi Hansen gained experience as freelancer for PharmBioTec GmbH in planning and conducting bioequivalence and biodistribution studies especially of skin products.

 

Christoph Schütz

Management Assistant

Christoph Schütz is Assistant to General Management at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM).

He is responsible for business travel arrangements as well as company events and is specialized on patent applications. Being in very close costumer contact Christoph Schütz represents a connection between VPM and external service providers as well as international partners.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Travel Organization
  • Event Coordination
  • Patent Administration

Christoph Schütz studied business administration at the Hotel Business School in Marburg/ Germany. As part of his duties in the international luxury hotel business he gained extensive expertise in the organization and coordination of internal and external processes.

 

Dr. Sina Brückner

Clinical Project Manager

Dr. Sina Brückner is Clinical Project Manager at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM). She joined VPM as Project Manager.

Sina Brückner is experienced in conducting clinical trials in Germany and Gabon. At VPM she is responsible for organizing, coordinating and managing clinical trials (phases II-III) in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Clinical development
  • Scientific advices

Sina Brückner performed her doctoral studies at the Eberhart-Karls University Tübingen as well as at the Albert-Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon. She investigated if an antihelminthic treatment has an effect on the vaccine immunogenicity in a population highly susceptible for geohelminth.

 

Dr. Inci Aydin

Clinical Project Manager

Dr. Inci Aydin is a Clinical Project Manager at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM).

Inci Aydin is experienced in performing scientific advice meetings at the national regulatory authorities and preparing pediatric investigation plans. As Clinical Project Manager she is responsible for the conduct and oversight of clinical trials within the regulatory framework.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • PIP
  • Scientific Advices
  • Infectious diseases

Inci Aydin studied molecular biosciences and majored in infectious diseases at the Ruprecht-Karls-University in Heidelberg. She performed her doctoral studies at the University of Münster. In her dissertation, she investigated the nuclear entry of papillomaviruses upon initial infection of the host cell.

After completing her PhD, Inci Aydin participated in the professional training "Project Management Clinical Research/Biosciences" at the mibeg-Institut Medizin in Cologne to qualify as Certified Project Management Associate (GPM/IPMA Level D) and obtain knowhow in project management in clinical research.

 

Dr. Gerald P. Parzmair

Senior Project Manager

Dr Gerald Parzmair is Senior Project Manager at VPM.

He joined the company as a Project Manager, responsible for the coordination in several projects in different stages of pharmaceutical development. Later Dr Parzmair became a Clinical Project Manager at VPM, responsible for the planning, conduct and oversight of clinical trials, with a special focus on the interface between manufacturing and clinics (GMP/GCP). Currently he is Senior Project Manager, overseeing projects at VPM.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • GMP/GCP Interface
  • ATMPs
  • Immunology

He received his bachelor's and master's degree in genetics at the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg. For his master's thesis, he worked at the Medical University of Graz in the field of immunopharmacology on the immunomodulatory effects of certain cannabinoids on human granulocytes.

After graduating he moved to Braunschweig to work on his PhD thesis at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research on the roles of adaptor proteins in pathogen-specific immune responses and received his PhD at the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg.

 

Dr. Fabio Pisano

Senior Project Manager

Dr. Fabio Pisano is Senior Project Manager at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM). He joined VPM as Project Manager and Quality Assurance Manager, and later specialized in product development and project valuation.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
  • Portfolio development
  • Immunology

Fabio Pisano studied pharmaceutical biotechnologies at the University of Bologna, and performed his doctoral studies at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig supported by a "Marie Curie" EU scholarship.
Afterwards, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the field of immunology and infectious diseases, with special focus on the virulence strategies of the enteric pathogens Yersinia and Salmonella.

After training as a Project Management Associate, he worked as Scientific Officer in the German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF).

 

Dr. Leila Bülow

Project Manager

Dr. Leila Bülow is Project Manager at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM).

Leila Bülow is experienced in GMP manufacturing, technical transfer and its regulatory requirements. At VPM she is focused on the project management specialized in CMC consulting.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • GMP Manufacturing
  • Technical Transfer
  • Budget Planning

Leila Bülow worked several years in the pharmaceutical industry as technical project manager focussed on pharmaceutical development, product transfer and GMP manufacturing. Cooperating in interdisciplinary teams she was in charge of the development projects as service provider from project start up to market authorization phase. Furthermore, she worked customer-oriented as project manager at a contract manufacturer, being responsible for transfer and scale-up.

As an organic chemist, Leila Bülow performed her doctoral studies in the field of natural product synthesis at the Leibniz University Hannover.

 

Dr. Alexandra Hierweger

Project Manager

Dr. Alexandra Hierweger is Project Manager at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM). She is responsible for the planning, oversight and follow-up of projects in various developmental steps, with a focus on non-clinical development.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Non-Clinical Development
  • Immunology
  • Virology

Alexandra Hierweger studied Molecular Medicine at Ulm University.
She accomplished her doctoral thesis at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in the institute of Immunology and the department of Obstetrics and Fetal Medicine. The aim of her doctoral thesis and following post-doctoral work was the characterization of the maternal immune response against the Influenza A virus in pregnant hosts and the consequences for disease severity.

 

Stefanie Katzensteiner

Quality Assurance Manager

Stefanie Katzensteiner is a Quality Assurance Manager at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM).

