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HEMEX Article: Bringing Innovation to Dialysis Care and foster Home Dialysis

17 February 2021 – Our portfolio company Opterion Health AG seeks to enhance the quality of life for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and their loved ones, and to increase survival rates of ESRD patients. They launched their new website at the beginning of the year and have very exciting plans for 2021!

Chronic kidney disease is the progressive loss of kidney function. When it reaches an advanced state, end-stage renal disease (ESRD) appears. During ESRD, the kidneys can no longer function as they should to fulfill the body’s needs. Our kidneys are a very important filter of wastes, excess fluids, and electrolytes for our body. When they no longer have filtering capabilities, dangerous levels of these substances are accumulated. Patients with ESRD need regular dialysis or a kidney transplant to remain alive. However, the kidney transplant process takes time because it includes finding a donor and a suitable kidney – besides, kidney donors are limited. Therefore, most patients must undergo dialysis treatment.

Currently, two dialysis options exist: Hemodialysis (HD) and Peritoneal Dialysis (PD). Although PD has some survival advantage during the first three years, both dialysis therapies have significant side effects. The contributions of Opterion play an essential role as they are working to improve the quality of life of Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) patients. Research indicates that PD can be used successfully and is very well tolerated in patients with ESRD. During Peritoneal Dialysis, the blood’s waste products are removed by a cleansing fluid that flows through a catheter into part of the abdomen. There, the peritoneum acts as a filter and eliminates waste products. After a set period, the fluid with the filtered waste products flows out of the abdomen and is discarded.

As Opterion Health mentions on its brand-new website, dialysis is a lifesaving treatment – however, it also includes metabolic inflammatory and other adverse effects on different organs, such as the cardiovascular system. In the case of PD, the time in which dialysis may be performed is limited by fibrotic changes in the peritoneal tissue. For this reason, Opterion Health has developed a novel PD solution that is glucose-free and considerably decreases the metabolic and peritoneal challenge. When tested in an animal PD model, it showed high efficacy and adaptability to patients’ needs. Hence, the solution of Opterion has both a «game-changer» and «blockbuster» potential.

This novel Peritoneal Dialysis solution is the first real innovation in the PD market in the last two decades. At HEMEX, we also believe that the solution of Opterion will reduce not just dialysis-related healthcare costs, but also insulin dosage and glucose-related diabetic challenges. By ameliorating these effects, the duration of PD can be prolonged, and the inflammatory burden of disease on the patient can be reduced. We firmly believe in Opterion’s solution and are sure they will achieve great accomplishments this 2021!

Ulrike Grimm

Head of Project Management

Opterion Health engaged Ulrike Grimm in June 2020 to establish project excellence for its development program.

Ulrike started her career as a sales representative for Sanol Pharma and joined Merck KGaA in 1997, where she held roles of increasing responsibility starting as team leader for R&D projects and continuing as product leader for Merck’s second commercial oncology drug.

From 2007 to 2010 she was the Vice President of Project and Portfolio Management at Fresenius Biotech. Ulrike joined Vifor Pharma in 2010 and served as the Vice President for Project and Alliance Management as well as Clinical Operations during the next eight years. In 2019 Ulrike started her own consulting company Pro2S AG.

Peter Reinemer

Chief Technology Officer

Peter Reinemer, PhD, joined Opterion Health as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in July 2021 and has 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. He started his career at Bayer Pharma, where he worked for over 10 years in discovery research in Germany and Japan.

Peter subsequently served as Chief Scientific Officer, Head of Business Development, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, of Proteros, a discovery services company based in Munich and Boston. He co-founded IMD Natural Solutions, developer of the all-natural preservative agent Nagardo®, which was acquired by Lanxess AG in 2017. Peter has an M.Sc. in chemistry from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, a PhD from the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry/TU Munich, and an MBA.

Mylène Fleurant

Head of Quality

Mylène Fleurant joined Opterion Health in July 2021 as Head of Quality having spent more than 20 years in leading quality (QA) functions in the life sciences industry. She worked for 10 years as Region Head Quality Europe at Novartis and implemented global quality systems at Merck Serono. Prior to founding her own consulting company in 2019, Mylène was Global Head of QA at Novimmune and VP Quality Affairs at Alvotech.

Mylène is a chemical engineer and holds a master’s degree from the University of Sherbrooke, Canada, as well as a degree in Quality Assurance Management from L’Ecole de Technologie Supérieure (ETS) at the University of Quebec.

Daniel Lustenberger

Chief Financial Officer

Daniel Lustenberger is an experienced international finance, accounting and management consulting professional and joined Opterion Health in September 2021 as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He is a Swiss Certified Public Accountant, holds an Executive MBA from IMD in Lausanne and has 20 years of life sciences and technology experience.

