DIEPENBEEK, Belgium, September 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Amakem NV, a clinical stage ophthalmology company, today announces that Dr. Jean Marie Stassen has been appointed as Vice President, Research and Development.
Most recently Dr. Stassen was Head of Research & Development at Thrombogenics NV where he played a pivotal role in the successful development of ThromboGenics' lead product, ocriplasmin(JETREA®), from early pre-clinical through to regulatory submission. He joined ThromboGenics in 2001 and remained with the Company until retiring in 2012.
Prior to ThromboGenics, Dr. Stassen served as a Research Project Leader for the cardiovascular therapeutic area at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma, including work leading to the discovery of dabigatran (Pradaxa®) and the registration of tenecteplase (TNKase®). Prior to moving into the pharmaceutical industry, he spent 20 years at KU Leuven working on the characterization of tPA (Alteplase®) and staphylokinase as well as on research involving anti-thrombotic and thrombolytic therapy.
Dr. Stassen is co-founder of FlandersBio, the umbrella organisation for the Life Sciences and Biotechnology sector in Flanders, and was a board member of the Center for Medical Innovation (CMI). He has authored/co-authored more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and more than 250 patents and patent applications. He received his Doctoral Degree in Medical Sciences from the University of Umeå in Sweden.
Amakem further announces that Dr. Dirk Leysen, co-founder of Amakem, will step down from his role as Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Leysen will continue to be involved with Amakem through his position on the Board as a Director.
Dr. Jack Elands, CEO of Amakem, said: "I am delighted to welcome Jean Marie to Amakem where his vast experience in product and corporate development in the ophthalmology space will prove to be a tremendous asset to the Company as we continue to progress our lead product AMA0076 for the treatment of glaucoma.
"I also wish to thank Dirk for his enormous contribution to Amakem as a founder of the Company, Chief Scientific Officer and inventor of our Localized Drug Action technology."
Dr. Stassen said: "I am very excited to be joining Amakem and to be working with the team to drive forward the development of AMA0076 and other innovative products in ophthalmology. Seeing ocriplasmin go from the laboratory through to the market was enormously satisfying, and I look forward to bringing that experience to bear at Amakem."
Amakem is an ophthalmology company developing new treatments for serious eye conditions. Amakem's product pipeline is based on its unique Localized Drug Action platform which is designed to generate safe and effective novel kinase inhibitors that minimize systemic exposure with the aim of reducing side effects.
Amakem's lead candidate, AMA0076, is for glaucoma and entered Phase 2a development late last year. The Company is also working to apply the Localized Drug Action approach to a range of other eye diseases.
Founded in 2010, Amakem has raised more than €21m in funding and is backed by leading life sciences investors including Forbion, Omnes Capital (previously Crédit Agricole), Vesalius BioCapital, LRM, PMV/Vinnof and Life Science Research Partners.
Amakem is based in Belgium and located in the life sciences incubator "BioVille" at the University of Hasselt. The Company has a long-standing collaboration with Professor Ingeborg Stalmans at the Ophthalmology Research Center of the University Leuven Hospital, where it sponsors a Chair in Ophthalmology Translational Research.
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