Our US Chapter serves under the vision and strategic objectives of KU Leuven Alumni, and has as its mission:
To develop links, exchanges, and friendships between fellow alumni.
KU Leuven Young Alumni get-together
September 24, 2020
March 5, 2020
DIGITAL PAST EVENT
Inspiring analysis on the macro-economic impact of COVID019 from top speakers of KBC, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, including a word from Rector Luc Sels.
Leuven continues to become an even bigger star in the academic world - according to our Rector, the university already sees 13% more international admissions for the upcoming academic year!
KRUGMAN & DE GRAUWE DEBATE
The story of a fellow Alumnus
Class of 1977, marine microbiology
Geert started his career at General Chocolate, a cholocate manufacturer, as the first micro biologist performing quality control on chocolates. And this was necessary, as one of the key ingredients, proteins derived from Chinese ducks, did need checking… Geert in fact had to halt one of the production lines for 2 weeks due to quality issues.
From chocolate to drug development seems a big step. Not for Geert. A few years later, he moved to Janssen Pharmaceutica where he had the chance to work with Paul Janssen himself. In 1983, he became in charge of R&D for infectious diseases and dermatology products. Four years later, he hired Paul Stoffels, now CSO of J&J.
In 1994, he moved with his family to the USA, working for J&J on a global scale. But he did not stop there. In 2000, he managed to persuade the J&J management to start a spin out. He started Barrier Therapeutics by putting his own savings in it, and went to look for venture capital shortly after. "All of a sudden, I had $46 million, while I was only looking for $35 million." Two years later, the company went public on NASDAQ.
In 2008, Geert sold the company in the middle of the global financial crisis. He planned to take at least 6 months vacation, but after 3 months decided to help out a friend and run a Chinese life sciences company. "I committed for 6 months, but it turned out to be 2 years." At the same time, he became an angel investor, mainly to stimulate and mentor new entrepreneurs in life sciences.
"A bottle is half full until the opposite is proven”
Afterward, for 7 years (2012-2019), Geert ran another company, Rxi Pharmaceuticals, based near Boston. He did not intend to do it, but got asked by the investor when relaxing on a beach. After half an hour on the phone, in his swim suit in an A/C-cold hotel room, he could not say “no” again…
Today, Geert is semi-retired and continues to live in the Princeton area in New Jersey (USA). He spends time with Legacy Health Care, a company in Switzerland near Lausanne which he co-founded in 2008. That Company is well underway with the clinical development of combinations of botanical extracts for management of chronic diseases with an immunological background, as well as supportive oncology product development derived from botanicals. In addition he has a few advisory- and board assignments in biotech and pharmaceutical companies.
A lesson for new entrepreneurs? "Internet and e-mail, although necessary, are not the most important thing in business. Face to face contact, looking the other person in the eye, that is the key. I never invested in people I did not shake hands with. Personal contact says so much more; and yes, COVID is only a temporary excuse to limit such 3-dimensional contacts"
Class of 1990 - Commercial Engineer
Read her story here.
Prof. Luc Sels
Dr. Jan Van Hove
Dr. Jan Loeys
Dr. Daan Struyven
Sr. Global Economist
H.E. Nathalie Muylle
Minister of Economic Affairs
Peter Vanham (moderator)
Head International Media Council
25 June 2020 - New York, Leuven & Geneva
Our first webinar reached out alumni from all over the USA and beyond. More than 100 registered for this 1 hour insight into the macro-economic trends during and after the COVID-19 crisis. Key questions like are we de-globalizing or even moving into economic nationalism, where are the opportunities in this rapidly changing society and how can and should be react?
Missed it? Watch it here.
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