Michael Linden

Michael Linden

Michael Linden

Founder & CSO - Handl Therapeutics

After receiving his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Zürich, Switzerland, Prof. Linden trained in Molecular Virology at Cornell University Medical College, N.Y. After his postdoctoral training he joined the faculty at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, where he continued to study the biology and gene therapy potential of adeno-associated virus (AAV). In 2007, he moved continents to set up a new research group at King’s College London as the chair in Molecular Virology.
His contributions to the field include the biochemical and structural determination of the AAV Rep proteins, which orchestrate all aspects of the AAV life cycle, the characterization of AAVS1 and its description as a human safe harbor locus as well as the proposal of a mechanism of site-specific integration. During these studies Prof. Linden’s laboratory has demonstrated the potential of using embryonic stem cells for gaining insights into complex viral mechanisms. Finally, the laboratory designed a novel, neurotropic AAV capsid, AAV-TT.


Throughout his career, Prof. Linden has engaged in the field of AAV-mediated gene therapy including a role as the Director of the UCL Gene Therapy Consortium where he was responsible for clinical grade vector production and the support for further developments in UK based gene therapy efforts. In this context Prof. Linden was actively engaged in translational projects aimed at the development of novel therapies using AAV-based vectors.
In December 2014 Prof. Linden joined Pfizer Inc as the Vice President of Gene Therapy, to establish and lead the Genetic Medicine Institute in London. He has held this position until August 2017.


In November 2018 Dr. Linden took up the role of Chief Scientific Officer at Touchlight Genetics Ltd. in London, UK. He currently serves as the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of Touchlight.
In October 2019 Dr. Linden founded Handl Therapeutics in Leuven, Belgium, where he is heading the Research and Development operations designed to develop novel gene therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. In November 2020, Handl Therapeutics was acquired by UCB.

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