AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands, July 16, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- uniQure N.V. (NASDAQ:QURE), a leader in human gene therapy, today announced that Charles W. Richard, M.D., Ph.D., has been hired as Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Neuroscience, to lead the Company's growing portfolio of gene therapies targeting neurological diseases including current clinical trials for the treatment of Sanfilippo B syndrome and Parkinson's disease as well as preclinical programs in Huntington's disease and other rare CNS disorders. Dr. Richard will report to Jörn Aldag, Chief Executive Officer of uniQure, and be based in the Company's Lexington, Massachusetts facility.
Dr. Richard joins uniQure with 30 years of industry, academic and medical practice experience with a focus on rare and orphan diseases and the translation of emerging genetic technologies into drug development. Dr Richard most recently served as Chief Medical Officer of Oxyrane, a biotechnology company focused on developing second-generation enzyme replacement therapies for rare lysosomal storage diseases, where he remains a member of the Board of Directors. Previously, Dr. Richard led the Translational Medicine group at Shire Human Genetic Therapies, in the role of Principal Medical Director and Head of Translational Medicine, Clinical R&D. There he was responsible for the clinical development of novel enzyme replacement therapies for rare and orphan diseases including Sanfilippo A syndrome and Hunter Syndrome, among others. Prior to Shire, Dr. Richard held multiple roles at Wyeth, including Vice President and Head of the Department of Genomics at Wyeth Discovery Research where he established and led a team of 135 scientists providing core functions in bioinformatics, genetically-modified animal models, gene expression profiling, molecular medicine and pharmacogenomics, functional genomics and genomics core sciences. Before moving into industry, Dr. Richard was an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and before that position had completed nearly 10 years of medical practice and academic research. He received a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and an M.D., both from the Ohio State University School of Medicine, and a B.S. in Biology from Stanford University.
"I am very pleased to welcome Charlie to the uniQure family. His broad experience in leading successful discovery and development efforts for novel medicines targeting neurological disorders will be extremely valuable to uniQure as we transition to a patient- and disease-focused organization," said Mr. Aldag. "With his deep understanding of genomics and neuroscience, and his strong knowledge of rare and orphan indications, Charlie will provide valuable insights as we advance and build our gene therapy product pipeline targeting serious CNS diseases."
"This is a very exciting time to be joining uniQure. The Company's vision of building a gene therapy pipeline focused on neurological disorders, leveraging its established technology platform, offers a very exciting opportunity. During my career, I have been passionately focused on discovering and developing medical breakthroughs targeting underserved therapeutic indications, and I very much look forward to joining the uniQure leadership team as we deliver on the promise of gene therapy for patients suffering from neurological disorders," added Dr. Richard.
In connection with Dr. Richard's offer of employment, uniQure approved non-statutory stock options to purchase 200,000 ordinary shares to Dr. Richard. The awards were made pursuant to the NASDAQ inducement grant exception as a component of Dr. Richard's employment compensation. The inducement grants were previously approved by uniQure's Remuneration Committee and are being made as an inducement material to Dr. Richard's acceptance of employment with the Company in accordance with NASDAQ listing Rule 5635(c)(4).
The stock option awards have an exercise price of $27.82 per ordinary share, the closing price of uniQure's common stock on July 13, 2015. The stock options issued each have a 10-year term and vest over four years, with 25% of the original number of ordinary shares vesting on the first anniversary of Dr. Richard's hire date and an additional 6.25% of the original number or ordinary shares vesting at the end of each subsequent three-month period thereafter, subject to Dr. Richard's continued service with the Company through the applicable vesting dates.
uniQure is delivering on the promise of gene therapy through single treatments with potentially curative results. We have developed a modular platform to rapidly bring new disease-modifying therapies to patients with severe disorders. We are engaged in multiple partnerships and have obtained regulatory approval of our lead product, Glybera, in the European Union for a subset of patients with LPLD. www.uniQure.com
This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, which are often indicated by terms such as "anticipate," "believe," "could," "estimate," "expect," "goal," "intend," "look forward to", "may," "plan," "potential," "predict," "project," "should," "will," "would" and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are based on management's beliefs and assumptions and on information available to management only as of the date of this press release. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our collaborations with BMS and other parties, the commercial launch of Glybera in the EU, the progress of any of the ongoing or planned clinical studies and/or development of our product candidates, and the commercialization or further regulatory approval of our products. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements for many reasons, including, without limitation, risks associated with our clinical development activities, manufacturing processes and facilities regulatory oversight, product commercialization, intellectual property claims, risks associated with our collaborations and collaboration partners, and the risks, uncertainties and other factors described under the heading "Risk Factors" in uniQure's Form 20-F filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission dated April 7, 2015. Given these risks, uncertainties and other factors, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, and we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future.
CONTACT: uniQure: Aicha Diba Investor Relations Direct : +31 20 240 6100 Main: +31 20 566 7394 a.diba@uniQure.com Media inquiries: Gretchen Schweitzer MacDougall Biomedical Communications Direct: +49 89 2424 3495 or +49 172 861 8540 Main: +1 781 235 3060 firstname.lastname@example.orgSource: uniQure