The Aeterna Zentaris Corporate Officer team is comprised of senior executives with extensive acquisition, financial, clinical development, marketing and commercial experience in the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries. 


Michael V. Ward

President & Chief Executive Officer, Aeterna Zentaris

Michael has over thirty years of executive and legal experience in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and technology industries. Most recently, he served as an executive officer for Sagent Pharmaceuticals, a NASDAQ-listed global specialty generic pharmaceutical company, and led its sale to Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. for $736 million. Michael has served as Strategic Advisor to Benevolent Capital Partners for the last five years. Michael has also served in several executive roles and was responsible for business development, compliance, legal and operational matters in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and technology industries during his career. 

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Leslie Auld

Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Aeterna Zentaris

Leslie has over twenty-five years of accounting, finance and pharmaceutical industry experience, with increasingly senior roles at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Helix BioPharma Corp., Luminex Diagnostics (formerly TM BioScience Corp.), Attwell Capital Inc. (formerly Fralex Therapeutics) and GeneNews Limited. A Chartered Professional Accountant, Ms. Auld graduated with an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacology & Toxicology from the University of Western Ontario and has a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Toronto.

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Klaus was appointed as Managing Director of our German subsidiary Aeterna Zentaris GmbH in July 2019 and as Vice President Quality and Regulatory in February 2018. Dr. Paulini, who is based in Frankfurt, Germany, office of our German subsidiary, began his career in the pharmaceutical industry at ASTA Medica AG in 1997. He had an active role when Zentaris was formed and spun out of ASTA Medica, and served in various roles with increasing responsibility at the company ever since, including project responsibility for Cetrotide®. As Head of Quality Assurance, Dr. Paulini successfully managed many ouf our clinical development projects – including Macrilen™/Macimorelin – in R&D phase as group leader medicinal chemistry. With his extensive experience and knowledge, he provided successful oversight and valuable input for our pharmaceutical and clinical development programs, ensuring successful and compliant outcomes, ultimately leading to regulatory approvals by the US FDA and the EMA. Dr. Paulini obtained his PhD (Dr. Ing.) in chemistry at the Technical University Darmstadt (Germany) in 1993 and specialized in medicinal chemistry/drug discovery during subsequent postdoctoral fellowships at Strathclyde University (Glasgow, Scotland) and J.W. Goethe University (Frankfurt, Germany) before joining ASTA Medica AG.

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Nicola Ammer

Vice President, Clinical Development and Chief Medical Officer, Aeterna Zentaris

Nicola was appointed as our Vice President, Clinical Development and as Chief Medical Officer in February 2018. She serves as one of our executive officers. Dr. Ammer, who is based in the Frankfurt, Germany, office of our German subsidiary, began her career in the pharmaceutical medicine environment in the CRO business in 2002 and gained profound knowledge of all aspects of clinical research & development in various positions with increasing responsibility, including a Director of Clinical Operations. She joined Aeterna Zentaris GmbH in March 2015 as Clinical Program Director and took over the role of the Head of Clinical Development in January 2016. She possesses numerous skills in the area of pharmaceutical medicine and contributed significantly to the successful completion of the macimorelin clinical development program in the adult indication. Dr. Ammer obtained the license to practice medicine in 1995 after completion of her academic studies at the University of Essen. She was awarded a doctorate diploma in medicine by the University of Münster in 2004 and a Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Medicine by the University Duisburg-Essen in 2009.