Smart science to improve lives™

Lipid Leaders: Söhnke Voss

In this Lipid Leaders interview, we speak to Söhnke Voss, PhD. Söhnke is a lipids expert with over 25 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Keep reading to learn more about lipids and the role they play to treat serious diseases and the great potential to help the drug formulation to develop its full potency.
Sohnke Voss, Croda Pharma
Tell us a little bit about yourself…

My name is Söhnke Voss and I have been a part of Croda Pharma since 2017. After 5 years as an Account Manager taking care of our Pharma business in South Germany, Austria and Switzerland, I got the opportunity to become a Business Development Manager for Avanti Polar Lipids when Croda acquired them in 2020. Before Croda Pharma, over the course of 20 years, I worked in different roles in the Pharma and Biotech industry. 

Why do you work in the pharmaceutical industry? Who or what influenced you to champion lipids?

I studied Biochemistry at university, and during my PhD my passion for lipids grew. I developed new and efficient drugs generating novel treatment options for serious diseases. As an example, in my PhD thesis, I developed agonists and antagonists for specific receptors of the immune systems (TLR receptors), where I explored lipids as suitable drug delivery systems and made use of the high-quality lipids from Avanti Polar Lipids.

What do you consider to be the greatest breakthrough in lipid technology in the last decade?

For me this is easy to answer. After working with nucleic acid-based drugs for many years, LNP technology is the most impressive breakthrough in past years. It’s fantastic to see how this technology opens novel opportunities to treat serious diseases by utilizing mRNA as safe, efficient, and easily modifiable new generation of drugs. 

What do you believe is one of the key challenges scientists are facing today in the mRNA formulations?

When I speak to scientists, I often hear that the three key challenges of mRNA-based drugs are “delivery, delivery and delivery”. To bring the mRNA to the site of action is crucial to enable its full potency. I’m honoured to be able to help scientists here, our solutions can help address these challenges with our innovative lipid range.

Can you give us a sneak peak of your presentation at Formulation and Delivery UK 2024? 

My talk focuses on innovative lipids beyond the classical components used in LNP formulation. Innovative lipids can add value to a nucleic acid formulation and address current challenges in LNP-based drug delivery such as targeting, different payloads and routes of administration. 

Which lipid or family of lipids do you think has the greatest potential to impact the delivery of therapeutics in the coming years? 

Functionalized lipids that we currently intensively discuss with researchers are my favourite group of lipids. They have the potential to make nucleic acid drugs even better by tuning the properties of lipid-based drug delivery systems or smaller oligonucleotides through direct conjugation and target them to the relevant cell or tissue. They have great potential to help the drug to develop its full potency especially in view of the novel cell and gene therapy applications including gene editing that are currently in development and clinical trials.

Share something we don’t know about you...

I am a passionate cyclist and home cook, but what currently fascinates me most is astronomy. The universe is vast, magnificent, beautiful, and mysterious. Phenomenon like black holes, neutron stars, galaxies, dark matter, and inflation are so impressive and makes me aware that our earth is just a pale blue dot somewhere in the universe and we are often taking ourselves too seriously.

WHITEPAPER: Lipid technology for delivery of gene-editing therapies

Lipid delivery for delivery gene-editing therapies
726.4 KB

WHITEPAPER: Innovative lipids for Nucleic Acid Delivery

innovative lipids for your nucleic acid delivery research whitepaper by Croda Pharma
6.0 MB