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Targeting the Perivascular Microenvironment to Treat Serious Diseases

Mission & Values

Our mission is to improve the lives of patients by developing groundbreaking therapeutics that enhance the immune gatekeeping function of the perivascular microenvironment.

Our talented and dedicated team of scientists and professionals is continuously pushing the boundaries of scientific innovation, guided by our unwavering commitment to patients. We uphold the highest standards of quality and ethics and strive for excellence in every aspect of our work. We embrace change and challenge conventional thinking. Our diverse team, encompassing a wealth of backgrounds and perspectives, fosters a collaborative environment where individuals can thrive and be their authentic selves.

Team

Montis Biosciences Team

Management Team

Gil Beyen
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Gil Beyen
Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Mr Gil Beyen has been a CEO of private and listed biotech companies for more than 20 years. Before joining Montis, he served as CEO and Director of ERYTECH Pharma, a dual-listed, late clinical stage biopharma company, based in France and Boston, MA, for over 10 years. Prior to that, he was CEO and Managing Director of TiGenix, a cell therapy company he co-founded, and Director at Arthur D. Little, an international management consulting firm, in Brussels.

Mr Beyen holds a MSc in Bioengineering from the University of Leuven (Belgium) and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago (USA).

Iman El-Hariry
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Iman El-Hariry
Acting Chief Medical Officer

Dr. El-Hhariry (MD, PhD) is the Acting Chief Medical Officer at Montis Biosciences. She has over than 20 years of experience in oncology drug development in large pharma and biotech sectors, with several successful tracks of IND filing and drug approvals. She started her career at GSK, and also held several leadership positions at Astellas and Synta pharmaceutical companies.

Dr El-Hariry was the Chief Medical Officer at Erytech Pharma (now Phaxiam) from 2015 until June 2023. During her tenure at Erytech, she has led the development of the first red blood cell therapeutic, eryaspase, leading to a successful IPO. She currently holds a role as a Scientific Advisory Board member at Ranok Therapeutics.

Dr El-Hariry is an oncologist-scientist with a medical degree from Alexandria University, Egypt and a PhD from Imperial College, London, UK.

Andrea Casazza
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Andrea Casazza
Director Translational Science

Mr Andrea Casazza (PhD) joined Montis Bioscience in 2021 and was appointed Director of Translational Sciences in 2023. In this role, he partners with preclinical scientists and bioinformaticians to design and execute translational research to discover and validate pathways and biomarkers associated with mechanism of action and drug response.

Prior to joining Montis, he held various R&D positions in biotech where he contributed to developing novel anticancer pro-drugs.

Mr Casazza earned his MSc in Biology and PhD in Cell Sciences and Technologies from the University of Torino (Italy). He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in tumor immunology at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) in Leuven (Belgium); he has authored 19 peer-reviewed publications with over 2600 citations and is the inventor on two issued patents.

Mo Benkheil
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Mohammed (Mo) Benkheil
Director Biology

Mr Mo Benkheil (PhD) holds a M.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Leuven and earned a PhD in Tumor Vascular Biology from the Rega Institute for Medical Research.

As a former Postdoctoral Researcher in Cancer Immunology at the VIB-KULeuven Centre for Cancer Biology, he conducted ground-breaking research under the guidance of our esteemed scientific founders, Prof Massimiliano Mazzone and Prof Peter Carmeliet. In this position, he played a key role in generating the initial data crucial to Montis Biosciences securing seed funding.

As the Director of Biology, Mr Mo Benkheil leads the scientific team, overseeing in-house drug discovery activities and the development of Montis’ cutting-edge Assay platform.

Board of directors

Luc Dochez
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Luc Dochez
Chairman

Mr Luc Dochez is Chairman of the Board of Directors and has been a Venture Partner at DROIA Ventures since December 2018. He was Chief Executive Officer of Tusk Therapeutics from May 2015 until its acquisition by Roche in September 2018. He joined Tusk from Prosensa Holding N.V. where he served as Chief Business Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Development for a period of seven years until its acquisition by BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. Earlier in his career, he served as Vice President of Business Development at TiGenix, Director Business Development at Methexis Genomics, and as consultant at Arthur D. Little.

Mr Dochez holds a Pharm.D. degree and a postgraduate degree in business economics from the University of Leuven (Belgium) and an MBA from Vlerick Management School (Belgium).

