Leiden, The Netherlands 30 October 2020 – Amarna Therapeutics, a Dutch privately held biotechnology company developing next-generation, SV40 based gene-replacement and immunotherapies across many disease areas, today announced the appointment of former VP Operations and Managing Director at Kite Pharma EU, Dr. Markwin Velders to its Supervisory Board. Dr. Velders is presently Chair of HollandBIO - the association of Dutch biotech companies - and brings many years of experience from the biotech industry, specifically in the cell and gene therapy areas.
“After serving as interim CEO for Amarna until recently, his in-depth experience within and knowledge of the company, as well as Amarna’s relevant market will be a valuable addition to our Supervisory Board. We are delighted to welcome Markwin on board with his solid experience in the development and commercialization of gene therapies”, said Steen Klysner, CEO of Amarna Therapeutics BV. “His contribution will certainly be of great value in the upcoming clinical phase of our platform development."
Markwin Velders´ career in the biotech industry includes management roles in research, development, quality management and business development. Before joining Kite, he was CSO at Dutch AM-Pharma, Business Unit Manager at TNO Biosciences, and CEO at SomantiX. After mediating the sale of the start-up T Cell Factory to Kite, he joined Kite Pharma to establish the company’s EU headquarters in Amsterdam, helping to advance clinical development, and playing a key role in preparing the commercial launch in Europe after the acquisition by Gilead.
Most recently, he was involved in the establishment of Kite’s CAR-T commercial manufacturing site in Hoofddorp, The Netherlands. Markwin Velders, who runs his own consultancy firm Prime Life Science, holds a PhD in Molecular Immunology and has authored or co-authored 40 scientific papers and publications.
“I am highly motivated and excited to be joining the Supervisory Board of Amarna Therapeutics,” said Markwin Velders. ”The company is at a very important development stage and its potential to transform gene therapy and immune therapies for autoimmune diseases, with its new and non-immunogenic viral delivery system, is impressive. I am looking forward to help Amarna develop into a mature and successful gene therapy developing company.“
Amarna Therapeutics is a privately held Biotech company founded in 2008. Its head office is located in Leiden (The Netherlands), and it also holds a research facility in Seville (Spain). The company has developed a proprietary production and gene therapy delivery platform in its SuperVeroTM cell line and SVecTM vector for the development of safe and efficient therapies. The company’s pipeline targets several major indications as well as orphan diseases within the field of degenerative, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The company plans to take the first candidate from its pipeline into clinical development in 2021.
In October 2019, Amarna secured €10 million in new equity, with the aim of bringing the first product into clinical studies. The financing round was led by the Swedish Flerie Invest AB, together with existing shareholders and an innovation credit from the “Netherlands Enterprise Agency” (RVO.nl).