Healthcare Startup Laboratoy work visual



BaseLaunch, a 15-month accelerator program specifically tailored to the needs of healthcare startups provides handpicked ventures with access to founder-friendly venture grants, insights, industry access and state-of-the-art infrastructure, and connects them to one of the most dynamic biotech and pharma ecosystems in Europe. BaseLaunch is backed by four industry leaders — Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Novartis Venture Fund, Roche and Pfizer — as well as other public and private partners.


The project was launched in 2017 as an initiative of, the official innovation and economic promotion agency for the region of Basel, which oversees and manages the operations of BaseLaunch. Through its extensive network of decision-makers, innovators and experts, supports entrepreneurs and companies from abroad with the successful implementation of innovation and business ventures in the Basel region. is a member of digitalswitzerland, a cross-industry association to strengthen the country’s position as a digital hub.In order to tap into the unexplored potential of life sciences innovation, BaseLaunch has entered into a partnership with Kickstart Accelerator, a key initiative of digitalswitzerland and one of Europe`s leading multi-corporate accelerators, to offer a healthcare-specific program in Basel.


Applications for our next program cycle, which starts in September 2017 and runs in two phases through December 2018, are now closed.  The next application round will start in early 2018.

Basel region: leading life sciences hub


The Basel region is home to headquarters of world-leading healthcare companies Roche and Novartis and the base of numerous successful biotech businesses. Famous and world-class biomedical research institutions such as the ETH Zürich, with its Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, the Biocenter of the University of Basel, the Friederich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, the Department of Biomedicine of the University Hospital of the University of Basel and the Life Sciences Branch of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts are present.


This dynamic academic and industrial setting, together with the availability of venture capital from top-tier investors such as the Novartis Venture Fund, Versant Ventures, Bay City Capital and the Roche Venture Fund, provide the ideal environment for the creation of new companies. In addition, there is a very active and highly experienced business angel community, with a track-record in the pharma and biotech industry and an eagerness to invest in new companies.


Thanks to its vibrant entrepreneurial healthcare environment, the Basel region has become a hotspot for biotech companies such as Piqur Therapeutics, CRISPR Therapeutics, Nouscom, as well as established players such as Basilea and Santhera.


BaseLaunch is ideally placed in this life-sciences epicenter to provide access to what matters when starting and operating a healthcare company: access to financing as well as talent and specialists from all fields, including research, regulatory, clinical, intellectual property, legal, finance and manufacturing.
For more information on the Basel region as a business location, please visit, northwestern Switzerland’s joint initiative for innovation and economic promotion by the cantons of Basel-Stadt, Basel-Landschaft and Jura.

BaseLaunch Team

Alethia de León Managing Director BaseLaunch

Alethia leads BaseLaunch from within BaselArea. She is also the CEO and founder of Senes Science GmbH, whose mission is to develop medical technologies improving elderly quality of life. Previously, she was at Novartis as Global Head of the Search and Evaluation Business Development Activities for the Neuroscience Unit of Novartis Pharmaceuticals AG. She was also part of the Strategy Team of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and previously had product development and business development roles in biotech and in investment management in private equity. Alethia has an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Alethia de Leon

Managing Director
Dr. Stephan Emmerth Business Development Senior Manager BaseLaunch

Stephan is Senior Manager Business Development for BaseLaunch. In addition, he has been working since 2013 as Senior Project Manager for For the predecessor organization, i-net innovation networks Switzerland, he set-up the Life Sciences practice and accompanied several biotech companies from their earliest steps to acquiring seed financing. He has also been heavily involved in establishing BaseLaunch. Previously, Stephan worked as a postdoc at Roche and in the Medical Affairs Department of Lipomed. Stephan performed his PhD studies at the Friedrich Miescher Institute (Novartis and University of Basel) and holds a Master´s and Bachelor´s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from ETH Zürich.

Dr. Stephan Emmerth

Business Development Senior Manager
Julia Meyer Marketing Manager BaseLaunch

Julia is Marketing Manager for BaseLaunch and heads the Marketing and Communication Department for Before, she was responsible for developing strategic partnerships at Fondation Beyeler, led marketing campaigns at L’Oréal and managed a media startup in Mexico. After completing her MBA at ESADE Business School, which focused on Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Julia worked as Marketing Manager with Unibail-Rodamco, one of the largest real estate companies in Europe.

Julia Meyer

Marketing Manager
Cornelia Reist BaseLaunch Operations Manager

Besides heading the operations area of BaseLaunch, Cornelia is in charge of stakeholder management and serves as Executive Assistant to the Managing Director of She was previously employed at i-net innovation networks in the area of administration and as an assistant to the Management Board. Prior to those positions, she worked for The Little Gym Europe, FIPRA in Brussels and as a programmer, analyst and database administrator at Swisscom.

Cornelia Reist

Operations Manager

Selection Committee

Dr. Fabian Buller Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Fabian is Director of New Ventures at Johnson & Johnson Innovation. Fabian is based in Zurich, Switzerland, and affiliated with Covagen AG, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Before joining the Johnson & Johnson family, Fabian was Director of Business Development at Covagen, a company acquired by Janssen in August 2014. In this role, he helped grow a successful biotech company and was instrumental in entering a strategic research & licensing partnership and, ultimately, in the sale of the company. Fabian holds a PhD degree from the Institute of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences at ETH Zurich.

