Facio names Director, FinanceLeiden, the Netherlands - February 1, 2018
Facio Therapies announced today that Frank Niemöller joined as Director, Finance. Frank brings over 25 years’ experience in finance and operations management in the biotech, medtech, health insurance, and internet sectors.
For the last 12 years, Frank Niemöller was chief financial officer and statutory director of Optelec Holding BV, a leader in the development and supply of electronic tools for the visually impaired. As part of his prior experience, he was controller at Pharming Group NV, the specialty pharmaceutical company developing innovative products for the safe and effective treatment of rare diseases and unmet medical needs.
“As the father of a son with cystic fibrosis, I am one of the millions of people worldwide who know the vital importance of access to rare disease therapies,” said Frank. “The key to patient access is affordable pricing of therapeutic drugs. I am delighted with the opportunity to work with Facio’s business model as it aims to enable affordable pricing by rigorous management of development cost, running cost, and the cost of goods.”
David Dasberg, Facio’s managing director, commented: “I had the pleasure of working closely with Frank at Pharming. His experience and drive will be great assets to Facio as we continue to advance our drug discovery and development program for 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).