Founder and CEO


Jan Geissler is founder and CEO of Patvocates, a think tank, consultancy and social enterprise on patient advocacy and patient engagement in research.



Jan Geissler is founder and CEO of Patvocates, a think tank, consultancy and social enterprise on patient advocacy and patient engagement in research. From 2012-2017, he has been working for the European Patients‘ Forum as the Director of the European Patients Academy (EUPATI), a project funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI). EUPATI has developed educational material and training courses to educate patient and patient advocates about medicines development processes. In the one of Europe‘s largest „Big Data“ projects, the IMI-funded EU projects HARMONY and HARMONY-PLUS, he was co-leading the work package on stakeholder input from patient organisations, HTA bodies, regulators and other stakeholders, and is now a trustee of the recently established HARMONY Foundation.

Jan studied at the University of Regensburg (Germany) and Aston University (Birmingham, UK), graduating with a university diploma in business. Jan then worked for the media company Bertelsmann, Germany. Emerging from his work in Bertelsmann‘s Think Tank „mediaTechnologies“, he co-founded Bertelsmann‘s in-house startup BeMobile, heading product management, business development and marketing. In 2003, he joined Vodafone Group R&D where he headed business modelling teams in Germany and The Netherlands, defining the business models of cutting-edge projects connecting media and technology. He was leading multinational and multicultural innovation projects in Europe and Asia.

In 2008, Jan decided to leave the telecommunications and media business and focused his professional life on patient advocacy. The reason why Jan started to engage in cancer advocacy already in 2001 was that Jan received his diagnosis of a rare cancer, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) at the age of 28 years. He joined a phase I/II clinical trial and started to translate and publish medical publications into German lay language. In 2002, he founded the online patient community Leukämie-Online/LeukaNET, which is one of the most frequented online communities for leukemia patients in the German speaking Internet today. In 2007, Jan co-founded the CML Advocates Network. It today connects leukaemia patient organisations in 93 countries on all continents. In 2003, he co-founded the European Cancer Patient Coalition and acted as its first full time Director until 2010. In 2016, he co-founded the Acute Leukemia Advocates Network (ALAN). He also co-founded the WECAN, the network of pan-European cancer patient organisations.

Jan is a patients‘ representative in various steering committees and advisory boards, acting e.g. as member of the European Cancer Organisation‘s Patient Advisory Committee, the scientific advisory board of the International CML Foundation, the strategy group of the the German National Decade Against Cancer and the board of Patient Focused Medicines Development (PFMD). He also acts as an independent expert in committees and panels of the EU Commission. He is also member of the Ethics Committee of the Bavarian Chamber of Physicians. In 2016, he was awarded with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his work as a patient advocate.


ORCID: 0000-0001-9058-5097