Team

Rodolphe CLERVAL joined Horama as CBO in early 2020 and became CEO in January 2021. He has over 20 years’ international experience in the pharma and biotech industry. Prior to joining HORAMA, Mr. Clerval was co-founder and Chief Business Officer at Enterome. During his tenure at Enterome, he has executed over 15 transactions, including major industrial partnerships with Takeda, J&J, BMS, Abbvie and Nestle Health Sciences. Rodolphe previously worked with TcLand Expression and Genzyme in business development, and with Natixis as sell-side equity analyst. He started his career at Aventis Animal Nutrition as a scientist.

Nicolas Ferry was trained as an M.D., Ph.D. from Paris University. He entered the field of gene therapy during a post-doctoral training at Pasteur Institute in 1989.  Nicolas then served as a scientist at the French National Institute for Health Sciences (INSERM) for more than 25 years. He eventually created his own INSERM lab in Nantes in 2009 dedicated to biotherapy for acquired and inherited liver diseases. He co-authored more than 120 publications. Nicolas was appointed as a director for biologics at the French regulatory authority (ANSM) from 2011 to 2016. During that time, he was also member of the Committee for Advanced Therapies (CAT) and of the Scientific Advisory Working Group (SAWP) at EMA. Nicolas previously served as scientific director for gene and cell therapy at Servier from 2018 to 2020.

Jean-Yves DESLANDES joined HORAMA in April 2017 as CMO. He has over 25 years of international experience in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly in ophthalmology and ocular gene therapy. His past positions include Expert Clinical Project Lead at Alcon/Novartis, Director of Clinical Research at Sanofi-Fovea, and Director of the Clinical Research Unit at Allergan Europe. He has a degree in medicine from the University of Paris VII.

Cédric COUSTEIX has 15 years of experience in audit, management, and transactions, and joined HORAMA as Finance Director in 2020. Cédric began his career at EY (Ernst & Young) in Paris where he worked in the fields of financial auditing and transaction advisory services. Cedric was specialized in Private Equity and Growth companies. Cédric was also learning leader for audit department. Cédric is an engineer graduated from ISEP and is also graduated in corporate finance from EM Lyon Business School.

Gaelle LEFEVRE, Ph.D., joined HORAMA in 2019 as project manager. She holds a PhD degree in Molecular Oncology from Paris University and spent over 20 years as a research scientist in renown academic institutions in France (Institut Pasteur), Canada (McGill University) and the US (NIH, University of Michigan). In 2014, she transitioned to project management and coordinated several large, collaborative translational research studies on rare genetic sensory disorders of the eye and ear and the development of AAV-mediated gene therapies for these indications. She now brings her unique expertise to the global management of all the non-clinical projects of HORAMA.

Nicole BRUMENT was a BioProcess Engineer at INSERM UMR1089 for 18 years managing the development of production processes for viral vectors, especially for AAVs. She was fully involved in the early development phase of Horama lead products, for process design (2 processes patented) as well as for GMP manufacturing. She also worked one year in Florida Biologix, USA – now Thermo Fisher Scientific. Nicole began her career in the pharmaceutical industry at GSK in cardiovascular research. She obtained a Master degree from the University of Paris.

Emmanuelle JORDI Ph.D., joined Horama in 2020 as a CMC project manager. She has 7 years experience in the non-clinical development of biologics for both European and American biotechnology companies, with a strong focus in CMC and regulatory affairs of gene therapy. In her previous company, Leads to Development (L2D), Emmanuelle has been the CMC project lead for 3 non-viral gene therapy products in oncology on behalf of L2D’s clients, which successfully reached clinical stage Phase I and II. She has developed a broad understanding of agency's expectations and operational creativity to face development challenges of early-phase products.
Emmanuelle holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from The Rockefeller University, USA and The University Pierre et Marie Curie, France.

Marie-Anne BURLOT PhD, joined HORAMA in January 2021 as a project manager. She has a veterinary medicine degree from the National Veterinary School of Toulouse and holds a PhD degree in Neurosciences from Paris University. During her thesis, she used AAV vectors to restore brain cholesterol metabolism in a model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In 2014, she joined Animalliance to practice as a veterinarian in experimental research. In 2016, she transitioned to project management and coordinated several research studies on AD, brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases at Medday Pharmaceuticals.

Board of directors

Benedikt TIMMERMAN has over 25 years of experience building and leading businesses in life sciences. His career testifies of his entrepreneurial skills at recognizing talent, building strong teams and uniting the financial resources needed for preclinical and clinical drug development programs.
Benedikt is currently a part-time Venture Partner at IRDI SORIDEC Gestion and a board member of such companies as Cell-Easy and Horama. At IRDI SORIDEC Gestion, he advises the firm on investment opportunities in the Health Care sector and serves on the board of various portfolio companies, including Ixaltis, Antabio and Aelis Farma. From 2018 to 2020, as a senior business advisor to Brainvectis, Benedikt paved the way to the sale of all of the company’s shares to Asklepios Biotherapeutics (USA), in April 2020. As founder and CEO of BT Pharma in 2001, which became Genticel in 2010, he raised over €34 million in venture funding. In 2014, he took the company public on Euronext in Paris and Brussels, raising another €34.7 million in the process. In 2017, he oversaw the merger of Genticel and Genkyotex (GKTX). Previously, Benedikt held senior R&D and corporate licensing positions at NOVARTIS (1996 – 2000) and SANDOZ (1991 – 1996).
Benedikt holds a master’s degree in Biology and a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Ghent, Belgium, as well as an M.B.A. from INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France.

