Management & Directors

Christopher U. Missling, MS, PhD, MBA

Dr. Missling, President and CEO of Anavex, has over 20 years of healthcare industry experience within large pharmaceutical companies, the biotech industry and investment banking. Prior to joining Anavex®, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of Curis and ImmunoGen. In addition, at Aventis (now Sanofi),  Dr. Missling worked as head of financial planning on all aspects of financial strategy and M&A. His career experience also includes working as an investment banker in the healthcare practice at Deutsche Bank, serving pharmaceutical, biotech, and diagnostic companies, as well as serving as the head of healthcare investment banking at Brimberg & Co. in New York. Dr. Missling has an MS and PhD from the University of Munich in Chemistry and an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

Stephan Toutain, MS, MBA, SVP Operations

Stephan Toutain brings more than 25 years of drug development, general management, operations, commercial development, market access, and sales and marketing leadership with particular expertise in neurology and orphan drug markets globally. Before joining Anavex, he held the role of CCO at Interleukin Genetics. He also worked with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals to build its early access program. Previously, he led Global Commercial Development for Sarepta Therapeutics and served as General Manager for Alexion Pharmaceuticals in Europe. Mr. Toutain has also held various U.S. commercial, marketing and product management positions with Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Celgene Corporation, and Johnson & Johnson. He received a Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina, and a Master of Engineering in Biotechnology from the University of Nancy II in France.

Emmanuel O Fadiran, RPh, PhD

Dr. Emmanuel O (“Tayo”) Fadiran, the Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs has over 26 years of experience in government service, of which 24 years were dedicated to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Prior to Anavex®, Dr. Fadiran served as Clinical Pharmacology Team Leader at the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER).  During his 24 years (1993-2017) tenure at the FDA he reviewed hundreds of NDAs, sNDAs, BLAs, ANDAs and INDs for approval and strategic recommendations for the development of several products across many therapeutic categories.  He was also on review teams for several novel therapies including first in class approvals.  Dr. Fadiran also led a cross-disciplinary NDA review team and authored the first Cross-Discipline Team Leader (CDTL) review for the Division of the Pulmonary & Allergy Products, Office of Drug Evaluation II, CDER.  He was actively involved in the writing, internal/external training and the implementation of the US FDA Guidance for Industry for population pharmacokinetics.

Dr. Fadiran has been involved in the formulation of significant strategic FDA regulatory initiatives including serving as a member of the Senior Management Teams for the Data Standard (Janus) and Sentinel Initiatives.  He was an active member of the FDA Senior Science Council working group for the creation and launching of the FDA’s Strategic Plan for Regulatory Science in 2012.  Recently he has played an active role in the development of the Comprehensive in vitro Proarrhythmia Assay (CiPA) for future replacement of the thorough QT studies.  As a long-term member of the FDA Institutional Review Board (IRB) he actively contributed to the development of standard operating procedures (SOP) for the committee.

Dr. Fadiran holds a BS (Pharmacy) and MS from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK. Dr. Fadiran is a recipient of the prestigious Fogarty International Fellowship of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (1991-1993) as well as numerous awards from the FDA, among them the Commissioner’s Award of Excellence, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to regulatory review of applications and development of regulatory guidance and policies.

Tasos Zografidis, MS, PhD

Dr. Zografidis, the Vice President Clinical Operations of Anavex®, has over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, including 12 years at Wyeth (now Pfizer) in clinical project management and prior to joining Anavex® most recently served as clinical and pharmaceutical consultant.  He has been involved in more than a dozen clinical trials and has co-authored numerous publications.  At Wyeth, Dr. Zografidis spearheaded population pharmacokinetics analysis and its implementation in the clinical setting and positively differentiated compounds.  His work resulted in increased sales and he received several clinical awards for his accomplishments.  Dr. Zografidis first joined Wyeth in 1998 as a Product Manager.  During his tenure until 2010, he had increased responsibility as Medical Liaison for the transplantation, haemophilia and oncology divisions where he was instrumental in driving sales in assigned European territories.

Ulrich Elben, PhD

As Vice President of Preclinical Operations for Anavex®, Dr. Elben oversees pipeline development and optimization.  Dr. Elben has extensive experience in global pharmaceutical development and research.  His background includes roles as VP of Strategic Development Operations at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, with responsibilities including project and portfolio management as well as the development of an oncology project.  In addition, Dr. Elben served as a member of the Vertex drug development advisory board and drug product review committee.  He was also Chief Development Officer at Avaant Pharmaceuticals, where he led the development of oncology projects across the USA, Europe and India.  Earlier in his career, Dr. Elben was CEO of Axxima Pharmaceuticals in Munich, Germany. Dr. Elben started his career with Sanofi-Aventis (former Hoechst Marion Roussel) in Europe and the USA, where his last position was deputy head of project management overseeing also Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia products.  He and his teams were successful at bringing several drugs through the international development cycle and ultimately to market. Dr. Elben was also secretary of the Sanofi-Aventis drug development review committee.  Additionally, Dr. Elben has extensive, recent consulting experience with VCs, biotech companies and API manufacturing companies in the USA, Canada and Europe.  He is currently a member of several organizations, including the CEO advisory board of the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, BioFlorida and the Drug Information Association.  Dr. Elben received his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Bonn, Germany.

