Facio appoints Otto Postma Managing DirectorLeiden, the Netherlands - February 28, 2019
Facio Therapies announced today that its Board appointed Otto Postma Managing Director of Facio Therapies B.V. and of its sister company, Facio Intellectual Property B.V. In these capacities, Otto succeeds David Dasberg, who passed away suddenly on January 16, 2019.
Otto Postma has been involved in Facio from the very beginning. While still working at MedSciences Capital (MSC), a local life sciences investment fund, he devoted part of his spare time to the establishment and early development of the Facio group of companies. In February 2017, he became Managing Director of Facio’s parent, FSHD Unlimited, a position that he retains. Prior to MSC, Otto was an independent consultant instrumental in the establishment of various Dutch life sciences startups, including Prosensa, a company that developed RNA-modulating therapies for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy until, as an MSC portfolio company, it was sold to BioMarin for €680M. Prior, Otto co-founded the predecessor of Pharming Group, a public company focused on rare diseases, where he held positions of increasing responsibility in the fields of business development and corporate development. He received his MSc in Chemistry cum laudefrom Utrecht University.
“I had known David for more than 15 years when the opportunity arose to introduce him to Facio’s founders,” said Otto. “Although we were different in more than one respect, we trusted each other completely and worked together very closely as he led Facio from a mere concept to the prominent FSHD company it is today. All of us at Facio are determined to build on David’s legacy and deliver on the message that people living with FSHD are not condemned to waiting and hoping for a breakthrough to happen, but can break through to therapy themselves.”
Facio’s Chairman, Kees van der Graaf, noted: “We are very pleased to see Otto fill the void left by David’s untimely passing, and are convinced that under his leadership Facio will complete its mission of developing safe, effective and affordable therapies for all people with FSHD.”
FSHD (facioscapulohumeral dystrophy) is a skeletal muscle wasting disease that devastates the lives of over 700,000 people worldwide and those close to them. The loss of muscle strength has a huge impact on daily life. Living with FSHD means living with pain, fatigue, and social isolation. Above all, the future becomes uncertain because the course of the disease is unpredictable. About 20% of people with FSHD end up in a wheelchair. Currently, no therapy for FSHD is available other than forms of temporary symptomatic relief.
About Facio Therapies BV
Facio Therapies, established in 2014, is a Netherlands-based company with a single focus: to overcome FSHD by developing a causal therapy that restores the natural repression of the muscle-toxic protein, DUX4. When unduly produced in skeletal muscle, DUX4 sets in motion a cascade of cellular events that eventually result in the muscle wasting seen in FSHD. Facio is the only one in the FSHD field with a fully automated, high-throughput screening platform based on quantifying the DUX4 protein in unadulterated (“primary”) FSHD-affected muscle cells. Facio delivered the first-ever therapeutically relevant proof of principle in FSHD by showing that one of its lead candidates, an orally active small molecule, represses DUX4 levels produced by human FSHD-affected muscle cells in a unique animal model (“in vivo”).
Rooted in, and dedicated to working for the FSHD community, Facio’s business approach is to have a positive impact on lives rather than to maximize financial gain. Since inception, Facio has raised over €16M in equity funding from FSHD-affected families, their friends, FSHD foundations, and Facio’s drug discovery partner, Evotec. Facio’s Board consists of business leaders from the FSHD community – Kees van der Graaf (Chairman; Netherlands), Neil Camarta (Canada), Dave Mackay (USA), Bill Moss (Australia), and Chip Wilson (Canada) – and Evotec’s CSO, Cord Dohrmann (Germany).