About Velabs

Velabs is a leading pioneer in microfluidics-based technologies for functional screening of antibodies. Our high-throughput screening platform allows for testing millions of correctly paired fully natural IgGs from humans and mice for therapeutic effects, rather than just for binding. Rare functional hits are readily  identified, which might be laborious or even impossible using other technologies. Velabs’ antibody screens can thus significantly and competitively shorten pre-clinical development.

Our Mission

Velabs has pioneered the use of droplet microfluidics for the screening of antibodies that do not just bind to a drug target, but rather modulate its function.

Velabs technology is based on the direct screening of B-cell repertoires from mice and humans, which offers manifold advantages:

Fast and highly diverse screening of antibodies for complex functions such as tumor-specificity, modulation of GPCRs and ion channels
Fully natural and correctly paired IgGs from mice and humans (including patients, disease survivors, etc.)
Identification of preclinical hits within weeks rather than months or even years
Minimal therapy-associated side effects

Velabs primarily aims at partnering with pharma companies in order to shorten the usual delay in preclinical hit generation and validation from several months or years to significantly shorter times.

Any partnering process with Velabs will speed up the discovery of efficient antibodies with almost no side effects.



Christoph Antz, Ph.D.


Christoph is an experienced company executive and former venture capital manager in the fields of life sciences with special focus on drug development (small molecules and biologicals), diagnostics and instrumentation.

Before joining Velabs, he was CEO and Managing Director of different companies like Luxendo (light sheet microscopy), Acousia Therapeutics (inner ear drug development), Abeta (Alzheimer diagnostics) and EMBL Ventures (venture capital fund), being instrumental in company build-up, strategy implementation and financing up to successful M&A. He holds a Ph.D. in physics (structural biology) from the University of Heidelberg and did postdoctoral studies at the University of California, San Francisco (rational drug development). Christoph is an alumnus of the Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg.

Prof. Christoph A. Merten, Ph.D.


Christoph is a Professor for biomedical microfluidics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. He also holds an adjunct position at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR).

Christoph’s group pioneered the use of droplet-microfluidics for large-scale cell-based assays: After publishing a seminal paper in 2008 (700+ citations) his lab also demonstrated the screening of therapeutic antibodies in droplets for the very first time (2012). Prior to founding Velabs, he successfully commercialized microfluidic technology for genomic applications and worked as a consultant for many years. He holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry (directed evolution) from the University of Frankfurt and did postdoctoral studies at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (Cambridge, UK) and the Institut de Science et d'Ingénierie Supramoléculaires (ISIS) in Strasbourg, France. Before moving to Switzerland he lead a group at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany.

Martin Haase, Ph.D.


Martin Haase has more than 30 years of experience in globally active companies in the field of life science instrumentation and MedTech industries. He graduated in Mathematics and Chemistry at the University of Göttingen and received his PHD in metallic-organic chemistry and x-ray crystallography.

He has held executive and supervisory board positions and has worked successfully for several years as an independent consultant and interim manager in various functions at high-tech start-up companies in the bioimaging and MedTech industry. Martin served in various sales, marketing and R&D functions at Siemens AG before he became the CEO of Bruker AXS, a divested spin-off from Siemens in 1997. After the IPO of Bruker AXS (Nasdaq) he led the company through a public merger with Bruker Daltonics. After 10 years in the US he returned to Germany to become the managing director of Leica Microssystems GmbH. In 2007 he took over the Dental business of Heraeus which was sold to Mitsui Chemicals in 2013 and also served as executive director of Mitsui Chemicals Inc, Tokyo/Japan. Since 2017 he works as independent business advisor and interims manager in several life science and MedTech companies.


Anna Pryszlak, Ph.D.

Head of Screening

Anna is a researcher specialized in medical biotechnology with a strong background in microbiology and microfluidics.

