Azafaros Expands Executive Management Team and Operations

  • Company attracts three experienced industry executives to lead preclinical and clinical development as well as finance and operations
  • Company incorporates Swiss subsidiary and gains additional investment from Schroder Adveq

LEIDEN, the Netherlands–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Azafaros B.V. announced today that three experienced industry executives have joined the Company. Kyle Landskroner, Ph.D., has been appointed Head of Preclinical Drug Development, Ruben Giorgino, M.D., Ph.D., has been appointed Head of Clinical Research and Development and Louise Kooij, M.S., joins as Head of Finance and Operations. The new members together with Chief Executive Officer, Olivier Morand, Ph.D., form the Azafaros executive management team.

In addition, Azafaros has recently incorporated a Swiss subsidiary in the pharma hub of Basel to strengthen its research and development operations. Separately, Azafaros today announced a second close to its recent Series A financing with Schroder Adveq, a leading global private equity asset manager.

With these new company developments, Azafaros headquartered in Leiden, The Netherlands, and with operations in Basel, Switzerland, is well positioned to advance the Company’s pipeline focused on innovative treatments for rare inherited metabolic diseases.

“Attracting these experienced and skilled executives to the management team of Azafaros is a major step for the Company as our lead program AZ‑3102 for neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disorders is progressing towards first-in-man studies,” commented Olivier Morand, Chief Executive Officer at Azafaros. “The insights and experience provided by Kyle, Ruben and Louise across the spectrum from R&D through finance and business will help us to accelerate our efforts to develop novel disease-modifying treatment modalities. Our successful Series A financing round concluded earlier this year, with the recent addition of Schroder Adveq as a high-profile fund, provides the capital to move the Company to the next level.”

Kyle Landskroner joins Azafaros from Novartis International AG where he held the position of Director Global Integration & Separation Office since 2017. Prior to this, he served as Director Portfolio Management, Global Drug Development, Portfolio Strategy and Innovation, at Novartis, where he led value-driven decision analyses for the Development portfolio, various clinical projects within therapeutic area franchises and strategic reviews. From 2008 until 2012, he held the position of Senior Laboratory Head at the Department of Preclinical Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics at Actelion Pharmaceuticals in areas of lysosomal storage diseases and pulmonary hypertension. With over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, he contributes a vast knowledge of drug development, including early-stage discovery, to Azafaros. Kyle received his Ph.D. from the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University.

Ruben Giorgino previously held the position of Global Head of Clinical Research and Development of the Helsinn Group, a company with early and late stage clinical assets in cancer therapeutics and supportive care. Prior to Helsinn, he held Global Clinical Development and Medical Affairs leadership roles at Actelion Pharmaceuticals in the lysosomal storage diseases area, including clinical development for neuronopathic Gaucher disease, Niemann-Pick type C disease and gangliosidoses. With more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry he brings to Azafaros a profound knowledge and leadership in clinical development. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Catholic University of Rome and is Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Louise Kooij joins Azafaros from Sanofi-Genzyme where she was serving as Head of Rare Diseases Central and Eastern Europe since 2018, leading all commercial activities for rare disease-related programs in those regions. Prior to this, she held the position of Head of Business Operations Europe at Sanofi-Genzyme Europe after working as Vice-President, Business Control and Analysis at Sanofi-Genzyme in Boston from 2013 until 2015. Louise has been in the pharmaceutical industry since 2002, bringing extensive global experience in finance and business operations, particularly in the rare disease space. Louise holds a Master in Controlling and Business Management from the Nijenrode Business University in Breukelen, The Netherlands.

About Azafaros

Azafaros is supported by a syndicate of leading Dutch and Swiss investors including Forbion, BioGeneration Ventures, BioMedPartners and Schroder Adveq. Azafaros was founded in 2018 by experienced industry professionals and scientists aspiring to address rare genetic metabolic disorders through a pipeline of oral small molecules with disease-modifying potential. Based on discoveries from Leiden University and Amsterdam UMC, Azafaros’ proprietary lead compound AZ‑3102 aims to address hereditary, life-threatening lysosomal storage diseases for which there are no effective therapies today. This orally available azasugar compound interferes with the metabolism of glycosphingolipids and uniquely affects several key disease pathways through a dual mode of action. Leveraging the know-how and experience of its team and partners in orphan drug development, the Company is advancing its lead program toward first-in-man studies while further expanding its product pipeline into other rare metabolic diseases through its drug discovery efforts.

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