Dezima Pharma Appoints Seasoned New CEO
6/12/2013 7:31:16 AM
Dezima Pharma Appoints Seasoned New CEO
NAARDEN, The Netherlands--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Dezima Pharma ('Dezima'), the biotechnology company developing innovative drugs in the field of dyslipidemia, announced today that it has appointed Rob de Ree as its new Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. de Ree has over 20 years of experience in sales & marketing, business development and general management in Pharma and Medtech, including Medtronic, Crucell and the cardiovascular franchise of Byk Gulden. Most recently he held the CEO position at Amsterdam-based cardiovascular monitoring company, BMEYE BV, which was successfully sold to Edwards Lifesciences in 2012 under his leadership. He holds a degree in Pharmacy.
Dezima was founded in 2012 by Prof. John Kastelein, Professor of Medicine at the Department of Vascular Medicine at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam, and focuses on the development of novel products to treat dyslipidemic patients suffering from cardiovascular disease. Its lead program involves the development of the CETP inhibitor DEZ-001 (previously TA-8995) which was in-licensed from Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation. The Company has recently raised a total of €14.2 million and is fully financed to execute a phase III enabling study in dyslipidemia. This phase II study "TULIP" is scheduled to start in Q3 2013.
Mr. de Ree commented, "The treatment of dyslipidemia requires novel drugs to further improve patient care. Dezima's ambition is to seek new solutions to treat this disease, of which our lead program, DEZ-001, a CETP inhibitor, is a potential best-in-class. This is a great opportunity for me to take on the role of CEO of Dezima and to work with such an experienced team."
Managing Partner of Forbion and Chairman of Dezima's board, Sander Slootweg added, "Rob brings a wealth of experience to Dezima as he knows the cardiovascular field inside out. Besides his operational strength, Rob will also spearhead our business development activities as we have the only later-stage, unencumbered asset in a commercially attractive field, the evolving CETP space."
Mr. de Ree is taking over from Dezima's interim CEO and General Partner of Forbion Capital Partners, Sander van Deventer, who has stepped down from the role, but will remain closely involved with the Company by joining the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB also includes world-leading experts in the dyslipidemia space such as Dr Philip Barter, Professor at The Heart Research Institute, Sydney, Australia, and Dr Bryan Brewer, Senior Research Consultant of Lipoprotein and Atherosclerosis Research at the Medstar Research Institute, Washington DC, USA.
About Dezima Pharma B.V.
Dezima Pharma was founded in 2012 by Prof. John Kastelein, Professor of Medicine at the Department of Vascular Medicine at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and financed by Forbion Capital Partners, BioGeneration Ventures and New Science Ventures, to develop novel products to treat dyslipidemic patients suffering from cardiovascular disease (CVD). The company's lead product DEZ-001 (previously TA-8995) has been in-licenced from Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation and is a potentially best-in-class CETP inhibitor.
About dyslipidemia and CETP inhibitors
Dyslipidemia is a generally asymptomatic disease in which serum lipid levels deviate from the normal level. It is considered to be a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease due the direct relation with atherosclerosis. The market for dyslipidemic drugs, including statins, fish oils and fibrates, topped $25Bn in 2010. Though current treatment is relatively effective a high unmet need remains: about 60% of treated patients have a considerable chance of experiencing a cardiovascular event, which comes with significant morbidity and mortality.
The Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein (CETP) facilitates the transfer of cholesterol from HDL to other lipoproteins including LDL, in exchange for triglycerides. The CETP mediated transfer of cholesterol into LDL particles results into maturation of those LDL particles to more atherogenic LDL particles, which contribute to macrophage foam cell, and eventually plaque formation. Large Mendelian Randomization studies, epidemiological as well as preclinical studies have provided evidence for the notion that CETP activity is inversely related to cardiovascular mortality and reduced activity of CETP by pharmaceutical means or by naturally occurring mutations in the CETP gene results in increased HDL and decreased LDL levels. This provides a rationale for inhibition of CETP activity as a therapeutic intervention in dyslipidemic conditions characterized by either low HDL or high LDL cholesterol.