Team

Alexander Willemse, PhD, MSc

Alexander Willemse, PhD, MSc

Alexander Willemse, PhD, MSc

Chief Executive Officer

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Joined BioConnection in 2008

Before joining BioConnection, Alexander worked for several (pharmaceutical) companies. He started his career at Organon NV in 1998 and moved to OctoPlus in 2003 as managing director of Octoplus Development BV (OPD). Since 2008, he is the CEO of BioConnection BV.

Alexander studied chemical engineering at the Delft University of Technology, where he also obtained his PhD. He gave a lot of courses such as “Particle size measurement for aerosol systems” at the University of California (UCLA) and “Measuring techniques for biophysical systems” at the University of Leuven, Belgium. For the Top Institute Pharma in the Netherlands, he contributed to the course “Drug Development Simulation” as CMC expert in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In the last years he contributed to this course via Learning by Simulation. He is the (co-)author of more than 20 scientific publications. When having some hours to spent he loves, besides being with his family, to be on his mountainbike and in the winter you can find him on the skislopes anywhere in the world.

“It’s amazing to see how the company has grown the last couple of years. Especially the acquisition of our own manufacturing plant in 2016 was a major step forward. I find this work very diverse and challenging. But mainly it is our people that make the difference. It is a real team with a great spirit that go the extra mile. Combine this with a good sense of humor and a common sense attitude and you have a winning team. Our main aim is to give our costumers the best products and services possible. BioConnection is your excellent choice for the Fill & Finish of clinical, small and large-scale batches, because of our state-of-the-art cGMP facilities, our team and our experience in developing and manufacturing bio-pharmaceutical products.

We offer a broad range of support services for all stages and aspects of biopharmaceutical (CMC) development. This ranges from formulation development, process development, analytical development, stability studies to scale-up and packaging of final products to support clinical trials and commercial activities. So, with BioConnection you will be in good hands, saving a great deal of time and money”.

Sjaak Stevense, MD

Sjaak Stevense, MD

Sjaak Stevense, MD

Director of Commercial Manufacturing

Prior to joining BioConnection in 2008, Sjaak worked for over 25 years for several international(bio) pharmaceutical companies at various senior (mainly marketing) positions. During this time he was responsible for revenues, P&L, licensing, strategy, marketing & sales, field force & product management. From 1982 until 1997 he worked for Sandoz Pharma (now Novartis) among others at their HQ in Basel, Switzerland. In the period 1998-2008 he worked for life sciences companies such as DSM Biologics (Director Sales Europe) and Rhein Biotech (Marketing & Sales Director).

Sjaak studied Medicine at the University of Amsterdam. At this University he also worked in parallel until his graduation in the faculties of human anatomy, physiology an kinesiology as a teacher.

After being 10 years active as Director of Business Development at BioConnection (which resulted in an impressive track record with many satisfied clients for clinical trial material productions), Sjaak’s new function within BioConnection as of 2018 is Director of Commercial Productions. In this new assignment his challenge will be to support new clients for long term commercial supply contracts that will be manufactured on the new production line of BioConnection for which Sjaak will act as the prime contact.

The new production line (250L compounding plus a 10 m² freeze drier) will significantly increase the production capacity of BioConnection and will be an important growth factor for the sustained growth of BioConnection. The new production line is anticipated to be ready for GMP productions in H1/ 2021.

Please be invited to browse through our website and discover how BioConnection can support your sterile production needs (either liquid or freeze dried) from a few hundred vials per batch up to over 70,000 per batch.

Marco Jaspers, PhD, MSc

Marco Jaspers, PhD, MSc

Marco Jaspers, PhD, MSc

Director Program Management & Business Development

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Joined BioConnection in 2014

Marco is a director at BioConnection responsible for both the Business Development of Clinical Drug Product Manufacturing. as well as for Program Management to ensure that our client projects run smoothly.

Before joining BioConnection, Marco worked for TNO, a Dutch Commercial Research Organization, where he was a Project Manager for complex multidisciplinary and strategic Life Sciences projects, e.g. the Preclinical development of Antibiotics and DNA chip Microbial Flora Analysis. In his last years at TNO, he was also Program Manager, which means he was responsible for large projects within TNO’s Food & Health Business Line. Before TNO, Marco worked as Management Consultant at the Quality Management group of Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. Here, he analyzed the primary processes of companies and identified ways to improve these in cooperation with client teams.

Marco graduated cum laude at Wageningen University (MSc, Molecular Sciences), and achieved his PhD in Molecular Microbiology at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich for which he was awarded the Otto Jaag Prize. During his career, he followed various specialist and (project) management courses to advance his managerial skills (i.e. IPMA-C, Prince 2, NIMA).

BioConnection is a service provider for the (bio)pharmaceutical market covering all aspects in the life cycle of a successful Drug Product from (clinical) development to commercial manufacturing. Our Facility has an excellent manufacturing and regulatory track record (including EMA and US FDA).Our capabilities are: fill & finish (in vials, syringes) on medium (50L) and small scale, lyophilization, analytical development & validation, stability studies, and label & pack. In addition we also provide the necessary QP release services.

“We are currently looking for partners for starting up ATM manufacturing together with BioConnection. Our core expertise is maintaining cleanrooms and GMP Quality systems, and we have space in our facility to build customized cleanrooms suiting the ATM processes for our partners.”

