Caliber Associates Places Executive Vice President of Research and Development for Aurinia Pharmaceuticals

August 22, 2022 – San Diego, CA- based Caliber Associates recently placed Dr. Volker Knappertz as executive vice president of research and development of Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc. He will be responsible for leading the consolidated research and development function. “Volker has a strong track record of advancing biotechnology and medical innovation and is recognized for his leadership in creating diverse, high performing teams, and fostering creativity in R&D,” said Peter Greenleaf, president and chief executive officer of Aurinia.

Dr. Knappertz most recently served as chief medical officer and executive VP of research and development at GW Pharmaceuticals, developing medicines for rare and orphan diseases as well as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. At GW, Dr. Knappertz was instrumental in driving the transformation of GW from a botanical pharmaceutical company to a fully integrated biopharmaceutical R&D and innovation focused organization, the development of a deep pipeline of both plant-derived and synthetic drug candidates, and growing the R&D organization to over 350 internal employees.

Previously, Dr. Knappertz was VP of global clinical development at Teva Pharmaceuticals, for multiple sclerosis, oncology, and biosimilar products achieving several drug approvals. He received his doctorate and medical degree from Cologne University. He was trained in neurology at Yale University and is a U.S. board certified neurologist. He has also served as adjunct faculty in neurology at the University of Pennsylvania and Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf.

Founded in 2013, Aurinia is a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on delivering therapies to treat targeted patient populations that are impacted by serious diseases with a high unmet medical need. In 2021, the company introduced the first FDA-approved oral therapy indicated for the treatment of adult patients with active lupus nephritis (LN). Aurinia’s head office is in Victoria, British Columbia; its U.S. commercial hub is in Rockville, Md; the company focuses development efforts globally.

Recruiting for the Life Sciences

Caliber Associates, founded in 1988, is focused exclusively on the life sciences sector. The firm has partnered with over 200 leading companies and has completed upwards of 750 searches, placing strategic leaders with broad therapeutic and functional reach. The firm has offices in San Diego, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.

Among the roles Caliber Associates has recently filled include chief scientific officer for GentiBio, vice president of project management at Locanabio, and CEO for Caraway Therapeutics.

Related: Caliber Associates Recruits Chief Medical Officer for GentiBio

Steve Hochberg is CEO of the firm. He focuses on recruiting CEOs, board members, C-level, and strategic teams for emerging life science companies and global biopharmaceutical companies. Mr. Hochberg has assembled a small team of highly experienced, results driven search professionals. Prior to his search career, he held strategic human resources roles with Rhône-Poulenc Rorer, FMC Corp., and Shell Oil Co.

A Previous Placement

Earlier this summer, Caliber Associates placed Stephen Gould as chief scientific officer of Atreca,  a clinical-stage biotechnology company. Dr. Gould joined Atreca following 15 years at Genentech, where he held positions of increasing responsibility, most recently serving as executive director, translational oncology. At Genentech, he led a team focused on developing tumor specific antibodies weaponized with immune-targeting arms or drug payloads for use in both hematologic and solid tumors, including two approved medicines.

Leadership in a Post-Covid World

In this brand new episode of “Talent Talks,” Hunt Scanlon Media host Rob Adams is joined by Steve Hochberg, CEO of Caliber Associates. In this podcast, Mr. Hochberg discusses how COVID-19 has changed leadership expectations and then shares how leaders can promote and sustain culture as employees return to the workplace. Listen now!

Prior to joining Genentech, Dr. Gould served as senior director, oncology at Curis. Dr. Gould received his doctorate from the University of Connecticut Health Center in development biology and held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California, San Francisco in the department of orthopedic surgery, and the University of Virginia in the department of biology.

“Stephen is an exceptional scientific leader with particular experience in the development of weaponized antibody-based therapeutics, and we are excited to welcome him to the Atreca team,” said John Orwin, CEO of Atreca. “Our discovery platform has proven to be highly productive in generating promising tumor-selective lead antibodies against novel targets and target epitopes, and Stephen’s expertise will be invaluable as we continue to build and advance our preclinical pipeline.”

Related: Caliber Associates Fills Senior Post for Sutro Biopharma

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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