Prof. Josef Penninger was the founding scientific director of IMBA in Vienna and is the current Director of the Life Sciences Institute at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. He is a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the Austrian Academy of Sciences (elected as the youngest member), and the Academia Europea. He is a Professor of Genetics at the University of Vienna, Adjunct Full Professor of Immunology at the University of Toronto, and holds honorary Professorships from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Qingdao University. He was also a Young Global leader of the World Economic Forum (2005-2010).
He has won many awards such as Canada 150 Research Chair in Functional Genetics, Austria Order of Merit for Arts and Sciences, Wittgenstein Prize (Austria's highest scientific award), Descartes Prize (highest EU research award), Ernst Rongpress Medal in Medicine, Carus Medal (German Academy of Sciences). He has more than 720 scientific publications with>84,500 citations by Google Scholar, Occupational H-Index: 138.
Prof. Penninger has made major contributions to important drug targets, such as RANKL, CTLA4, ACE2, Cbl-B and GD2, which are applied to various diseases such as bone diseases and tumor immunotherapy. For example, based on his research work, Amgen has developed Denosumab (Prolia), which was approved for marketing in 2010 to treat osteoporosis and delay the bone spread of cancer cells around the world, with annual sales of 3.7 billion US dollars. In addition, Prof. Penninger has co-founded a number of biomedical companies in Europe, including Apeiron Biologics in 2005, which is the first biotech company in Austria to get EU drug approval for the treatment of childhood cancer neuroblastoma. In 2017, Prof. Penninger has founded JLP Health GmbH and its three innovation technology platforms in Austria, Germany and China. In 2019, he became the chairman of the Board of Angal Biotechnology Suzhou.