Sergio Abrignani

Scientific Venture Partner

Sergio Abrignani graduated in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Padua. From 1987 to 1993, he spent time at the Ciba Research Center in Basel (Switzerland) as head of the virology laboratory and later as unit director.

From 1993 to 1999, he was head of the Department of Immunology and Virology at Chiron Vaccines in Siena.

From 1999 to 2005, he served as Vice President of Research and Development for Immunotherapy and Infectious Diseases at Chiron Corporation in San Francisco (USA), at the time one of the world’s leading biotechnology companies.

Since 2006, he has been the Scientific Director of the National Institute of Molecular Genetics (INGM) “Romeo and Enrica Invernizzi”, which focuses on “OMICS” research (functional genomics, proteomics, epigenomics) in the field of preventive medicine, with particular interest in immune-mediated mechanisms of infectious, autoimmune, and neoplastic diseases.

His research has focused on the interaction between viruses and human cells. An important contribution of his research was the discovery of the receptor for the hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is the main entry point used by the virus to enter liver cells. His work also defined the pathogenetic mechanism of cryoglobulinemia, a lymphoproliferative disorder associated with viral hepatitis C. Among the honors he has received, in 2004 he was awarded the Gold Medal for Meritorious Service to Public Health by the President of the Italian Republic (for the implications of his studies on the hepatitis C virus), and in 2022 he was awarded the title of Commander of the Italian Republic for his contribution to the Technical Scientific Committee for the Covid emergency.

In 2011, he received an “Advanced Grant” from the European Research Council (ERC), the most important and prestigious competitive funding that a European researcher can obtain.

He is a full professor of Immunology and Immunopathology at the University of Milan.

In the last 6 years, he has founded two startups for new antitumor immunotherapies:

In 2018, CheckmAb srl (which in 2023 signed an important exclusive licensing agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim for one of its monoclonal antibodies for solid tumor immunotherapy).

In 2022, T-One Therapeutics srl (which aims to develop a new category of drugs that block the epigenetic mechanism of immune response suppression in the tumor microenvironment).

He has been a member of the Health Technical Committee of the Ministry of Health since 2018 and has been a member of the Higher Health Council since 2019.

Since 2021, he has been part of the Technical Group for the vaccination policy of the Lombardy Region. He sits on the Scientific Technical Committee of several Italian and foreign research institutes.

He also sits on the Board of Directors or Advisory Board of non-profit research foundations such as the Sclavo Vaccines Association (since 2015), the Carlo Erba Foundation (since 2017), the Toscana Life Sciences Foundation (since 2021), and the Enea Tech & Biomedical Foundation (since 2022).

He also sits on the Board of Directors of biotech companies (Impact Lab, CheckmAb, T-One Therapeutics) and the SIS (Società d’Investimento Semplice) Utopia.