PASCAL PUCHOIS, PHD, PHARMD, CLINICAL PATHOLOGIST
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Dr Pascal Puchois is the founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Trans-Hit Bio (THB). As such, he is the reference scientific person within the company for project management purposes and leads the development of the partnered network of biobanks and R&D collaborators.
Pascal is a Clinical Pathologist with a degree in Pharmacy, in Medical Pathology and PhDs in Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (University of Lille, France). After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (USA), he worked at Institut Pasteur de Lille where he headed the Biomarker R&D Unit and also was the head of a hospital’s multidisciplinary Clinical Laboratory.
After this academic career, he founded and/or managed various international Clinical Research Organizations and central clinical laboratories: Data Master Clinical Research, which became a publicly traded company in 1993 (FDM Pharma, France), CAP (College of American Pathologists) accredited Medical Research Laboratories in Brussels (Belgium), the Central Institute for Clinical Investigation (Sophia-Antipolis, France), and BioInova Life Sciences Montreal. He also served as Vice President for drug discovery biotech companies including Celmed Biosciences and Chronogen where he implemented drug development strategies based on the use of biomarkers in the immuno-oncology and CNS areas.
His extensive experience in the CRO industry and his biomarker expertise combined to a quality-oriented mindset (previously a certified Quality Assurance auditor for clinical and central laboratories) made possible THB’s high-end scientific positioning.
HICHAM LAHLOU, PHD, MBA
SENIOR DIRECTOR PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Dr Hicham Lahlou joined the company in 2013 and has since successfully led over 100 clinical biospecimen procurement projects. In addition to his customer services manager function, he plays a key role in the implementation of THB corporate development strategy, growing both the customer portfolio and the partnered biobanks and clinical sites network.
Hicham holds a PhD in cellular and molecular pharmacology from the University of Toulouse (France). Prior to joining THB, Hicham was a Research Associate at the McGill University Cancer Centre where he was in charge of studying the molecular mechanisms involved in the HER2/neu oncogene-induced mammary tumorigenesis. In 10 years of academic research, he has successfully managed several research projects related to pancreatic and breast cancer that have led to numerous international publications in top tier scientific journals. He received his MBA from the Hautes Études Commerciales Business School of Montreal where he perfected his project management and customer relationship management skills.
Hicham is a solutions-driven individual, he excels at finding operational and contractual solutions suitable for all stakeholders in biospecimen procurement.
At THB, he mentors newly recruited project leaders so that they develop the same unique capacity to understand that no is not an answer within our company and that projects entrusted by THB customers are successfully completed however challenging they may be.
SOPHIE DAHAN, PHD, PMP
Dr Sophie Dahan manages biospecimen procurement centric R&D projects, is instrumental in the formation of new partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and biorepositories and in the improvement of THB operational processes.
Sophie holds a PhD in Cell Biology from McGill University (Montreal, Canada) and she is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). She carried out post-doctoral studies at the University of Montreal (Montreal, Canada) and at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN). In 2001 Sophie joined Caprion Pharmaceuticals and, through proteomics technologies, made significant contributions to the identification of candidate cancer protein biomarkers and immunotherapy drug targets. In 2007 as R&D Section Leader at PerkinElmer, a life sciences and IVD company, Sophie led a team of scientists in the development, validation and launch of high-throughput screening reagents for the detection of disease protein biomarkers and post-translational modifications in in vitro and cell-based assays. In 2013 Sophie joined the CRO Immuni T, as Principal Project Manager, and managed the operations team and customer interactions for GLP, non-GLP and clinical studies, including development and validation of esoteric assays including multiplex biomarkers, cell- and flow cytometry-based analyses for assessment of cell activation, cytotoxicity and immunogenicity prediction for new biotherapeutics.
Sophie is THB’s flagship in terms of total dedication to quality, an utmost condition for meeting or exceeding customers’ expectations.
DAVID SHAHBAZIAN, PHD
Dr David Shahbazian manages biospecimen procurement centric R&D projects, is instrumental in the formation of new partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and biorepositories and plays an active role in corporate development initiatives.
