Michael’s interest in developing treatments for genetically-defined diseases goes beyond just wanting to help patients. He believes that by finding effective treatments for these diseases you also help the families of those afflicted. “If you can slow down neurodegenerative disease to give people another ten or fifteen years of quality life, you also give their families another ten or fifteen years of quality life too,” he says. “Anyone who has a relative suffering from these diseases understands this cascade effect.”
Michael studied organic chemistry at the Technical University of Munich under Professor Ivar Ugi, known for his groundbreaking research on multicomponent reactions.
“I also had a computational background,” he explains. “Professor Ugi gave me the chance to connect the worlds of chemistry and computing, which were separate at the time. Combining computational design, organic chemistry, and automatic execution became a focus for me.”
While studying towards his PhD, Michael also worked at Roche, which gave him insight into how the pharmaceutical industry worked and how new drugs were discovered and developed.
Recruited by Morphochem AG, a German biopharmaceutical company, as a research scientist and one of its first employees, Michael rose to become the head of drug discovery technologies. In 2005, along with two colleagues, he conducted a management buyout of Morphochem and founded Origenis.
As CEO of Origenis and Neuron23 board member, Michael takes an interdisciplinary approach to accelerate the drug discovery process, identify new targets and discover ways to optimize programs to achieve their target profiles. Origenis employs interactive AI feedback loops to ensure that the compounds have suitable chemical properties and are optimized for biological activity, synthesizability, and stability to make them viable drug candidates.