Daniel supports several start-ups and growth companies, particularly in the life sciences and high tech sectors, as a part-time CFO, business advisor and board member.

Prior to Opterion, he held senior finance positions with Vifor Pharma, Gategroup and DKSH. In his early career, he spent several years with PwC, providing advisory services in M&A, IPOs, process and system improvements, corporate governance and risk management.

Björn Englund

CEO

The Board of Directors of Opterion Health AG has appointed Björn Englund as CEO of the Company as of April 2021. Björn started his professional career in 1991 as a sales representative at the Gambro Distributor in Saudi Arabia, gradually took over further responsibilities, and in 1996 he became a Managing Director of Gambro Healthcare Sweden AB. He left Gambro in 2006 and moved to Euromedic where he was Vice President of the Dialysis division until 2011. For the next six years he was the President and CEO of DaVita EMEA, and in 2017 was promoted to COO of DaVita International. He left DaVita in 2018 and has since been an Industrial Advisor for EQT, Stockholm.

Björn Englund

CEO
The Board of Directors of Opterion Health AG has appointed Björn Englund as CEO of the Company as of April 2021. Björn started his professional career in 1991 as a sales representative at the Gambro Distributor in Saudi Arabia, gradually took over further responsibilities, and in 1996 he became a Managing Director of Gambro Healthcare Sweden AB. He left Gambro in 2006 and moved to Euromedic where he was Vice President of the Dialysis division until 2011. For the next six years he was the President and CEO of DaVita EMEA, and in 2017 was promoted to COO of DaVita International. He left DaVita in 2018 and has since been an Industrial Advisor for EQT, Stockholm.

Stefan Wohlfeil

Board Member
Stefan Wohlfeil, MD, has over 35 years of experience in the Pharma and Biotech industry. Most recently he was Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D at Vifor Pharma with responsibility for preclinical and clinical R&D, regulatory and medical affairs as well as drug safety. Prior to that he was Global Head Clinical Research & Pharmacology at Novartis and Bayer. He also has experience as founder and CEO of two start-up companies in the oncology area, one of which was based in Japan. Stefan started his career at Bayer Pharma, where he worked for over 20 years in discovery research and preclinical and clinical development in Germany, USA and Japan. Stefan holds a Medical Doctor’s degree from the University of Düsseldorf, Germany.

Andreas Schmidt

Board Member

Andreas Schmid has more than 25 years of experience in Finance in the Life Sciences. He worked as a Pharma Analyst at Merrill Lynch and also has experience in fund raising as well as business development.

During the span of his career Andreas was one of the highest-ranked dialysis and generic pharma analysts, with special expertise in European and CEE/emerging markets. His coverage universe included companies such as Fresenius/FMC (Germany), Gambro (Sweden), Stada (Germany) and Aspen (South Africa). Furthermore, he played a major part in the IPOs of Zentiva (Czech Republic) and Hikma (Jordan). Andreas has also been active as a speaker at various industry conferences, for example in New York, Frankfurt, but also in Warsaw and other Eastern European countries.

In addition, Andreas works as finance lecturer at the Hochschule Pforzheim and is a board member of the German shareholder association SdK.

Ricardo Cordero

Vice Chairman
Dr Ricardo Cordero, PhD, serves as Vice Chairman of Opterion Health since 2016. Ricardo has over 30 years of experience in the Financial Services Industry where he held various senior positions, for example as CEO of BZ Bank, Managing Partner at Reichmuth & Co Investmentfonds AG, Co-founder and Co-CEO at BWO Bank, etc. Further, he is a passionate and experienced private Swiss investor and holds various investments in the Life Science, Technology and high-end Consumer Goods industry.

David Ebsworth

Chairman
Dr David Ebsworth, PhD, has been Chairman of Opterion Health since December 2016. David has over 40 years of experience in the Pharma, Healthcare and Biotech industry. David is a past CEO of Galenica, Vifor Pharma as well as Oxford GlycoSciences and past global head of the Pharmaceutical Division of Bayer. He has chaired several private and public companies and has served on numerous boards as either chairman of the audit, remuneration or nominations and governance committees. David is currently Chairman of Verona Pharma and Actimed Therapeutics.

Guido Grentzmann

Founder / CSO / Board
Dr Guido Grenzmann, PhD, is the founder of Opterion Health and has more than 25 years of experience in Pharma R&D and Project Management. After academic work on bacterial and viral mechanisms of translational regulation, he became Group Leader Molecular Biology/Genomics at Pfizer and Director Biochemistry/GeneProfiling at Altana Pharma where he worked in Discovery of inflammation in respiratory diseases. In 2007 he founded PBS PharmaBioServices providing contract research and consulting mainly in inflammatory diseases, in multiple therapeutic domains. 2012, Guido founded Opterion, with the aim to develop a new PD solution, to decrease side-effects of this promising therapy.