JAN DE VRIES
Chairperson, Board of Directors
After joining in 2015, de Vries has served as Chair of the Cassiopea Board of Directors. He is also Chair of the Board of Artax Inc., is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of AnaptysBio, Inc., and is a Board Member and CEO of Amsterdam-based AIMM Therapeutics BV.
De Vries has decades of experience across research and development in academia, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical industries. He is the co- founder and CEO of Tr1X, a biotech company based in California. Prior to that, de Vries was the CEO of AIMM Therapeutics and currently serves as AIMM’s Chairman of the Board. Before joining AIMM, de Vries was Senior Vice President, Drug Discovery and Early Development at Novartis and Head of the Novartis Research Institutes for Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland. He was also Global Head of the Therapeutic Area of Autoimmunity, Inflammation, and Transplantation in Basel and Vienna. At Novartis, he steered the discovery and early development of dozens of compounds, both low molecular weight, and biologics including the marketed drugs Elidel®, Ilaris®, Gilenya® , Cosentyx®, and Maizent®. De Vries joined Novartis from the California-based DNAX Research Institute for Molecular Biological Research (acquired by Schering-Plough and Merck & Co), where he was Director of Immunology. Prior to that, he was Co-Director of the Schering–Plough Institute for Immunological Research in Lyon, France.
De Vries is a member of the scientific advisory boards of several private and public biotechnology companies. He started his career in academia at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, where he was Head of the Department of Immunology. De Vries has published more than 300 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and holds 20 patents. He earned an MSc degree in Biology/Biochemistry from the University of Utrecht, a PhD degree in Immunology from the University of Amsterdam, and completed his Post-Doctoral studies with John Mendelsohn at the University of California, San Diego.
Chief Executive Officer
As a board member and the Chief Executive Officer of Cassiopea since its inception in 2015, Diana Harbort brings 30 years of cross-functional experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including 20 years in the dermatology sector. As CEO, she executed the IPO in 2015, the largest healthcare IPO on the Swiss Stock Exchange (SIX) since 2000, recruited and placed the corporate leadership team and built the processes and growth plans for the company.
Harbort has held executive positions at leading pharmaceutical companies, including 17 years at Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation, an industry leading dermatology and aesthetics company, ultimately serving as the Vice President of Corporate Development. In this role, she in-licensed or acquired most of the company’s products and pipeline before its acquisition by Valeant for $2.3B in 2012. Earlier in her career, she spent 10 years in various roles at Abbott Laboratories, in marketing, business development and operations across Abbott’s pharmaceutical, hospital products and diagnostic divisions. She was also a highly sought-out advisor and independent consultant immediately prior to joining Cassiopea. Throughout her career, she has evaluated over 3000 opportunities in the dermatology space and negotiated over 75 agreements, becoming an expert across a broad range of dermatology diseases and markets.
A high-energy, results-oriented leader, Harbort thrives on execution and relationship building, both within the company and throughout the industry. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and received an MBA in Marketing and Management from the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. She currently is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the Women’s Dermatological Society and a volunteer senior leader in the Tony Robbin’s organization. Harbort is a champion for health and wellness, mother of two, personal development advocate and international mission trip leader.
Øyvind Bjordal has brought his substantial financial expertise to Cassiopea’s Board of Directors since its inception in 2015. Bjordal currently serves as Managing Director and Head of Switzerland of Lincoln International, a corporate finance advisory company based in Zurich, Switzerland.
Previously, Norwegian-born Bjordal was Managing Director of a group of corporate financiers that worked with Arthur Anderson, Ernst & Young, Sal Oppenheim, and Leonardo & Co. He was also a member of the corporate finance team at UBS Investment Banking, working on transactions throughout Europe, including several privatization assignments in the telecoms sector.
Bjordal received a degree in Business Administration from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.
Chief Financial Officer
A member of the Cassiopea Board of Directors since 2015, and CFO since January 1, 2021, Guzzo is the founder and CEO of management consulting and investing firm EQValue Partners.
Specialized in Private Equity, M&A and management consulting. Pierpaolo has extensive experience in managing private equity deals as well acting as advisor on mergers, leveraged buy-outs, IPO’s, and restructuring projects.
Since 1998, regularly appointed in the corporate bodies of several Italian SME and large companies. Pierpaolo managed private equity investments and/or consulting projects in different sectors, including industrials, financial and business services, consumer & retail, energy, pharma, media, technology.
After completing his studies Pierpaolo started his career in 1993 at Arthur Andersen, where he worked for both the audit and the business consulting areas. In 1996 he joined the M&A Team of SOFIPA, an Italian Merchant Bank. In 1998 he joined the private equity team of ABN AMRO in Italy, where he served as Investment Manager. In 2000 he joined, as Director, PM & Partners SpA, a € 200 mln private equity fund focused on Italian companies. In 2008 he was founder and CEO of EQValue Corporate Partners.
Graduated in Business Administration at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 1991. Pierpaolo is CPA – Certified Public Accountant (“Dottore Commercialista”) and External Auditor (“Revisore Contabile”). Pierpaolo speaks Italian and English.
Baldassarini is our Chartered Accountant and Auditor who has served on the Cassiopea Board of Directors since 2018. A technical advisor to the Court of Rome, he specializes in business valuation, financial-economic analysis, and business/investment plan development. He is also a founding partner at BOCG Associati, a management-consulting firm based in Italy.
During his career, Baldassarini has assisted with multiple merger and acquisition projects as well as corporate restructurings, serving primarily as a business and financial advisor. He has been appointed as an expert witness to the court of law in the field of transformations and corporate mergers and holds duties as board administrator and chair of the Italian Statutory Board of Auditors.
Baldassarini was a professor of Corporate Finance at the Sapienza University of Rome and a professor at various training institutions in Italy. He received a degree from the University of Rome in Economics and Business and has published several scientific monographs in corporate finance.