MAY 2020

Kurt Kessler joins InterAx Biotech AG as new CEO 


Villigen, May 26th, 2020 / InterAx Biotech AG is pleased to announce that Dr. Kurt Kessler has joined the company as their new Managing Director (CEO). Kurt Kessler is a Senior Executive with 30 years of international experience in the biopharmaceutical industry. 

Kurt Kessler’s professional career has been centered in the pharmaceutical industry, with expertise in portfolio strategy, clinical development, go-to-market strategy, positioning, segmentation, and promotional optimization as marketing tools. His expertise guided numerous early stage assets through clinical development to approval, launch, and commercial success. Kurt has been working with both, small pre-clinical start-ups as well as some of the largest pharmaceutical firms in the world from early discovery through full commercialization of their assets. He has been very successful in helping Life Science companies to achieve commercial success.

Experience and outlook

As a senior Principal at ZS, a global consulting firm focused on life sciences, Kurt Kessler led their relationships with several European headquartered global pharmaceutical firms. As a leader for the ZS Marketing Business Area, Kurt also led the creation of new services and worked directly with clients in a wide range of issues in the pharmaceutical industry. Kurt also served on ZS’ Management Committee for each of the past 12 years.
Before joining ZS, Kurt devoted a decade to consulting exclusively with pharmaceutical marketers, designing and conducting hundreds of engagements to develop fact-based commercial actions. For four years he also served a diverse set of clients as a management consultant with PriceWaterhouse.

Jens Gobrecht, Head of the board of Directors of InterAx Biotech says “In the name of the board of InterAx Biotech, I am tremendously pleased to have Kurt on board. We were very lucky to be able to find and engage someone with his knowledge, experience and personality, which come as a perfect fit to the future needs of InterAx for the envisioned growth phase ahead of us. Kurt will motivate and enable the young and ambitious team to further strengthen our unique technologies for advanced drug discovery, thus creating more value for our customers.”
Kurt commented that “I am extremely pleased to join InterAx at such an exciting time in their journey. The unique approach they have already built and demonstrated to improve drug discovery are a fantastic foundation to build on.”

InterAx Biotech AG

InterAx Biotech AG is pioneering computational pharmacology for drug discovery. The Swiss company is uniquely positioned to assist drug candidate selection and design for G protein-coupled receptors in collaborative projects with Biotech and Pharma companies. InterAx applies mathematical models and simulations to in-house derived bioanalytical data in order to address the complexity of drug-induced cellular signaling mechanisms. For more information, please visit

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APR 2020

A Spanish-Swiss Liaison to fight COVID-19


Barcelona, Spain and Villigen Switzerland – 14th April, 2020


Today, Prof. Jana Selent from the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) in Barcelona, Spain, and InterAx Biotech in Villigen, Switzerland announce a COVID-19 collaboration, funded by the catalán life sciences and healthcare innovation institution Biocat. The goal of this collaboration is to identify antiviral drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 by combining virtual screening of a 3D-structural database and assessing the effectiveness of these compounds to block viral entry.

In December 2019, the highly contagious and pathogenic human CoVs (the SARS-CoV-2) appeared in Wuhan (China), which has led to a pandemic with high morbidity and mortality. Prof. Selent and her team have now joined forces with InterAx Biotech to screen for potential antiviral compounds in a virtual 3D-structrual database by using specific computational algorithms and to subsequently test their effectiveness in a SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus entry blocking assay. The main goal of this project is to identify antiviral drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 by reprofiling existing drugs. Prof. Selent says: ”For this project, we focus on two strategies that interfere with the cell entry of SARS-CoV-2. One is to target the spike glycoprotein S of SARS-CoV-2 and the other one is to tackle the serine protease TMPRSS2. We are excited to team up with InterAx Biotech on testing these compounds in the wet-lab and anticipate that such a dual strategy increases the success rate of discovering effective therapeutic agents against COVID-19.”

The team of InterAx Biotech and Professor Jana Selent’s team hope to test the first antiviral compounds by May 2020. 


For further information, please contact:

Dr. Jana Selent, Head of GPCR Drug Discovery Lab   |   IMIM, 08003, Barcelona, Spain.  |   Tel. 0034/933160648  

Dr. Maria Waldhoer, Chief Science Officer  |  InterAx Biotech, 5234 Villigen, Switzerland  |



Webpage IMIM:

Webpage Funding agency:

Webpage Selent Lab: COVID-19 project progress

Movie: Target modelling

APR 2020


InterAx Biotech supporting the COVID-19 initiative

SARS-CoV-2/ACE-2 pseudovirus entry blocking assay


The spike glypcoprotein S of SARS-CoV-2 uses the human Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) as an entry receptor and recognizes it with a similar affinity to the 2002–2003 SARS-CoV isolates, which suggests it can spread efficiently in humans, in agreement with the numerous SARS-CoV-2 human-to-human transmission events reported to date (Walls et al., 2020).


In collaboration with its academic partners at the PSI, InterAx Biotech is establishing a pseudovirus entry assay using murine leukemia virus based pseudotyped particles expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (and other relevant SARS-CoV-2 envelope proteins). The assay is described in detail in Walls et al. (2020) and Millet et al. (2016, 2019) and will enable a medium-throughput (96 well format) screen for blocking the interaction of the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein (and other envelope proteins) and the human ACE2 expressed in a host target cell line. This assay is suitable to be performed in the BSL-2 facilities at PSI and non-infective compounds ranging from small molecules to antibody sera can be tested. For detailed information please send an Email to with COVID-19 in the header.




Walls AC, Park YJ, Tortorici MA, Wall A, McGuire AT, Veesler D. Structure, Function, and Antigenicity of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Glycoprotein. Cell. 2020 Mar 6. pii: S0092-8674(20)30262-2. 

Millet JK, Tang T, Nathan L, Jaimes JA, Hsu HL, Daniel S, Whittaker GR. Production of Pseudotyped Particles to Study Highly Pathogenic Coronaviruses in a Biosafety Level 2 Setting. J Vis Exp., 2019 Mar 1;(145). 

Millet JK, Whittaker GR. Murine Leukemia Virus (MLV)-based Coronavirus Spike-pseudotyped Particle Production and Infection.  Bio Protoc. 2016 Dec 5;6(23). pii: e2035