David holds an MSc degree in Cell Biology and Immunology from Tel Aviv University (Israel) and a PhD in Biochemistry from McGill University (Montreal, Canada). Prior to joining THB, David completed 7 years of postdoctoral studies in Oncology successively at Yale University (New Haven, CT) and Georgetown University (Washington, DC). Supported by the National Cancer Institute and done in collaboration with the large pharmaceutical companies, his research at Yale Cancer Center concentrated on the discovery of synergistically effective regimens combining new targeted drugs (BRAF and MEK inhibitors) and radiation therapy in melanoma. While training at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, David focused on immuno-oncology and studied molecular mechanisms underlying tumor immune escape specifically in pancreatic cancer. David’s scientific research resulted in publication of many peer-reviewed research manuscripts, invited review articles, and book chapters.
David’s scientific background in a variety of biomedical disciplines including immunology, biochemistry, pharmacology, genetics, and molecular oncology allows him to understand at depth and troubleshoot issues faced by our customers in the lab in the context of biospecimen-based assays.
At THB, as a multilingual individual with outstanding interpersonal relationships, David, on a daily basis, reminds all the staff that the CRO business is also about customer relationships and service culture.
VANESSA TUMILASCI, PHD
Dr Vanessa Tumilasci manages biospecimen procurement centric R&D projects, is instrumental in the formation of new partnerships with pharmaceutical companies and biorepositories and plays an active role in corporate development initiatives.
Vanessa holds an MSc. degree in Biotechnology from Sao Paulo University (Brazil) and a PhD in Microbiology & Immunology from McGill University (Montreal, Canada). While training at the Lady Davis Institute/McGill University, Vanessa focused her research on the development of a cancer combination therapy using Oncolytic virus and BCL-2 inhibitors to treat leukemic cancer cells (B-CLL). Vanessa’s scientific research resulted in the publication of many peer-reviewed research manuscripts and invited review articles. Prior to joining Trans-Hit Bio, Vanessa carried out an Industrial Post-doctoral fellowship at MediMabs (Montreal, Canada) on the development of bispecific antibodies. In 2012, she joined the project management team at MediMabs and as of 2015 led the business development efforts. During her time at MediMabs, Vanessa was a key player in scientific customer service, implemented the company’s corporate development strategy, and grew to a record level the number of collaborations between MediMabs and academic partners.
Vanessa joins THB with a dual track record of excellence in science and science customer services, reminding all the team that attention to both skills is an utmost condition to the development of a high-end scientific CRO.
HUAIJIAN GUO, PHD
Dr Huaijian Guo joined THB in November 2016 and manages biospecimen procurement centric R&D projects.
Huaijian holds a BSc. from the University of Science and Technology of China (Hefei, China) and a PhD in Experimental Medicine from McGill University (Montreal, Canada). During his training at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM) / McGill University, Huaijian was involved in several research projects aiming to understand the signaling mechanisms mediated by critical receptors in immune cells. His research focused on the regulation of immune cells in disease in in vitro and in vivo models, evaluating specifically the activation of T cells, B cells, natural killer cells, natural killer T cells, macrophages and dendritic cells. Remarkably, Huaijian’s studies uncovered the signaling mechanism of a potential biotherapeutic antibody in the treatment of multiple myleloma. Huaijian’s scientific research resulted in multiple peer-reviewed research publications and invited review articles.
Huaijian, as a bicultural brilliant young scientist, brings to THB both an in-depth and invaluable expertise in immuno-oncology and, through linguistic and cultural links, an effective and markedly enhanced scope for business collaboration with Chinese R&D academic teams.
YOGESH BRAMHECHA, PHD (summer 2018)
Yogesh Bramhecha joined THB in January 2018. He manages clinical biospecimen procurement projects acting as a scientific liaison between industrial end-users and THB’s academic partners.
Yogesh holds an M.Sc. degree in Biotechnology from University of Pune (India) and is completing a Ph.D. (summer 2018) in Experimental Medicine from McGill University (Canada). During his Ph.D., Yogesh worked with a multi-disciplinary team of health care professionals and oncology thought-leaders to establish the clinical significance of novel biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets in prostate cancer. During his Ph.D., Yogesh was awarded 17 competitive fellowships/trainee awards, invited to present his research at 25+ national and international conferences, and published his research in peer-reviewed journals. With a proven track record of working on several multi-institutional projects, he has established strong collaborative relationships with pan-Canadian oncology key opinion leaders and academic influencers. Yogesh also holds certificates in Project Management, ICH-GCP, and Clinical Research Ethics. He is serving as a Scientific Expert on the Clinical Research Ethics Board of McGill University Health Centre.
