Torben Straight Nissen is a venture partner at Flagship Pioneering and president of Rubius Therapeutics, a Flagship VentureLabs® company. Torben has held leadership positions in both large pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and he is the co-inventor of 22 patents. He brings to Flagship and Rubius two decades of experience and passion for translating groundbreaking innovation into therapeutics, as well as product development expertise across multiple therapeutic areas.
Before joining Flagship, Torben most recently headed up Pfizer’s Worldwide R&D Strategic Portfolio Management. In this role, he oversaw Pfizer’s portfolio spanning from discovery up to Phase 3 trials across multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology, inflammation and immunology, rare diseases, cardiovascular and metabolic disease, neuroscience, and vaccines. Previously, he was responsible for the portfolio, strategy and operations functions within Pfizer’s BioTherapeutics Division and ensured efficient advancement of protein therapeutics, cell therapies, gene therapies and vaccines from discovery through development. He also served as chief operating officer for the Centers for Therapeutic Innovation, a pioneering R&D unit within Pfizer that drives product development partnerships with world-leading academic medical centers. As COO, Torben headed up that organization’s portfolio management, business development, finance and operations functions, and he was one of the key drivers behind establishing the unit.
Prior to joining Pfizer, Torben served as chief operating officer at Ascendis Pharma (NASDAQ: ASND), advancing the company’s portfolio of new, innovative prodrugs from discovery to clinical proof-of-concept. Earlier, Torben served in various leadership positions at Maxygen, a molecular evolution and advanced protein engineering company, including the role of managing director of R&D and senior vice president of global project management. He began his career at Novo Nordisk with a focus on protein engineering.
Torben holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology and biochemical engineering from the Technical University of Denmark and Carlsberg Laboratories and a Master of Science degree in chemical engineering from the Technical University of Denmark.