“Our modus operandi is to work in multidisciplinary teams composed of our customers and our Manufacturing, QA and QC Specialists. Close cooperation in teams and strong project management skills are key success factors. This way, we can overcome the challenges we are often facing in our projects, ensuring timely delivery of Clinical Trial Material or commercial Drug Product in compliance with regulatory standards and our customers’ needs. Other key success factors are of course our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and our experienced expert teams”, Marco says.

According to Marco, this type of work requires strong adaptive skills to effectively deal with sudden changes within a project. “I am happy that our customers recognize the value that Bioconnection brings to them through our flexibility. Of course, our flexibility already starts in the early phase when Business Developers listen carefully to our customers’ needs and translating them into strong project proposals. For these proposals, technical and regulatory aspects, project budget and timelines are taken into account. We are driven to design a customized solution for each customer.”

“I am proud of being part of the BioConnection team, realizing we can make a difference for our customers by fulfilling their exact needs in (bio)pharmaceutical drug development and manufacturing and doing so in a fast, cooperative and reliable way.”

Dana Kalasek

Dana Kalasek

Dana Kalasek

HR Manager

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Joined BioConnection in 2017

I am an HR Manager with extensive HR experience (more than 27 years). I have worked for a multinational company, in different sectors of production to Research and Development. I have also worked in multiple places in a mid–sized company within the pharmaceutical organization.

My core qualities are; reliable, committed, responsible, accurate and result-oriented.

Rob van Rooij

Rob van Rooij, Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Rob van Rooij, Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Director Operations

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Joined BioConnection in 2016

Rob studied Chemical Engineering at the Avans University of applied science of Breda and obtained his Bachelor degree in 1980.
After serving duty in the Dutch army Rob held several functions in industry where he obtained experience in research and production.
From 1984 till 2007 Rob worked for Organon. He started in the technology department responsible for fundamental research on solids processing (granulation, mixing, film coating, tabletting, fluid bed drying etc.). He used his knowledge on process optimisation and troubleshooting within the production department. From 1990 Rob became responsible for investment projects within production in the field of solid processing. Investment projects have been executed in Oss but also in Ireland. In this period the basis was laid down for commissioning and qualification op process equipment. From 2001 Rob became responsible as manager of the equipment group for maintenance, calibration and qualification of all production equipment within the clinical production unit. In 2004 a new production plant (RY building) for clinical production for both solids as aseptic processing was erected. Rob was responsible for the validation master plan and the investment of all equipment. From 2004 onwards Rob managed a team of 12 engineers responsible for the maintenance, calibration and qualification of both facility and equipment within the clinical production plant.

In 2007 Schering-Plough bought Organon. Rob obtained a function within Schering-Plough as section leader for maintenance and support within the clinical production division and managed as such a team over 25 members consisting of engineers and service personnel. When MSD joined Schering-Plough in 2009 Rob continued in this function.

In 2014 MSD announced the closure of the R&D facility in Oss. Rob was responsible for the decommissioning and end qualification of the clinical production plant. The activities phased out from 2014 till 2016.

In 2016 Rob joined BioConnection when the RY building was transferred from MSD to BioConnection in his role as Director Operation being responsible for all production activities. The RY facility holds licences for production within the EMA and the USA, and is fully qualified as GMP production facility. Production has been scaled up to the maximum capacity available at this moment. Future expansions are being realized to increase BioConnection’s service capabilities towards existing and new customers.

“Being a CMO in the field of aseptic fill finish means supporting numerous innovative companies involved in creating new exiting medicines in a broad field of applications. It makes me proud to be able to contribute in bringing these new medicines to the people who depend on it for their health and lives. It is a big challenge on our flexibility to make things happen, but when the result is there it makes me and my team proud and happy.”

Anna-Myra Koopmans

Anna-Myra Koopmans, Pharmacist.

Anna-Myra Koopmans, Pharmacist.

Director Quality Assurance and Qualified Person

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Joined BioConnection in 2016

Anna-Myra studied Pharmacy at the University of Utrecht where she obtained her Pharmacist-degree in 1991.
From 1991 until 2015 Anna-Myra worked for Organon/Schering Plough/MSD. The first 20 years she had several functions as Quality Assurance Officer, Production pharmacist and she managed the Quality Systems department. In all positions Anna-Myra’s main focus was on parenteral aseptic production. She also was Quality lead for the project to build a new Parenteral and Polymer production facility.

In 2011 Anna-Myra transferred to the MSD pilot plant (RY) for clinical supplies and small scale commercial products. In the first years as Production Lead she was managing project managers and was responsible for the GMP aspects in the factory. After that Anna-Myra became the Qualified Person for the same RY building.

In 2016 Anna-Myra joined BioConnection when the RY building was transferred from MSD to BioConnection in her role as Director QA/QP being responsible for building and maintaining the Quality Management System. In 2016 this system was approved by the Dutch authorities (EMA). In 2017 the Quality department is extended with a small microbiological and ipc-analytical laboratory which was approved in April 2017 and in 2018 BioConnection had a successful FDA inspection. Anna-Myra is currently heading the Quality department of BioConnection and acting as BioConnection’s QP.

“Being responsible for the quality department of BioConnection I am proud on the robust quality system we built and is maintained by our dedicated quality team. Our goal is to make compliant product of good quality. This goal is reached in close cooperation with our operations team and our customers. It is good to notice how this close cooperation and open atmosphere this is valued by the customers.  We prove to be able to help different customers, with different type of product, in different phases of development and sometimes very challenging production processes. This makes my role very exciting and make that there is never a dull moment.“