Detlev Biniszkiewicz
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Detlev Biniszkiewicz
Independent Director

Dr. Detlev Biniszkiewicz (PhD) is Independent Director of the Board of Directors. He is currently CEO of portfolio company NextPoint Therapeutics and Managing Director at MPM BioImpact. Dr. Biniszkiewicz is a serial entrepreneur and an experienced biopharma executive who brings deep knowledge of oncology, business development, and biotech leadership to his role.

He has also significant prior board experiences which include iTEOs, Tilos, and Maverick Therapeutics. Prior to joining MPM and BioImpact Capital, he was the President and CEO of Surface Oncology (NASDAQ: SURF). He was also Vice President of Strategy in AstraZeneca’s Oncology Unit and was part of the leadership that developed Lynparza® and Tagrisso®. He has also held multiple roles at Novartis including Global Head of Portfolio.

Dr. Biniszkiewicz began his career at the Boston Consulting Group and performed his academic research at the Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Rana Al-Hallaq
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Rana Al-Hallaq
Director

Dr. Rana Al-Hallaq (PhD) is Executive Director, Worldwide Business Development and Partner at Pfizer Ventures. She is responsible for identifying, evaluating, making and managing equity investments aligned with the future directions of Pfizer. She is currently on the Board of Autifony Therapeutics, Biograph55, Nucleome Therapeutics, ReCode Therapeutics, RefleXion Medical, and Vivet Therapeutics as well as managing investments in Jnana Therapeutics, the Dementia Discovery Fund, and the Wellington Access Ventures Fund.

Prior to her current role, Dr. Al-Hallaq was a Transactionalist in Worldwide Business Development at Pfizer where she was responsible for negotiating and transacting licenses, acquisitions, and partnerships across therapeutic areas. She joined Pfizer in 2015 as an Early Candidate Clinical Lead where she advised early clinical programs in CNS to ensure alignment with business strategies. Prior to joining Pfizer, she held roles at Allergan (formerly Actavis, formerly Forest Laboratories), first in Clinical Development Psychiatry as scientific and operational lead on Phase 2 and Phase 3 studies, and later in Business Development where she assessed and executed on a number of acquisitions and licenses across therapeutic areas. She began her training as a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Al-Hallaq received her BA in Biology from Hamilton College and holds a PhD in Neuroscience from Georgetown University Medical Center.

Ellie McGuire
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Ellie McGuire
Director

Mrs Ellie McGuire is partner at the Boston office of Polaris Partners and she also manages the Polaris Innovation Fund.

She currently serves on the Boards of Muna Therapeutics, Candesant Biomedical, Satellite Biosciences, and Volastra Therapeutics, the latter of which she was the founding president. She is an expert in residence for the Harvard Office of Technology Development.

Prior to co-founding the Polaris Innovation Fund, Mrs McGuire was the head of business development at Lyndra. She previously held leadership and consulting positions in business development, operations, and strategy in multiple life science companies including Arsia Therapeutics, Lyndra, and XTuit Pharmaceuticals.

Graeme Martin
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Graeme Martin
Director

Dr. Graeme Martin (PhD) is a pharmaceutical industry veteran with more than 40 years of multinational Pharma and Biotech R&D experience in Europe, ASA and Japan.

He was President and CEO of Takeda Ventures, Inc., the corporate venture arm of Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and during a tenure of 14 years, he oversaw strategic investments into a portfolio of 31 early stage companies representing >$100m under management. He served on the Board of 16 of these companies.

Before turning to corporate venture, Dr. Martin held senior R&D positions at Roche (USA), GlaxoWellcome (UK) and Wellcome Research Laboratories (UK), where he led a number of therapeutic discovery initiatives resulting in three IND submissions and ultimately, the launch of Zomig®, marketed worldwide for the acute treatment of migraine. He is the author of more than 85 peer reviewed scientific papers and book chapters.

Dr. Martin received his Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacology from the University of Bath, and his doctorate from University College, London, UK.

Griet Vanpoucke
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Griet Vanpoucke
Director

Dr. Griet Vanpoucke (PhD) is Head New Ventures at VIB. With her team she translates exciting science from the research institute into successful novel ventures. She currently also serves as non-exec Director on the Board of Orionis Biosciences. Previously she was part of Pronota, a biomarker discovery and diagnostics start-up company. As Director R&D she was responsible for several internal and partnered biomarker discovery programs. She played a leading role in the company’s transformation from a proteomics discovery company to a diagnostic product company until the company was acquired in 2014.