She obtained her degree in biotechnology with distinction, at the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology (University of Gdansk and Medical University of Gdansk, Danzig, Poland). She holds a Ph.D. in natural sciences from the University of Heidelberg and did interdisciplinary postdoctoral studies at The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). She conducted her doctoral research at the group ‘Molecular Therapy of Virus-Associated Cancers’ (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum) working on crosstalk between lenti- and papillomaviruses. In her postdoctoral project, she developed various microfluidic systems including PACS (PCR activated droplet sorting) and Single-Virus Droplet Microfluidics for High-Throughput Screening of Neutralizing Epitopes on HIV Particles.

Steffen Runz, Ph.D.

Head of Antibody Development

Steffen is cell biologist with a strong expertise in early stage development of therapeutic antibodies.

Steffen holds a degree from the University of Heidelberg in biology and did his PhD in the Tumor Immunology Programme of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. He then joined the German antibody pioneer MorphoSys in Martinsried near Munich to work on the identification and characterization of therapeutic antibody candidates using MorphoSys’ phage display libraries. He participated in customer-initiated projects, e.g. for Novartis and Daiichi-Sankyo, as well as in projects for MorphoSys’ proprietary pipeline. Before joining Velabs, his major focus lay on the establishment of bispecific antibody formats.

Marian Weiss, Ph.D.

Head of Microfluidics

Marian has a background in Physics with a strong focus on droplet-based microfluidics for synthetic cell research and biomedical applications.

He received his Master’s degree from Heidelberg University, where he developed new optical and analytical methods for single molecule force measurements in muscle physiology. For his doctoral research he joined the Max-Planck Institute for Medical Research and worked on the bottom-up assembly of minimal synthetic cells by microfluidic methods. During his postdoc he further specialized in microfluidics and developed new methods for a wide variety of applications. In 2018, he joined the division of microfluidic platforms at Hahn-Schickard in Freiburg, working as a project leader on R&D projects. He was promoted as senior expert for Digital Microfluidic Platforms and pooled expertise and know-how of droplet-based microfluidic projects for commercial lab-on-a-chip systems.

Sophie Kube

Junior Scientist - Screening
Sophie is a research associate with a background in biochemistry, cell biology and genetics.
In her master thesis she investigated the effect of the potential anti-tumor drug "β-lapachone" on primary rat brain cells and during studies she gained insight into more different fields of molecular biology. She holds a master’s degree in "Biochemistry and Molecular Biology" from the University of Bremen.

Jessica Seib

Junior Scientist - Screening

Jessica is a research associate with a background in molecular biology, microbiology and immunology.

She holds a master’s degree in „Biomedical Science and Technology“ from the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences. During studies she also gained insight into cell-based assays and bioanalytics. During her internships she worked on the structural analysis of HCV broadly neutralizing antibodies and investigated the course of a murine astrovirus infection by using qRT-PCR.

Anja Thiel

Scientist - New Developments

Anja is a research associate with experience in lab management and a background in cell-, cancer- and microbiology.

Before joining Velabs, she was working as research associate at BioMedX (oral biofilm disruption) and as research assistant at German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) Heidelberg (Cancer cell signaling and proliferation). She holds a master’s degree in Life Sciences from the University of Konstanz.

Tatjana Schneidt

Junior Scientist - Cell Biology

Tatjana is a research associate with a background in cell biology, microbiology and biochemistry.

She holds an engineer diploma in „Biological Chemistry“ from the University of Applied Sciences in Mannheim. Before joining Velabs, she was working as research associate at EMBL Heidelberg for several years. During this time she worked for two different units (Structural and Computational Biology and Cell Biology and Biophysics) and was involved in many variable research projects.

David Eustace​

Engineering Graduate

David is an engineering graduate with a background in electronics and software.

He studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering in University College Cork and holds a master's degree in Biomedical Engineering from Imperial College London. During his studies, he worked with Christoph Merten's group at EMBL on novel microfluidic droplet sorting technology.

Donnacha Neil Fitzgerald

Scientific Assistant

Donnacha is a pharmacy graduate with a research background in microfluidics, the microbiome and synthetic biology.

He assists Velabs in the screening of comprehensive data bases to select target genes for Velabs’ own antibody product pipeline.


Prof. Hans-Georg Rammensee, Ph.D.

