Versameb AG (“Versameb”), a pre-clinical stage company focused on discovering and developing innovative RNA-based drugs, announces the appointment of Dr Klaas Zuideveld as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Prof Friedrich Metzger will move back to the role of Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) to focus on developing Versameb’s innovative VERSagile RNA platform to enhance and combine therapeutic protein expression and cellular targeting, optimizing and tailoring first-in-class RNA therapeutics for hard to treat diseases.
Dr Reinhard Ambros, Chairman of the Board said: “Versameb is entering a very exciting and promising phase in developing a transformative, highly differentiated, next generation RNA technology platform. This is the right juncture for Klaas’ appointment as CEO as we accelerate development of first-in-class RNA products. In addition, with Friedrich taking on the CSO role, and with their experience and proven track record in translating novel biology into clinical products and business partnerships, we have a strong team in place to lead Versameb into its next phase of growth.”
Prof Friedrich Metzger, co-founder and CSO, said: “The timing of Klaas’ appointment as CEO could not be better. He has an outstanding track record in strategic leadership and building company value through taking the key clinical and business steps to realize the value of promising novel product candidates, which will be of critical importance as we build on our ambitious plans for Versameb.
“Our proprietary VERSagile platform technology makes RNA druggable in new therapeutic areas others have been unable to solve so far. We achieve this through reduced immunogenicity, increased stability, increased potency (via improved protein expression and secretion) and the ability to simultaneously influence several therapeutic targets, in a controlled manner, within one molecular construct. Each RNA construct is patented and optimized to target therapeutic protein production in a way most appropriate for multiple diseases. We are excited to build a pipeline of promising new first-in-class RNA therapeutics leveraging this next generation platform technology as we progress our current assets towards the clinic.”
Dr Klaas Zuideveld, newly appointed CEO of Versameb, added: "RNA technologies have the potential to transform medicine, something we have witnessed this past year. We are building the most innovative discovery and development platform for RNA and believe some of the world's most impactful medicines in the future will be based on this science. Friedrich and the team have made incredible progress in a short time, growing the company from two to fourteen people since being established. We will leverage our collective strengths and build on our ambition to develop next-generation RNA therapies and bring new options to patients.”
Dr Klaas Zuideveld brings over 20 years drug development and life science industry experience to Versameb at a pivotal stage in the Company’s development as two of its lead assets transition from early discovery into clinical development. Klaas joined Versameb as Chief Development Officer in May 2020. Prior to this, Klaas has held leadership positions at Roche where amongst other things he has led the clinical development of Avastin (bevacizumab), and at Caris Life Sciences where he was responsible for the company’s first companion diagnostic partnership in oncology. He has further worked for and advised Mosaic Biomedicals (acquired by Northern Biologic), T3 Pharma, Envision Sciences, Therachon (acquired by Pfizer for $340 million upfront plus $470 million contingent payments) and Nucleai.
Prof Friedrich Metzger has over 18 years’ experience in R&D both in pharma and biotech. Previously, Friedrich was Head of Discovery, Rare Diseases at Roche, Basel, where he was responsible for a portfolio of highly innovative development programs. He led preclinical activities for Evrysdi (risdiplam), a ground-breaking oral therapy for spinal muscular atrophy which was very recently approved. Previously, he championed a growth factor program from initiation into clinic, as well as multiple other discovery projects in neurological and neuromuscular diseases.