Stephan Pflanz, Ph.D.
Stefan received his PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the RWTH Aachen (Germany) in 1999; his PhD research was concerned with characterization of the molecular determinants governing cytokine/receptor interactions and cytokine signaling in the IL-6 cytokine family. After his PhD, Stefan shifted his research focus fully to Immunology and he conducted a three-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at DNAX Research Institute in Palo Alto (California) which resulted in the discovery and initial functional characterization of a novel immune-regulatory cytokine, now known as IL-27. Stefan joined Micromet (Munich, Germany) as Lab Head in 2003, and in 2004 advanced to the role of Head of Target Research at Micromet where he worked on targets for Ab-based therapeutics, including early generation BiTE molecules, in inflammatory diseases and cancer. Stefan returned to Palo Alto in 2006, assuming a Principal Investigator, Head of Cytokine Biology, position at Schering-Plough Biopharma, heading exploratory research efforts for target identification and validation in the areas of inflammatory diseases and fibrosis. In 2011 Stefan joined Gilead Sciences (Foster City, CA) as Senior Research Scientist where he managed a research group and multiple collaborations focused on identification and pre-clinical validation of immune-modulatory targets in chronic viral diseases, HIV and HBV, as well as in oncology. During his time at Gilead Stefan also served as research lead for the PhIb/PhII clinical development of Gilead’s TLR7 agonist compound, GS-9620, with a particular focus on biomarker strategy. In 2016 Stefan was recruited to Boehringer-Ingelheim (BI) and was responsible for building up the Immune Modulation Research team for BI in Europe. In addition to the team build-up his responsibilities included design and implementation of research strategy, portfolio build-up and management, maximizing team efficiency and operational excellence, and identifying/managing/coordinating key external partnerships. In 2020 Stefan joined the Boehringer-Ingelheim Venture Fund (BIVF) in the role of Executive Director for investments in the therapeutics’ space, he currently represents BIVF on the board of directors in four US-based companies.
Stefan is an author of currently 50 peer-reviewed scientific articles and he is an inventor on several patents.