Hans-Georg Rammensee was appointed Chair of the Department of Immunology at the University of Tübingen in 1996, after spending three years as Head of the Tumor-Virus-Immunology Section of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg.

In 2012 he was additionally appointed Deputy Site Coordinator of the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK). For 12 years, until June 2017, Hans-Georg Rammensee was Chairman of the Collaborative Research Center (SFB 685) “Immunotherapy” and is currently recipient of an ERC Advanced Grant with 2.5 million euros extrabudgetary funding. He has received numerous prestigious awards (e.g. Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize in 1996) and has contributed essentially to the research fields of MHC biology and tumor immunology and to the development of cancer immunotherapies. Hans-Georg Rammensee is a member of numerous scientific advisory boards and has co-founded three research-based biotech enterprises (CureVac AG, immatics Biotechnologies GmbH, Synimmune GmbH). He is author of over 400 scientific articles.

Alexander S. Hauser, Ph.D.

Alexander graduated from the University of Copenhagen with a strong background in G protein-coupled receptors focusing on the discovery of endogenous ligands and personalized medicine.

Alexander has a big interest in the integration of large biomedical data in genomics, structural biology, and pharmacology with innovative computational methods to gain novel insights into receptor biology. During his PhD with David Gloriam at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology in Copenhagen, he worked on novel analytical methods to identify human signaling systems and thereby discovered endogenous peptides activating several orphan receptors. Alexander had a research sabbatical with Madan Babu at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, where he was working on the impact of genetic variations on drug response. Subsequently, he received the “HC Ørsted Forskertalentpris” and “Bayer Pharmaceuticals Promotionspreis” for his work on GPCRs - which he previously leveraged to advise biotech companies on therapeutic target selection and screening strategies.
He is currently a postdoc at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology and the Institute of Biological Psychiatry in Roskilde. Alexander studied molecular biomedicine in Münster, Germany with research projects in Hyderabad, São Paolo, Helsinki, and the European ScreeningPort GmbH with a focus on mathematical modeling and computational drug design.

Jesper Zeuthen, Ph.D.

Jesper is a graduate in molecular biology from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He subsequently was a research fellow at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, and ass. professor at the University of Aarhus, Denmark.

During this period, he spent a sabbatical at the Basel Institute of Immunology working with Georges Köhler. Later he was recruited as research director at Novo and appointed Adjunct Professor of Biotechnology at the University of Copenhagen. He was granted the degree of D.Sc. in biology from the University of Copenhagen in 1984. In 1988 he was recruited to establish a new department of tumor cell biology at the Danish Cancer Society focusing on tumor immunology and molecular biology. The group was subsequently moved to the Herlev University Hospital and is now one of Denmarks most important centers for immunotherapy of cancer. Jesper was subsequently recruited as managing director of a large dedicated biotech venture fund in year 2000 and he was instrumental in founding a large number of new biotech companies in Denmark and abroad, most notably Genmab, where he served as chairman from inception through a highly successful IPO. He retired from this venture fund in 2008, but is working with two different small biotech companies, Genomic Expression focusing on cancer diagnostics, and InProTher, a vaccine company focusing on novel vaccine technologies, also in the cancer field.
Jesper has published more than 200 scientific publications and is an inventor on several patents.

Christian Leist, Ph.D. ETH Ing. Biotech.

Since June 2017, Christian is self-employed working as Senior Consultant Bio- and Medtech. Before and since 2012 he was head of Process R&D Viral Vectors in Cell and Gene Therapy at Novartis Pharma Ltd in Basel.
In this role Christian was responsible for the CMC development for clinical supply and launch of all viral vector-based Cell and Gene Therapy projects as well as for implementation of related new key technologies. Between 1989 and 2012 Christian had several leading positions in the fields of biotechnology project and process development, transfer and production and received two Novartis and Swiss National Science & Technology Awards. In his part-time teaching position at the ETH Zurich from 1989 until 2016 Christian supervised more than 60 students performing traineeships, Master and Ph.D. theses and was invited to publish in scientific and technical journals and at international congresses.