Claus van der Velden, PhD, Board of Directors

Claus van der Velden, PhD, brings significant expertise in accounting and is currently corporate head of Management Accounting, Internal Audit and Risk Management at Stroeer SE & Co KGaA, a publicly listed $3bn media company. Previously, Dr. van der Velden served as Director, Corporate Business Controlling for the Nutrition & Health business unit at Cognis, a worldwide supplier of global nutritional ingredients and specialty chemicals with about $3bn sales. In this position, he was also a compliance representative and a member of the global leadership team. After the acquisition of Cognis by BASF, he was responsible for the management accounting processes of the $2bn BASF Nutrition & Health division, developing and producing mostly natural-source ingredients for the food and healthcare industries. Dr. van der Velden started his career as a strategy consultant at an international marketing and strategy consultancy firm. He studied in Kiel and Stockholm and received a degree in economics from the University of Kiel and later obtained his doctorate from the WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management.

Bernd Metzner, PhD

Bernd Metzner, PhD, a director of Anavex®, is currently Chief Financial Officer of the Stroeer Group.  Previously, he was Chief Administration Officer and member of the Board of Management of Bayer Schering Pharma AG, the pharmaceutical division of $100+ billion market cap company Bayer AG.  In this position, Dr. Metzner had worldwide financial responsibility for the Bayer Pharma Group.  During his almost 10-years with Bayer AG, Dr. Metzner also held several senior international management positions in the corporate finance organization of Bayer AG, including Chief Financial Officer of Bayer S.p.A. Italy and heading the coordination of the successful spin-off of Lanxess, a specialty chemicals group.  Dr. Metzner started his career at the law firm Flick Gocke Schaumburg and has a degree in business administration from the University of Siegen.  After obtaining his doctorate, he became a chartered accountant.

Elliot Favus, MD

Elliot Favus, MD, a director of Anavex®, is Chief Executive Officer of Favus Institutional Research, a healthcare research firm serving institutional investors.  He has been a healthcare equity research analyst on Wall Street since 2006, starting at Lazard Capital Markets and subsequently at Och-Ziff Capital Management Group.  Prior to working on Wall Street, Dr. Favus was an Instructor in medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.  He attended the University of Michigan (BA, 1996), the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine (MD, 2001) and the NYU-Bellevue Hospital Internal Medicine Residency Program (2004).  He is board-certified in Internal Medicine (2004) and has 10 years of basic science laboratory experience working on human genetics projects at Harvard Medical School, the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh.

Tom Skarpelos

Mr. Skarpelos, a director of Anavex®, is a self-employed investor with 17 years of experience working with private and public companies.  For the past 10 years, he has been focused on biotechnology companies involved in drug discovery and drug development projects.  Mr. Skarpelos was engaged as a consultant to Anavex®Life Sciences for one year effective August 2, 2010.  His experience has led to relationships with researchers at academic institutes in Europe and North America.  Mr. Skarpelos is a founder of Anavex®Life Sciences, and is its largest shareholder.

Steffen Thomas, PhD

Steffen Thomas, PhD, a director of Anavex®, has over 15 years of experience as a European patent attorney and is currently practicing at Epping Hermann Fischer, a major intellectual property law firm in Europe.  Previously, he worked for Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, the largest pharmaceutical company in Asia and a top firm worldwide, as an in-house patent attorney.  Prior to that, he worked for Nycomed Pharma, acquired by Takeda in 2011 for approximately USD $10 billion.  Dr. Thomas’ legal practice covers drafting of patent applications, prosecuting patent applications before national and international patent offices, defending and challenging patents in opposition, appeal, and nullity proceedings, enforcing patents before the infringement courts, and preparing opinions on patentability and infringement in the technical field of chemistry.  Dr. Thomas has particular expertise in small molecule pharmaceuticals.  He holds MS and PhD degrees in Chemistry from the University of Munich.

Peter Donhauser, D.O.

Peter Donhauser, D.O., a director of Anavex®, has more than 20 years of expertise in clinical research followed by practicing osteopathic medicine with an integrated medical approach in private practice since 2000.  He worked at the University Hospital of Munich in the fields of geriatrics and neuromusculoskeletal diseases.  During this time, he was a clinical trial investigator in multiple Phase 3 studies, including studies sponsored by Merck Sharp & Dohme/Merck, Boehringer Mannheim/Roche, Servier and Sanofi.  He received his human medicine degree at the University of Munich and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) from the DAAO and EROP at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.