CEO: Jan E. de Vries, Ph.D.
Dr. de Vries has over 25 years of experience in drug discovery and development in biotech- and large pharmaceutical companies. He joined AIMM Therapeutics as a member of the Board of Directors in 2010. Prior to that Dr. de Vries was Vice President and Head of the Novartis Research Institutes for Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland and Global Head of the Disease Area Autoimmunity, Transplantation and Inflammation. At Novartis Dr. de Vries led the discovery and early development of many drugs including Elidel, Ilaris (Canakunimab), Gilenya and Secukinumab. Dr. de Vries joined Novartis from the DNAX Research Institute for Molecular Biological Research in Palo Alto in California where he did pioneering studies on the biological functions of cytokines and their receptors. Before that he was co-director of the Schering–Plough Institute for Immunological Research in Lyon, France. Prior to joining industry Dr. de Vries held various academic positions at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, where he was Head of the Immunology Department. Dr. de Vries earned his PhD in immunology from the University of Amsterdam and spent 2 years as a visiting scientist at the University of California San Diego.
COO: Willem van Oort, Ph.D.
Dr. van Oort has over 28 years of experience in business development, founding and managing start-up companies. Dr. van Oort joined AIMM Therapeutics at its founding. Prior to AIMM Dr. van Oort was general manager of a Technology Transfer company where he concluded more than 150 global R&D-alliances and license agreements between pharmaceutical and biotech companies and universities. He founded and managed two seed capital funds and several university spin-off companies including Pepscan, AMT, Add2X Biosciences, C-Très and Arthrogen. Before joining the biotech industry Dr. van Oort conducted research at the Pharmaceutical Faculty of the University of Utrecht, where he was leading a research group working on the development of novel anticancer drugs. Dr. van Oort earned his PhD degree in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utrecht and authored more than 100 scientific publications.
CSO: Hergen Spits, Ph.D.
Dr. Spits has a 35 years-spanning career in both academia and industry. He is a founder of AIMM and serves as its CSO since its inception. He is also a professor of Cell Biology at the Academic Center of the University of Amsterdam (AMC) where he leads a research program on auto immune- and inflammatory diseases. Previously Dr. Spits was a Senior Director at Genentech where he implemented and directed drug discovery in the Cancer Immunotherapy area and headed the Autoimmune Disease program. Before joining Genentech Dr. Spits was professor Cell Biology at the AMC. Prior to that Dr. Spits was at the Netherlands Cancer Institute where he was a senior staff scientist and served as Head of the Immunology Department. From 1985 through 1992 Dr. Spits held several positions at Schering-Plough, first at the Schering–Plough Institute for Immunological Research in Lyon and then at the DNAX Research Institute for Molecular Biological Research in Palo Alto in California. Dr. Spits earned his PhD degree at the University of Amsterdam and conducted research at the Dana Farber Institute for Cancer Research, Harvard University. He authored more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific publications.
Vice President Business Development: John Womelsdorf, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Dr. Womelsdorf has more than 15 years of experience in business development in both large Pharmaceutical companies and in small biotech companies. He was a lead negotiator at both Roche and J&J where he executed a variety of agreements that included research licenses, codevelopment and copromotion agreements, and acquisitions across all stages of development, and on both a regional and global basis. His deal sheet includes licenses to small molecules, protein therapeutics, and medical products. He was appointed to the Board of Tibotec Therapeutics, J&J's oncology and virology company, where he helped oversee the transition of the Company to a commercial entity culminating in the successful launch of Prezista™ (darunivir), a novel protease inhibitor for the treatment of HIV. Most recently, he was the Vice President of Business Development at both Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals and Optimer Pharmaceuticals, where he led the Business Development efforts of the companies. Dr. Womelsdorf received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Stevens Institute of Technology and holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University.