Management and board
Jukka Rissanen, PhD
Chairman of the Board
Pirkko Härkönen, MD, PhD
Kalervo Väänänen, MD
Joy Wolfram, PhD
Dr. Jukka Rissanen joined Pharmatest soon after the company was founded in early 2000 and has worked in various positions from laboratory manager to COO over the years. During 2016 – 2020 he was a co-founder and CEO at Preclinapps Ltd, a medical technology company focused on formulation chemistry and sustained release applications for preclinical, veterinary and clinical markets.
He re-joined Pharmatest in 2020 as the CEO. He has over 20 years of experience in various challenging roles within the Pharmaceutical industry. He holds a PhD in cell biology and anatomy from University of Turku. In his PhD work he studied the role of markers of bone turnover in preclinical skeletal disease models.
MD, PhD Pirkko Härkönen graduated in medicine and received PhD degree in experimental endocrinology at the University of Turku in 1983. She then worked as postdoctoral fellow at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK), London, UK, in various research and teaching positions at the University of Turku, as Senior Researcher of Academy of Finland, as Professor of Tumor Biology at Lund University, Sweden and as Professor of Medical Cell Biology at University of Turku. She also worked as Head of the Institute of Biomedicine. She retired from professor’s position in 2016 and presently works as researcher at the University of Turku.
The research work of Dr. Härkönen concern growth mechanisms of human breast and prostate cancer using experimental models and clinical tumor specimens. She has particularly focused on the mechanisms of the FGF/FGFR-mediated tumor growth, progression and metastasis and their role in development of hormone resistance. She has published more than 140 original research papers and supervised 23 completed doctoral theses. Besides several positions of trust, she was the first director of the National Drug Discovery Graduate School. She is also a founding member of two drug discovery companies and two CRO companies including Pharmatest Services Ltd. Her research group has critically contributed to the discovery process of a drug accepted for clinical and transfer of clinically relevant disease models to local CRO companies.
Professor Emeritus and Rector Emeritus Kalervo Väänänen has worked as a professor of medical cell biology in the University of Uppsala, Sweden and in The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Turku since 1998. He has been Academic Rector at the University of Eastern Finland since 2010 until he started as the Rector of University of Turku in 2012.
Väänänen has had numerous national and international expert and trust positions e.g. Board Member of the Academy of Finland and Chairman of the Medical Research Council. He has received several recognitions and scientific awards. In 2007, Prof. Emer. Väänänen was awarded prestigious Nordic Medicine Prize, SalusAnsvar Priset given for “particularly outstanding scientific achievement” for his work in the field of bone research.
He has been very active in commercialisation of research innovations and was one of the founding members of Pharmatest. He continues his valuable work as Pharmatest’s Board Member and Scientific Advisor.
Dr. Joy Wolfram leads a nanomedicine research laboratory with the goal of developing innovative nanoparticles that bring the next generation of treatments directly to the clinic. She has designed many preclinical nanoparticles for treating cancer and other life-threatening diseases and has authored over 50 publications in the past five years. She is the director of the Nanomedicine and Extracellular Vesicles Laboratory at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida and holds affiliate faculty positions at the HoustonMethodist Hospital and the University of North Florida. She is a board member and scientific advisor of several companies around the world with a cumulative customer base of over 18 million. Her mission is to inspire and support underrepresented minorities in science. She is actively involved in community outreach and scientific education, including serving as the chair of an Education and Outreach Working Group of the National Cancer Institute in the United States. As a TED speaker she strives to bring science to a wider audience.
She was included in the Amgen Scholars Ten to Watch List, which highlights the best and brightest up-and-comers in science and medicine across 42 countries. Native of Finland, she was selected as one of 12 internationally accomplished Finns, alongside Nobel laureates. She was also listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 in healthcare in 2019. Additionally, she is part of the Global Young Academy that represents 83 countries and is limited to 200 members who are selected based on scientific excellence and commitment to service.