Dr. Fabian Buller

Director New Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Dr. Jakob Busch-Petersen is an Intrapreneur in Roche’s External Innovation Group (Therapeutic modalities) where he is responsible for scouting, developing and executing novel early stage therapeutic and technology programs with external partners. Before joining Roche in 2015, he worked in a similar capacity in GlaxoSmithKline’s Discovery Partnerships with Academia. Jakob started his industrial career in 2000 as a medicinal chemist at SmithKline-Beecham. His track record includes the marketed muscarinic antagonist umeclidinium bromide (Anoro/Incruise) as well as the late stage CXCR2 antagonist danirixin for which he was the project leader and sole inventor. Jakob holds a Ph.D in organic chemistry from the University of Hawaii and conducted post-doctoral research with Nobel laureate with E. J. Corey at Harvard University.

Dr. Jakob Busch-Petersen

Intrapreneur in Roche’s External Innovation Group
Dr. Philipe Dro BaseLaunch Selection committee

Dr. Philippe Dro is CEO of NeMo Devices and has over 20 years’ entrepreneurial experience in the life science industry, including playing a pivotal role in executing strategic transactions at several biotech/medtech companies. He has previously served as CEO of GlycoVaxyn AG, a Swiss biotech startup in vaccines, which was acquired by GSK in early 2015. Before GlycoVaxyn, Mr. Dro was CEO of EndoArt SA, a medical technology company spin-out from the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), which was acquired by Allergan in early 2007. From 1999 to 2003, he was Chief Financial Officer and Head of Business Development at drug discovery company Axovan AG. Mr. Dro received a doctorate in Pharmacy from the School of Pharmacy of the University of Grenoble, France and holds an MBA jointly from École supérieure de Commerce de Lyon (France) and Cranfield School of Management in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Phillipe Dro

CEO, NeMoDevices
Trudi Haemmerli BaseLaunch Selection Committee

Trudi Haemmerli started her career at the Paul Scherrer Institute and then joined Ciba-Geigy. She had a key role during the merger in 1996 to create Novartis and continued her career with increasing responsibility in Regulatory Affairs, and leading the Global Regulatory CMC department for over 5 years. She then moved to the US to run Global Research Operations before returning to Basel in 2010 to help restructure Novartis’ Compliance organisation and policies. In April 2014, she left Novartis to become CEO and Director at PerioC Ltd., a Life Sciences start-up. She is also Managing Director of TruStep Consulting GmbH. She joined as a new member of the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation for Startups and Entrepreneurship (CTI) in January 2016 and has recently been appointed to the Board of Directors for the new Innosuisse that replaces CTI from January 2018. She is also an active Business Angel investor.
Trudi Haemmerli studied Chemistry in the UK, completed the ECPM Certification at the University of Basel in 2007 and graduated with the St. Gallen MBA in 2013.

Trudi Haemmerli

CEO and Director, PerioC LtdManaging Director, TruStep Consulting GmbH
Dr. Anja König Novartis Venture Fund

Dr. Anja König is Global Head of the Novartis Venture Fund based in Basel, Switzerland. She is active in the UK, Switzerland and the rest of Europe. Prior to joining NVF, she was an Associate Partner at McKinsey and Company in New York, a global consultancy, where she worked with healthcare companies in the US, Europe and Emerging Markets. Anja holds a PhD in physics from Cornell University. She serves on the boards of Bicycle Therapeutics, F2G and Forendo Pharma.

Dr. Anja König

Global Head, Novartis Venture Fund
Dr. Alexander Mayweg BaseLaunch Selection Committee

Dr. Alex Mayweg is a Venture Partner at Versant Venture’s Basel office in Switzerland.
Alex joined Versant in 2016 from F. Hoffmann La Roche where he served as global head of medicinal chemistry. He previously held various other appointments and positions at Roche’s Basel and Shanghai site, having joined Roche in 2003. Prior to Roche, Alex earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Oxford University, followed by post doctorate training at Stanford University. His undergraduate degree was in chemistry from the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London.

Dr. Alex Mayweg FRSC

Venture Partner, Versant Ventures
Dr. Nathalie ter Wengel MD BaseLaunch Selection Committee

Nathalie ter Wengel, a medical doctor, is the European Head Global External Science and Innovation at Pfizer, where she is responsible for establishing new collaborations and exploring licensing and other corporate development opportunities across all therapeutic areas. After having worked in the hospital, with extensive experience in internal medicine, Nathalie started her commercial career as European Medical Manager at Pfizer. It was this experience, coupled with her father's illness, that convinced her of the urgent need for change in the pharmaceutical industry. Consequently, she started up a company called myTomorrows focused on compassionate use, and served as Chief Medical Officer before joining Galapagos as Business Development Director, where she played a key role in the very successful NASDAQ IPO and in partnering filgotinib.

Dr. Nathalie ter Wengel MD

European Head External Science and Innovation, Pfizer

Network of experts


Our highly skilled and experienced network of Advisors, Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and Consultants from the healthcare industry are here to guide the projects and put them on a fast track to success.

Biotech Office Buildings