AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands, May 3, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- uniQure N.V. (NASDAQ:QURE), a leader in human gene therapy, today announced the appointment of Paul Firuta as Chief Commercial Officer. Mr. Firuta, who held similar positions at NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and ViroPharma, Inc., has 25 years of industry experience successfully commercializing products targeting rare diseases. As a key member of the leadership team, Mr. Firuta will oversee global commercial and portfolio planning, program management, and will work closely with the Company's cross-functional teams in building relationships with patient advocacy groups and key opinion leaders. He will report to Daniel Soland, Chief Executive Officer of uniQure, and be based out of the Company's Lexington, Massachusetts facility.
"As uniQure's product pipeline advances into later-stage development, it will be extremely important to lay the foundation for a fully-integrated, global commercial strategy that will enable us to bring our gene therapies to patients," said Mr. Soland. "Paul's extensive background in successfully developing commercial strategies, launching products and securing reimbursement within orphan disease indications will be invaluable as we advance our lead programs in hemophilia B and Sanfilippo B towards commercialization. I very much look forward to Paul's important contributions and am pleased to welcome him to the uniQure family."
"It's a pleasure to join Dan and the team at uniQure at such an important time in the company's evolution," said Mr. Firuta. "Gene therapy represents a transformational paradigm in the treatment of rare and other diseases, and I am excited about the opportunity of building an organization focused on bringing these transformational therapies to patients throughout the world."
Mr. Firuta joins uniQure from BioBlast Pharma (NASDAQ: ORPN) where he held the position of Chief Commercial Officer. Prior to this, he was President of U.S. Commercial Operations at NPS Pharmaceuticals were he lead the development and execution of the GATTEX sales and marketing plan as well as the commercial launch of NAPTARA. Over the course of his career, Mr. Firuta has held various leadership roles at biopharmaceutical companies including Vice President and General Manager, Americas at ViroPharma, Inc. where he was responsible for U.S. commercial operations for CINRYZE and VANCOCIN, representing over $400 million in U.S. revenue. Additionally, he was Vice President – Managed Markets at LEV Pharmaceuticals and Executive Director National Accounts at OraPharma. Mr. Firuta holds a Master of Business Administration from St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science degree from King's College, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
In connection with Mr. Firuta's offer of employment, uniQure granted Mr. Firuta non-qualified stock options to purchase 125,000 ordinary shares. The award has been made pursuant to the NASDAQ inducement grant exception as a component of Mr. Firuta's employment compensation. The inducement grant is being made as an inducement material to Mr. Firuta's acceptance of employment with the Company in accordance with NASDAQ listing Rule 5635(c)(4).
The options have an exercise price of $12.98 per ordinary share, the closing price of uniQure's common stock on May 2, 2016. The options 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 Mr. Firuta's start date and an additional 6.25% vesting at the end of each subsequent three-month period thereafter, subject to Mr. Firuta's continued service with the Company through the applicable vesting dates.
uniQure is delivering on the promise of gene therapy – single treatments with potentially curative results. We are leveraging our modular and validated technology platform to rapidly advance a pipeline of proprietary and partnered gene therapies to treat patients with CNS, liver/metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. www.uniQure.com
uniQure Forward-Looking Statement
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 the development of our gene therapiesthe success of our collaborations, , and the risk of cessation, delay or lack of success of any of our ongoing or planned clinical studies and/or development of our product candidates. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements for many reasons, including, without limitation, risks associated with collaboration arrangements, our and our collaborators' clinical development activities, regulatory oversight, product commercialization and intellectual property claims, as well as the risks, uncertainties and other factors described under the heading "Risk Factors" in uniQure's 2014 Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 7, 2015 and its 2015 Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 4, 2016. 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.
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Gretchen Schweitzer or Stephanie May
MacDougall Biomedical Communications
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