Stefanie Katzensteiner is experienced in clinical trial and data management and validation of computerized systems in clinical research.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Clinical Data Management
  • Validation of computerized systems in clinical research
  • Data Protection and Privacy

Stefanie Katzensteiner studied Medical Information Management at the
Hannover University for Applied Sciences and Arts and Clinical Trial Management at the Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin.

Before joining VPM, Stefanie Katzensteiner was deputy Quality Assurance Manager with focus on data management at the Institute for Biometry of the Hannover Medical School and Medical Documentalist at the Fraunhofer ITEM in Hannover, department Clinical Airway Research. During her occupation at Fraunhofer, she administered an electronic study documentation system and dealt with the validation of computerized systems in clinical research.

 

Dr. Ariane Khaledi

Quality Assurance Manager

Dr. Ariane Khaledi joined Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM) as Quality Assurance Manager. She is part of the quality management team and responsible for data protection and privacy.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Bacteriology
  • Genomics
  • Pre-clinical development

Ariane Khaledi studied Biology (M.Sc.) at the Technische Universität Braunschweig, majoring in microbiology and molecular cell biology. She performed her doctoral studies at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig. Her doctoral and following post-doctoral work concentrated on the identification of antibiotic resistance markers in bacteria and the development of diagnostic assays for biomarker identification.

During her post-doctoral time, she completed the two-year professional education program of the TRAIN Academy (Translationsallianz in Niedersachsen) "Translational Research & Medicine: From Idea to Product" at the TWINCORE Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research in Hanover.

 

Dr. Nontsikelelo Mpofu-Mätzig

Junior Project Manager

Dr. Nontsikelelo Mpofu-Mätzig is a Junior Project Manager at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM). She is part of a project management team that is involved in the planning and management of vaccine clinical trials (phases I-III) in the EU and globally.

Dr Mpofu-Mätzig is experienced in project coordination and was previously involved in the coordination of a German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funded research consortium at the Hannover Medical School in Hannover, Germany.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Gene Therapy
  • Immunology
  • Clinical Development

Dr Mpofu-Mätzig has a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Zimbabwe. She was awarded a Vlaamse Interuniversitaire Raad Scholarship to pursue a Master's degree in Molecular Biology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. Thereafter, she was awarded a Hannover Biomedical Research School scholarship and attained a Ph.D. as part of the International MD/Ph.D. "Molecular Medicine" Program at the Hannover Medical School. Her doctoral thesis and subsequent postdoctoral research focused on the use of advanced therapy medicinal products in autoimmune disorders with particular emphasis on type 1 diabetes therapy.

 

Dr. Merve Kilinc

Junior Project Manager

Dr. Merve Kilinc is Junior Project Manager at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM). She is a part of the team organizing, coordinating and managing a phase III trial in Africa.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Clinical Development
  • Good Clinical Practice
  • Tumor growth and development

After completing her Master degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics in Turkey, she obtained her PhD in Genetics at the University of Cologne in Germany, as a part of Cluster of Excellence for aging research. The main focus of her research was the interplay between cellular signaling pathways in health and disease states. She completed a professional training program in life science management and qualified as a clinical research associate at the HGA Gesundheitsakademie Hessen, in Frankfurt.

 

Dr. Prashant Shinde

Junior Project Manager

Dr. Prashant Shinde is Junior Project Manager at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM). He is involved in various vaccine trials projects and supports the project team in the preparation of regulatory documents.

Key Knowledge areas:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Immunology

Prashant Shinde studied biology and majored in virology and immunology at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany.

He received a scholarship from Molecules of infection (MOI) supported by Jürgen Manchot Foundation to pursue his doctoral studies. During his Ph.D., he focused on the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and its role in virus infection using different transgenic mouse models. He obtained his Ph.D. in the field of immunology and virology.

 

Fabiana Occhipinti

Assistant General Management

Fabiana Occhipinti is Assistant to General Management at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM).

Fabiana Occhipinti is expert in business travel organization and general office administration. She supports the team with planning and coordination of internal and external company meetings.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Travel Organization
  • Event Coordination
  • General Administration

Fabiana Occhipinti primary field of expertise is operations management in the hospitality business from where she brought in professional experiences in business administration areas. She studied foreign languages at the University of Catania (Italy) as well as Hotel Business in Germany.

 

Dr. Marcela Francozo

Junior Project Manager

Dr. Marcela Francozo is Junior Project Manager at Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM).

She is involved in organizing and managing clinical trials of vaccines and biologicals in Europe and worldwide.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Translational Research
  • Infectious Disease
  • Biomarker discovery

Marcela Francozo graduated in Pharmacy & Biochemistry, and obtained her PhD in Infection Biology with focus on Immunology at the Hannover Medical School, Germany. Additionally, she has experience in using deep learning machine and artificial intelligence tools in image analysis focused on biomarker discovery.

 

Elisabeth Hantschmann

Assistant Quality Assurance

Elisabeth Hantschmann joined Vakzine Projekt Management GmbH (VPM) as Quality Assurance Assistant. She supports the Quality Management and is responsible for the Website Management.

Key Knowledge Areas:

  • Clinical Quality Management
  • Clinical Data Management

She studied Medical Information Management at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hanover and obtained her master's degree after an internship and subsequent master thesis in the Pharmacovigilance Department of Bayer AG in Berlin. During her time as student she was involved in various clinical studies at the Clinical Research Center (CRC) in Hanover and the Leipzig University Hospital.

 

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