Dr. Vanpoucke holds a PhD in Biotechnology from Ghent University and did a postdoc at the MRC in Edinburgh, UK.

Investors

Our Science

Welcome to Montis Biosciences, where innovation meets precision in the pursuit of transformative therapeutics. 

Montis Biosciences was founded based on the foundational science of the laboratories of Prof. Peter Carmeliet and Prof. Massimiliano Mazzone (VIB-KULeuven).

At Montis Biosciences, we are dedicated to pioneering ground-breaking solutions that target the perivascular microenvironment across various diseases, aiming to restore the interplay among circulation, vasculature, and stroma.

Contrary to historical approaches that sought to destroy tumor vessels, our research unveils a paradigm shift. Rather than dismantling the blood vessels, we harness their potential to guide the correct immune cells to the tumor, yielding more potent and sustainable effects. Vascular dysfunction, a neglected aspect in current therapies, actively contributes to the malignant immune microenvironment, and our approach seeks to address this oversight.

What sets Montis Biosciences apart is our distinctive and patient-centric approach to target identification. We understand that each patient is unique, and our commitment to personalized medicine is at the core of everything we do. We leverage a robust human-based experimental platform that not only helps in uncovering disease vulnerabilities but also drives effective drug discovery programs. 

Backed by leading life science investors including Droia Ventures, Polaris Partners, ALSA Ventures, and Pfizer Ventures, Montis Biosciences stands at the forefront of innovation, driven by a shared vision to revolutionize healthcare.

Join us on this journey as we redefine the boundaries of therapeutic innovation, bringing effective solutions to those in need. 

Pipeline

Scientific Founders

Andrea Casazza
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Prof. Dr. Peter Carmeliet

Professor Peter Carmeliet (MD, PhD) is Head of the Laboratory of Angiogenesis & Vascular Metabolism at KULeuven and Professor of Medicine and Honorary Director at VIB-KULeuven Center for Cancer Biology.

He started his own research group in 1992 focusing on the role of blood vessels in health and disease. Since 2009, he has pioneered new research to therapeutically exploit the aberrant vasculature in disease. His single cell RNA-sequencing studies characterized the transcriptome of tumor endothelial cells and was the foundational research for Montis Biosciences to uncover the immune-related functions of endothelial cells in concert with perivascular macrophages.

Professor Carmeliet was the recipient of various awards, including the Francqui Prize in Biology and Medical Sciences (2002), the Ernst Jung Prize in Medicine (2010) and the Heineken Prize for Medicine (2018). He is the most cited author of Nature Medicine.

Massimiliano Mazzone
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Prof. Massimiliano Mazzone

Professor Massimiliano Mazzone (PhD) is Head of the Laboratory of Tumor Inflammation and Angiogenesis at the VIB-KULeuven Center for Cancer Biology.

His research team is focusing on the response of inflammatory cells to hypoxic and metabolic conditions, to ultimately restore both the vasculature and a favorable immune response in pathological conditions such as cancer. His work on perivascular macrophages laid the basis for Montis Biosciences to study the interaction between tumor endothelial cells and macrophages.

Professor Mazzone is Full Professor at KULeuven since 2017 and throughout his career he received multiple national and international awards and recognitions, such as the Belgian Royal Academy Prize, the Giulia Colletta Award, EMBO awards, the Chiara d’Onofrio Award, ERC grants, …

Careers

Montis Biosciences is a young innovative biotech company based just outside Leuven, Belgium.

We are committed to developing cutting-edge therapies for the treatment of serious diseases and we want to make a positive impact on the lives of patients around the world.

Montis Biosciences creates a collaborative and supportive environment where employees are empowered to reach their full potential. We value teamwork, innovation and creativity and we are committed to fostering a culture of respect, diversity, inclusion and open communication.

Current career opportunities

There are no open positions for the moment, but feel free to send your spontaneous application to info@montisbio.com.

Contact 

Montis Biosciences

Arenberg Bio-Accelerator
Gaston Geenslaan 3
3001 Leuven
Belgium

info@montisbio.com