Henri Termeer joins Prosensa as Strategic Advisor
Leiden, the Netherlands, December 13, 2012 – Prosensa, the Dutch biopharmaceutical company focusing on RNA-modulating therapeutics for rare diseases with high unmet need, has appointed industry leader and former Genzyme CEO, Mr. Henri Termeer as Strategic Advisor. His role at Prosensa will be to provide input on the company's corporate strategy and growth plans.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Termeer said: "Prosensa has the key ingredients of a successful company in the rare disease community: breakthrough science, a highly motivated workforce and a passionate commitment to improving the lives of patients. I am very much looking forward to working with the Prosensa team."
Prosensa's CEO, Hans Schikan, commented: "We are very pleased that Henri is joining the team as a Strategic Advisor. Under his leadership, Genzyme became a world-leading biotech company and a pioneer in rare diseases and orphan drugs. His expertise will be invaluable to use as we drive our products and technology forward."
Henri Termeer served as Chairman, President and CEO of Genzyme Corporation for nearly three decades. Under his leadership, the company evolved from a mid-sized biomedical company to one of the world's leading biopharmaceutical companies, especially in the field of rare diseases and orphan drugs. He retired from Genzyme in 2011 following its acquisition by Sanofi in a transaction valued at more than $20 billion. Mr. Termer is also involved in a number of other companies and not-for-profit organizations.
Commenting on the appointment, Mr. Daan Ellens, Chairman of Prosensa's Supervisory Board, said: "Henri is a luminary in the biotech world, and an expert in rare diseases and orphan drugs. His expertise will be crucial in supporting our goal of developing and commercialising oligonucleotide treatments for rare neuromuscular disorders. We welcome him on board."
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a severely debilitating childhood neuromuscular disease that affects 1 in 3,500 live male births. This rare disease is caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene, resulting in the absence or defect of the dystrophin protein. As a result, patients suffer from progressive loss of muscle strength, often rendering them wheelchair-bound before the age of 12. Respiratory and cardiac muscle can also be affected by the disease and most patients die in early adulthood due to respiratory and cardiac failure.
About exon skipping
The dystrophin gene is the largest gene in the body, consisting of 79 exons. Exons are small sequences of genetic code which, via an intermediate step involving RNA, lead to the assembly of sections of protein. In DMD, when certain exons are mutated/deleted, the RNA cannot read past the fault. This prevents the remainder of the exons from being read, resulting in a non-functional dystrophin protein and the severe symptoms of DMD. RNA-based therapeutics, specifically antisense oligonucleotides inducing exon skipping, are currently in development for DMD. These antisense oligonucleotides skip an exon next to a defective exon and thereby correct the reading frame, enabling the production of a novel, functional dystrophin protein. Prosensa's exon skipping technology originated in Leiden University Medical Center.
Prosensa is an innovative Dutch biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of RNA-modulating therapeutics correcting gene expression in diseases with significant unmet need, in particular neuromuscular disorders. Prosensa's current focus is on developing treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), Myotonic Dystrophy and Huntington's disease. In 2009 Prosensa entered into a strategic alliance for part of its DMD exon skipping program with GlaxoSmithKline. Prosensa's lead compound (drisapersen), being developed by GSK, is currently in late-stage phase III clinical trials. Prosensa is a privately held biopharmaceutical company, backed by a consortium of Abingworth, Gimv, Idinvest Partners, Life Sciences Partners, MedSciences Capital and New Enterprise Associates. For more information, please visit www.prosensa.com.
Prosensa won the 2012 Emerging Star Award at the European Mediscience Awards and was listed as a Fierce 15 Biotech Company.
Luc Dochez Chief Business Officer Prosensa
Phone: +31 (0) 71 33 22 085
Phone: +31 (0) 71 33 22 100