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Leadership Team

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


Giles Gagnon M.Sc., MBA

President and Chief Executive Officer

Gilles Gagnon serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Ceapro. Prior to joining Ceapro, he was President and CEO of Aeterna Zentaris, a Nasdaq-listed biopharmaceutical company. During the past 35 years, Mr. Gagnon has worked at several management levels within the field of health, especially in the hospital environment and pharmaceutical industry. Before going to Aeterna Zentaris in 1999, Mr. Gagnon was Vice President, external affairs for Novartis Pharma Canada Inc. from 1996 to 1999. Prior to that, from 1989 to 1996, Mr. Gagnon held various positions including Executive Director, Corporate Planning and Business Development, Senior Director, Strategic Alliances, General Manager, Government Affairs and Access to Market and Director of Professional Services at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Inc. Throughout his career in the pharmaceutical industry, Mr. Gagnon was especially involved in corporate development, alliance management, as well as marketing functions where he participated in the launch of nine innovative pharmaceutical products in addition to his general management functions.

Mr. Gagnon has participated in several international committees and strategic advisory boards. He completed three mandates on the board of directors of Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D, now Innovative Medicine Canada) where he represented for nine years members from the biopharmaceutical sector and pioneered the Rx&D's Canadian bio partnering initiative. He also served on various boards in the life sciences industry including private organizations like Bio Quebec (Chairman) and Montreal In Vivo as well as publicly-traded biotech Nasdaq listed companies. Mr. Gagnon holds a master’s degree in pharmacology (M.Sc.) and a master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Sherbrooke University, a certificate in General Management from the London Business School, UK and holds an ICD.D certification for completing the Directors Education Program at the Rothman School of Management of University of Toronto. He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors.


Matthias Gerlach, PhD

Senior Vice President Manufacturing & Supply Chain – Head of Production

Managing Director, Aeterna Zentaris GmbH

Matthias Gerlach was appointed as Managing Director of Aeterna Zentaris GmbH in February 2024  and as Senior Vice President, Manufacturing and Supply Chain in January 2021.  From December 2011 through May 2014, he was our Vice President, Medicinal Chemistry. Dr. Gerlach, who is based in the Frankfurt office of AEZS Germany, began his career in the pharmaceutical industry in 1997. He joined our Company in January 2001, assuming roles of increasing responsibility in areas of medicinal chemistry and preclinical development through product commercialization during his career. He possesses numerous scientific and business skills and has a long record of successful innovation, drug development and management, and contributed significantly to the successful U.S.- and EU/UK-commercialization of macimorelin in the adult indication. Dr. Gerlach obtained a diploma in Chemistry from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt in 1994 and was awarded his doctorate diploma in synthetic organic chemistry by the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in 1997.

Giuliano La Fratta_edited.jpg

Giuliano La Fratta

Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Mr. La Fratta is a senior financial professional with over 20 years of professional experience in the pharmaceutical, biopharma and financial services sector. During his career, he has served in both the public and private sectors where he has gained significant experience in leading and managing broad financial activities, including M&A transactions, corporate development, auditing, accounting and administrative functions. Prior to joining Aeterna Zentaris, Mr. La Fratta served as the Vice President of Finance at CellCarta (formerly Caprion Biosciences), a private equity-owned specialty Clinical Research and Development Organization laboratory with global operations headquartered in Montreal, Canada. Prior to CellCarta, Mr. La Fratta served in various functions at IMS Canada Health (now Iqvia) and Cato Research. He began his career at Deloitte Touche as a Senior Auditor for both Canadian and American companies across various industries, including the pharmaceutical sector. Mr. La Fratta holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Concordia University and holds a CPA, CA designation.


Nicola Ammer, MD

Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, Aeterna Zentaris, Inc. and
Head of Clinical Development, Aeterna Zentaris GmbH

Nicola was appointed as the Company’s Vice President of Clinical Development and as Chief Medical Officer in February 2018, additionally, 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 Head of Clinical Development in January 2016. She possesses numerous skills in  pharmaceutical medicines 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 of Duisburg-Essen in 2009.


Michael Teifel, PhD

Senior Vice President, Non-Clinical Development and Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Teifel rejoined Aeterna Zentaris in May 2021, having held various positions in industry with increasing responsibilities in pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, toxicology and translational sciences. Dr. Teifel is a leading industry executive with a career spanning over 20 years in various therapeutic areas, including endocrinology and oncology. He has deep experience in translating research into clinical development. Over the course of his career, he has gained particular expertise in the design and implementation of non-clinical development programs for small molecule drugs, peptides, targeted therapies, and biologics, as well as in the continued non-clinical evaluation of drug candidates for global registration. 


Dr. Teifel began his career in industry at Roche Diagnostics in the area of delivery systems / non-viral gene therapy. In 1999, Dr. Teifel joined the biotech start-up, Munich Biotech in Martinsried, Germany as a co-founder. As head of pharmacology & toxicology, he was responsible for the evaluation and non-clinical development of a novel vascular targeting technology for the development of anti-tumor diagnostics and therapeutics.Dr. Teifel started his first term at Aeterna Zentaris in 2004, where he held several positions in the field of preclinical development and translational research. In his capacity he was, among others, responsible for preparation of the non-clinical dossier for registration of macimorelin in the U.S. and EU in the indication AGHD. In 2019, Dr. Teifel left Aeterna Zentaris to pursue his career in non-clinical research and development at Cleara Biotech in Utrecht, The Netherlands. As head of translational sciences at Cleara Biotech, he was responsible for translating research on anti-senescent drugs into pre-clinical development in age-related diseases and late-stage cancer. Dr. Teifel holds a degree in biology and his Ph.D. from the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany.

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