31 January 2023

Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic is a recipient of the 2023 Nikola Tesla Spirit Award

Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic, CEO and founder of Swiss Rockets AG and RocketVax AG, both domiciled in Basel, Switzerland, has been named as a recipient of the 2023 Nikola Tesla Spirit Award for his scientific and entrepreneurial achievements.

The Nikola Tesla Award is a prestigious national award given by the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for achievements in the field of science. The laureates of this award are prominent individuals of Serbian origin. After receiving this renowned award in 2021, Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic has also been named as recipient of the 2023 Nikola Tesla Spirit Award. The Nikola Tesla Spirit Award is granted by the Tesla Science Foundation in New York City, and this year the ceremony was held on the occasion of the 80th Remembrance Year of Nikola Tesla, a Serbian-American inventor best known for his discovery of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.

Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic has been named as a recipient of the 2023 Nikola Tesla Spirit Award for his scientific successes in the field of oncology in the area of targeted cancer therapies. In addition to the 2021 Nikola Tesla Award and the 2023 Nikola Tesla Spirit Award, he has received several other scientific and entrepreneurial awards.

Among the other recipients of the 2023 Nikola Tesla Spirit Award are Prof. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University, New York, and Prof. Vladan Vuletic, Lester Wolfe Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The “Lifetime Achievement Award” was presented to Tesla Biographer Dr. Mark Seifer, a preeminent authority on the life and times of Nikola Tesla.

The winners were selected by a jury in which Mr. David Vuich participated. David Vuich, a Serb born in America, was part of the Apollo Mission team that succeeded in sending a man to the moon 50 years ago.

Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic is one of Switzerland's pioneering serial biotech entrepreneurs, a medicinal chemist, and a cancer scientist with more than 17 years of experience in oncology drug development. Together with his sister Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic, Vladimir co-discovered the drug Bimiralisib (PQR309) in 2007 at the University of Basel. Bimiralisib is an oral and brain-penetrant dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor with applications in various cancer indications. As founder and CEO of Swiss Rockets AG and RocketVax AG, he is a leading force in developing new cancer drugs and developing a second-generation vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.


About Swiss Rockets AG

Founded in 2018, Swiss Rockets AG is implementing a paradigm shift in healthcare. Patients benefit from new therapies developed with innovative and pioneering methods. The Swiss Rockets AG team combines expertise and experience to create innovative medicines focused on cancer and viral diseases.

The founders of Swiss Rockets AG are Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic, Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic, Manuel Ebner, Dr. Thomas Sander and Dr. Thomas Staehelin. Vladimir Cmiljanovic is the CEO, a medicinal chemist, and entrepreneur with more than 17 years of experience in cancer drug development. He is the founder of the Swiss biotech companies PIQUR AG and TargImmune AG. With his sister Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic, the Chief Scientific Officer of Swiss Rockets AG, he has developed cancer drugs at the University of Basel. He has also founded and managed several biotech companies. Manuel Ebner is a Managing Director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Switzerland, and a strategic advisor to Swiss Rockets AG. Dr. Thomas Sander, one of the first employees of Actelion's biotech company, is a scientific advisor to Swiss Rockets AG. Dr. Thomas Staehelin, the co-founder of Swiss Rockets AG, is a member of the Executive Board and Chairman of several shareholder companies and foundations.

Members of the Board of Directors of Swiss Rockets AG are Dr. Vladimir Cmiljanovic (Chairman); Prof. Dr. Michael N. Hall, a renowned researcher and professor at the Center for Molecular Biosciences at the University of Basel; Dr. Natasa Cmiljanovic, a medicinal chemist and clinical scientist with experience in the development of cancer drugs; Dr. Thomas Ladner, a business lawyer, founder and co-founder of several successful start-ups and the World. Minds Foundation; André Debrunner, a financial expert and fund manager at Northern Trust Switzerland AG; and Christoph Brutschin, former Government Council of the Canton of Basel-Stadt and former Chair of the Canton’s Conference for economic affairs.

About RocketVax AG
RocketVax has its foundation in the ties between Swiss Rockets AG, a Swiss incubator and accelerator for startups with innovative therapies, and a team of expert scientists from the Universities of Basel and Zurich, the ETH Zurich, the University Hospital Basel, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel, and Gigabases Switzerland AG, a spinoff of ETH Zurich.

RocketVax’s first group of vaccines addresses the SARS-CoV-2 virus and are currently undergoing preclinical testing while preparing for the production of the vaccines for human clinical trials. At RocketVax, proprietary molecular biology technologies are used to develop novel vaccines for infectious diseases like COVID-19, cancer, and auto-immune disorders. Several vaccine candidates in the pipeline are being developed. They include the original live, single-cycle virus vaccine, live-attenuated vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, and a vaccine candidate against cancer.