Our Advisory Board

Our advisory board supports SPARK-BIH in strategic matters. The members of our advisory board are experts from the life science industry and venture capital.

  • Ida Beerhalter

    SPARK-BIH Advisory Board

    Ida Beerhalter is the Co-Head of IOME, a private investment partnership of women principals from the Gulf region with its head office in Riyadh, KSA. Additionally, Ida Beerhalter also serves as Member of the Board, Trustee, Committee Member, Advisor, and Expert to various for-profit and not-for-profit organisations around the globe specialised in a wide range of issues including, social business, entrepreneurship, economic development, leadership, education, impact investment, economic development, mental health, gender inclusiveness, women empowerment, investment in emerging markets, and wealth management, family governance and succession planning. As Investor she also manages her own investment. Ida Beerhalter was awarded with the TIAW World of Difference Award in 2015.

    Success is related to people and network. Connecting people and network coaching is an integral part “science” and startups often lack and Ida Beerhalter hopes to add to the SPARK-BIH program.

  • Stefan B. Beerhalter

    SPARK-BIH Advisory Board

    Stefan Beerhalter is the Vice President for German Accelerator Life Sciences, where he is responsible for all GALS activities in Germany. An entrepreneurial life sciences and health tech industry veteran and investor, he has more than 25 years’ experience leading and commercializing cutting-edge scientific concepts into products that benefit patients for a wide array of multinational, market-leading and startup organizations. In addition, as a seasoned private investor, he pioneers opportunities to make high-profile impacts with innovative companies.

    At SPARK-BIH, Stefan Beerhalter supports SPARKees as a business advisor.


  • Johanna Holldack, MD

    SPARK-BIH Advisory Board

    Johanna Holldack is an MD by training specialized in pediatric oncology with 30 years experience in academia (University of Essen, Harvard, Freiburg) and the pharmaceutical industry (Behringwerke, Chiron, Medigene etc). She started her career in drug development and held positions from VP Drug Development, COO, CEO to Chairman of the Board. She and her teams developed several drugs and vaccines successfully, which were approved on the market in Europe, US and Asia. Recently she founded a new biotech company developing toll like receptor agonists. She raised about 200 million Euros during the course of the last years from investors and grant money.

    Within SPARK-BIH, Johanna Holldack helps to select the most promising projects and helps to assess the feasibility for a successful drug development and business development path.

  • Karin Kleinhans, PhD

    SPARK-BIH Advisory Board

    Karin Kleinhans, PhD joined the healthcare investment firm LSP in 2015, she is an Investment Manager in the Munich Office. Karin Kleinhans is experienced in international patent law, clinical trials and regulatory affairs within pharmaceutical drug development. Before, Karin Kleinhans was a scientist at the Max-Planck Department for Stem Cell Aging. She received her PhD from the International Graduate School in Molecular Medicine in Ulm funded by the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal and States Governments. She was awarded her Bachelor`s and Master`s Degree in Molecular Medicine where she combined medical studies with scientific research training.

    Contributing her expertise in finance and venture capital, intellectual property, regulatory affairs and clinical trials to the SPARK-BIH program, Karin Kleinhans helps nourish innovation to advance medicine for patients.

  • Annika Pierson

    SPARK-BIH Advisory Board

    Through various roles in the German and the US healthcare industries, Annika Pierson has extensive experience building strong global networks by bringing together investors, entrepreneurs, and senior industry executives. As US CEO of German Entrepreneurship, Annika Pierson manages and further builds out landing pads for international startups throughout the US. In her role as Global Head of Quality & Operations at German Accelerator, she works on setting up the infrastructure to deliver best-in-class support to startups that are entering and scaling in markets around the world. Prior to joining German Entrepreneurship and founding Advise Connect Inspire, LLC in Cambridge, MA, she headed the innovation and entrepreneurship programs of Charité Foundation in Berlin.

    Annika Pierson is an outspoken advocate for innovation-friendly policies and frequent speaker on how to foster entrepreneurship on a global level. Supporting women entrepreneurs through mentorship and providing them with visibility is an especially important activity that Annika Pierson endeavors to advance.

    Annika Pierson has played a pivotal role in launching SPARK-BIH and has continued to support the organization through mentorship for program participants, especially around their international expansion strategy.

  • Dr. Christian Tidona

    SPARK-BIH Advisory Board

    Dr. Christian Tidona is a biotech entrepreneur, business angel, and Founder of the BioMed X Institute in Heidelberg, Germany. He studied molecular biology and received his doctoral degree from the University of Heidelberg. Throughout his entire professional life, his focus was always to seed innovation at the interface between academia and industry. Christian Tidona is Co-Founder of the Health Axis Europe alliance between the European health innovation clusters in Leuven, Maastricht, Copenhagen, and Heidelberg. He is Chairman of the Weizmann Young European Network (WYEN) and Member of the International Board of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

    Christian Tidona's contribution to the SPARK-BIH program is his experience on how to seed biomedical innovations and to help entrepreneurially inclined scientists to start their own company.

SPARK-BIH is a member of the SPARK Global network