Yogesh, as a multi-lingual scientific professional, brings to THB invaluable expertise in clinical biomarker development (oncology), Clinical Research Ethics, and an enhanced potential for fostering strategic business collaboration with stakeholders in North America and India.
ANN COOREMAM, PHD
REGULATORY AFFAIRS AND PROJECT MANAGMENT
World class biospecimen compliance expert Dr. Ann Cooreman joined THB’s multi-national team in January 2017. She is responsible for overseeing regulatory, ethical, and quality assurance issues and will also be instrumental in the development of THB’s European branch, partnering with key clients and biorepositories.
Ann holds an MA from Antwerp University (Antwerp, Belgium), and a PhD from the University of Oregon (Eugene, OR). Following on from various postdoctoral fellowships, she started her career in the Biobank field as a Project Manager for Scottish Biomedical with the primary responsibility of setting up a Tissue Bank. Afterwards Ann co-founded and led Tissue Solutions Ltd (Glasgow, UK) where she had a variety of corporate, business development, and operational responsibilities and developed this company into a top 3 service provider in Europe. While there, she supervised hundreds of projects for high profile clients, establishing privileged relationships with the most prestigious academic clinical sites and biobanks. Her company was the first biospecimen procurement service company to obtain the ISO 9001 certification. When she sold her interests in the company in 2015, Ann became an independent consultant in ethics and regulatory affairs advising a number of academic and commercial entities or regulatory bodies.
Ann is a solution-driven individual who does not make compliance to local and international guidelines a barrier to business but a signal to donors and caregivers of our deep respect for them and a process to enable the development of trust among partners.
Ann shares with the THB team the deeply-held conviction that tissue procurement is not a commodity business but a research activity.
ROBERT HEWITT, MD, PHD
DIRECTOR, BIOBANK CONSORTIA & COMMUNICATION
Dr Robert Hewitt joined the company in November 2017. He is responsible for developing THB’s existing international networks of biobanks and for enhancing interactions between industry and academic partners.
Robert holds a medical degree from St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, UK (1983) and a PhD in tumour virology from the Institute of Virology, University of Glasgow, UK (1989). As lecturer in pathology at the University of Nottingham, UK, and then as visiting fellow at the US National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD) he conducted research on the molecular pathology of colorectal cancer and specifically, the role of matrix metalloproteinases in tumour invasion. He became involved in biobanking as a research fellow at Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College School of Medicine, London, UK, from 1988-2000. Since then he has established /managed biobanks in Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Luxembourg. He was president of ISBER (International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories) from 2008-2009, chairing many of their committees, and was European Editor of the journal Biopreservation and Biobanking from 2009-2015. In 2010 Robert co-founded ESBB (the European, Middle Eastern & African Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking) and served as executive officer until 2017 when he joined THB.
His wide experience of medical research and biobanking add to THB a unique expertise for building specific pathology-based consortia of biobanks aiming to support current and future developments in precision medicine.
PhD, PHARMD, AMP
At THB, as a Managing Partner, Dr Benoit Bouche supervises support functions including finance, HR, legal, and business development. He also manages corporate development initiatives.
Benoit got his Pharmacy degree in 1984 and a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Lille in 1986. He took the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School in 2002.
He is a seasoned deal maker with an entrepreneurial background. Benoit successively founded and was the CEO of several companies in the healthcare field: Astel Laboratories (Delmed group), a medical device company in the orthopedics field that was acquired by Zimmer/BMS; FDM Pharma, a clinical stage CRO whose central lab activities were acquired by MDS Pharma now integrated into LabCorp and whose consultancy activities were spun-off; and Galien Developpement, a regional network of pharmacies.
As an investment banker, he was a Managing Director at Puilaetco, a Belgian brokerage firm now part of KBC, where he was head of research and became an independent investor/senior advisor in 2002. In this position, he has advised tens of healthcare companies on innovation and growth-related issues, becoming over time an expert in build-up business models. He led the creation of the healthcare franchise of an M&A investment banking boutique in Paris, and has been instrumental in approximately 40 M&A transactions and fundraisings.
He has acquired an unrivaled experience in the CRO business, has held since 1999 a seat on the board of Mapi Group, the world leading independent late phase CRO, and was elected as of January 2017 Chairman of the Board at Neomed Labs, a high-quality clinical immunology laboratory services CRO spun-off from GSK in 2015.
Benoit brings to THB the entrepreneurial deal making spirit that translates in the development of our global network of partnered biobanks.