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Jan van der Merwe

Angels Co-Founder and Global Project Lead

In December 2013 a close family member of Jan’s suffered a stroke. She arrived at the hospital around 30 minutes after the onset of symptoms but was not given any therapy. Seven long hours later, a nurse in the hospital finally decided to request the first CT scan as her symptoms were not improving.

The scan showed a massive stroke but due to the loss of time no acute treatment could be given. As a result, a dynamic school principle and her family lost the life they knew before. The experience of the months and years that followed and the knowledge that the outcome could have been very different had the patient received the appropriate therapy, motivated him to find a way to improve acute stroke care in his home country South Africa – the idea for the Angels Initiative was born. After his transfer to the German head office in Ingelheim, Jan and Thomas Fischer (who shared his goal of improving stroke care) formally started the Angels Initiative as it is known today.

Jan started his formal education after school with a Bachelor Degree in Human Movement Sciences. After that he also completed a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration with Marketing as specialization and later a MBA with the Henley Business School.

Jan has 15 years of Pharmaceutical experience in various positions in South Africa and in Germany.

As the project lead for the Angels Initiative he is dedicated to do whatever it takes to change the face of acute stroke treatment in the world so that others don’t have to suffer the same preventable fate as his family member.