Jack Elands (Chief Executive Officer)
Dr. Elands has been the Chief Executive Officer of Amakem since its inception in 2010. Previous to his role as CEO at Amakem, Jack served as the CBO of Silicos, an informatics platform based biotechnology company. Prior to that, Jack served as the CEO of Vitec, a specialty biochemical company focused on antimicrobial surface chemistries and products and the VP of Business Development at Sidec AB, a Swedish company focused on the discovery and development of protein based drugs. Jack started his pharmaceutical career at Marion Merrell Dow (later HMR, now Sanofi-Aventis). He has published extensively in papers and posters on topics ranging from biomolecular screening to protein tomography to life science informatics and functional genomics and has contributed to several patents. He received his undergraduate in medical biology from University of Utrecht in 1985. Jack was awarded his doctorate in Neuropharmacology from the Rudolf Magnus Institute at University of Utrecht in 1989.
Dirk Leysen (CSO & Founder)
Dirk Leysen is the CSO and founder of Amakem. Prior to Amakem’s foundation, Dirk was head of R&D at Devgen Biopharma, where he initiated work on the novel ‘Localized Drug Action platform’ which was later in-licensed by Amakem. Previously to Devgen, Dirk held positions as Associate Director of medicinal chemistry and Managing Director of analytical chemistry at Organon. Many of the compounds he has worked on have reached the marketplace. He has been a professor of chemical biology at Maastricht (the Netherlands).
Steve Pakola (Chief Medical Officer)
Dr. Pakola is a physician with over 15 years of industry experience, including experience in preclinical and clinical development, regulatory affairs and medical affairs. Dr. Pakola was at ThromboGenics for 12 years, where he was responsible for the Company’s worldwide clinical development programs including vitreoretinal disease and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Pakola identified the opportunity for ocriplasmin in eye diseases and spearheaded the development programme which has led to successful completion of Phase III trials in symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion including macular hole and recent filing in the US and Europe. More broadly, Dr. Pakola played a significant role in transforming ThromboGenics from a small start-up to a publicly-traded company.
Before joining ThromboGenics, Dr. Pakola was Associate Director of Cardiovascular Clinical Research at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he was U.S. Clinical Leader for Pradaxa, the first new oral anticoagulant to reach the market in 50 years. He received his B.A. with Honors in Biology and his M.D. with Honors from University of Pennsylvania, U.S.A where he was awarded the Charles A. Oliver Ophthalmology Prize.
Olivier Defert (Director Preclinical Product Development)
Olivier is co-founder and Director for preclinical product development at Amakem. Before his work at Amakem, Olivier was section leader in the medicinal chemistry department at Devgen and was actively involved in the preclinical development of two clinical candidates. Olivier joined Devgen in 2000, and got his PhD (University of Pharmacy Lille, France) under the supervision of Prof. Benoit Déprez and Prof. Jean Claude Gesquière, in 2005. Prior to Devgen, Olivier studied organic and medicinal chemistry at the Universities of Lille and Strasbourg.
Maarten van Geffen (Head of CMC and Operations)
Maarten van Geffen’s career in the industry spans nearly 25 years, with substantial experience in pharmaceutical product development and regulatory affairs. Maarten was previously Director of Product Development at Shire-Movetis NV, where he was responsible for the pharmaceutical development of the GI early and late phase products and was the CMC lead for due diligence of early phase and late phase small and large molecule products. While at the Company, Maarten also played a pivotal role in the strategic development of commercial and pipeline products as well as carrying out quality control on dossiers and interacting with regulatory authorities. Prior to working at Shire-Movetis NV, Mr. van Geffen held several positions as Director of CMC Regulatory Affairs at Barrier Therapeutic NV, Centocor BV, and Janssen Research Foundation, where he was involved in managing and executing product development and regulatory approval. Before initiating his career in the industry Mr. Van Geffen was assessor of quality part pharmaceutical dossiers for the Dutch Health and Environmental agency. Mr. van Geffen received an MSc in Biology from the University of Utrecht, the Netherlands.