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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.  


Klaus Paulini, PhD

President and Chief Executive Officer, Aeterna Zentaris, Inc., Managing Director of Aeterna Zentaris GmbH

Klaus was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company in October 2019 and also serves as an Executive Director of the Corporation. Dr. Paulini is based in Frankfurt, Germany at our subsidiary, Aeterna Zentaris GmbH, where he was appointed Managing Director in July 2019 and as Vice President of Quality and Regulatory in February 2018. Dr. Paulini 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 of the Company’s clinical development projects – including Macrilen™/Macimorelin – in R&D phase as group leader of 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.


Eckhard G. Guenther, PhD

Managing Director and Senior Vice President, Business Development, Aeterna Zentaris GmbH

Eckhard, based in Frankfurt, Germany, was appointed as Managing Director of Aeterna Zentaris GmbH in January 2020, and Vice President of Business Development & Alliance Management in 2018. Dr. Guenther brings more than 25 years in the pharmaceutical industry, with profound knowledge and expertise in drug discovery and development in various indication areas like oncology and endocrinology. Additionally, over the course of his career he has gained extensive experience throughout research coordination, project management, intellectual properties and business development.


After receiving his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the Martin-Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (Germany), he started his industrial career at Fahlberg-List Magdeburg in 1985. In 1990 he joined ASTA Medica AG in Frankfurt where he worked in the department of Medicinal Chemistry. During his time at ASTA Medica, Dr. Guenther was significantly involved in the preparation and execution for the spin-off of the biotechnology company Zentaris from ASTA Medica. After the founding of Aeterna Zentaris in 2002 he was appointed to Vice President of Drug Discovery and Preclinical Research. In 2008 he was promoted to Vice President Alliance Management & Intellectual Property and in 2014 he became Vice President of Business Development at Aeterna Zentaris. Dr. Guenther was responsible for the initiation and execution of several R&D and licensing deals with midsize and large international pharmaceutical companies like Schering Pharma, Solvay, Yakult Honsha, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, and Sinopharm A-Think.

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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