Christine PLACET is HORAMA founder's representative. She previously served as CEO of HORAMA, before she joined HORAMA in 2016 she served as CFO at Trophos from 2004 until 2012, when she became CEO. During this time Trophos developed an innovative medicinal product for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy, a rare and currently incurable disease. After obtaining promising results from a Phase II/III trial, the company was acquired by Roche Pharmaceuticals in early 2015. Before moving to Trophos, Christine acquired over 18 years of experience in finance and business management, working for 8 years at Ernst & Young, and subsequently as CFO in several growing companies and start-ups in various industries. Christine graduated from Kedge Business School.

Willem BROEKAERT is Managing Director of V-Bio Ventures, a life sciences VC fund. Before co-founding V-Bio Ventures in 2015, Willem spent over 15 years working in and growing VC-backed life sciences companies as an entrepreneur, consultant, and executive. He was the founder and CEO of Fugeia NV (now owned by Cargill), and Vice President R&D of CropDesign NV (now part of BASF). Before joining CropDesign NV, Willem was a professor of Plant Biotechnology and Plant Pathology at the University of Leuven, Belgium. Willem holds an MSc and Ph.D. in BioScience Engineering from the University of Leuven, Belgium, and a Master’s degree in agricultural economics from IGIA/ESSEC in Paris, France.

Thierry LAUGEL co-founded Kurma Partners in 2009 after leaving AGF Private Equity. He has more than 25 years of experience in Life Sciences, both in Venture and in Industry, and is a PharmD, Ph.D., and MBA. Thierry started his career in 1992 as R&D Project Manager for Laboratoires Fournier in Tokyo for four years. After his graduation at INSEAD in 1996, he joined Flamel Technologies, just after its successful listing on Nasdaq, and managed the development-stage portfolio of the company. In 1998, he moved to investments, first at Caisse des Dépots (CDC), then at AGF Private Equity (Allianz Group), where he supervised the healthcare investment team. Thierry has led investments in more than 25 companies like Actelion, Arpida, Targacept, Adocia, Auris or Erytech. He is currently a Board Member of Horama, Safe Orthopaedics, Minoryx, Blink Biomedical, Talix, Meiogenix, Pathoquest, and Asarina Pharma.

Dr. Philippe MONTEYNE MD, Ph.D. is a Partner at Fund+ in Belgium. Fund+ is an open-ended venture fund for long-term equity investments in innovative life sciences companies with a focus on Belgium. The fund wants to create sustainable shareholders’ value, contribute to the development of a leadership position of the Life Sciences sector and generate a tangible, beneficial societal impact. Dr. Monteyne has held senior positions in SmithKline Beecham, GSK, and Sanofi. He served as the Head of Global Vaccine Development at GSK for several years, and then served as Senior VP-Head of Development and CMO at GSK Rare Diseases from 2010 to 2012. More recently, he served as Vice President of R&D France at Sanofi until early 2015. During that period, he was also Board Member of SARD (Sanofi Aventis R&D), of the LEEM (Pharmaceutical association in France "Les Entreprises du Médicament"), of the Technological Research Institute (IRT) Bioaster in Lyon, and of the « Fondation Plan Alzheimer France ». He is a Director of different Biotech companies, in Belgium, France, and Spain. Dr. Monteyne was also visiting Professor of Neurology at the UCL (Université Catholique de Louvain), Brussels. He holds an M.D. degree in 1989 and Ph.D. in Viral Immunology in 1995, both at the UCL, is a fully trained Neurologist, and has also been trained in Neuro-Immunology at Pasteur Institute in Paris.

Claire POULARD joined the Omnes Capital Life Sciences Venture Team in 2015. She began her career in research at the Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology. Claire Poulard holds a Specialized Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Management and Biotechnology from ESCP and a Master in Bioengineering and Neuroscience Innovation from ESPCI (École Supérieure de Physique et Chimie Industrielle).

Observers

Biologist by training, Mrs. Emmanuelle DEPONGE obtained her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 1994 after being graduated as a Biology Engineer at Polytech in 1989. She obtained a master in Intellectual Property Law in 1998. She spent her first 15 years of professional experience in various healthcare and life science organizations including a non-profit patient association (AFM-Telethon), a biotech company in gene therapy (PrimeBiotech) and a cancer institute (Institut Curie). In 2007, she joined APICAP, an independent investment management company, where she developed the venture capital practice dedicated to healthcare and life science. End of 2017, she joined Go Capital as a venture partner in life sciences.

Camille DARCISSAC worked for 2 years as a financial analyst in Licensing & Acquisition at Pierre Fabre laboratories (Paris). Then, she joined Sanofi in Boston (USA) as a Clinical Trial Finance Manager where she was in charge of the set up and the monitoring of the clinical study budgets. Just before joining Turenne Capital, she was in charge of Business Development and Strategic Marketing at Adocia, a biotech company listed on Euronext. Camille hold a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (ISPB Lyon 1) as well as a MsC from EM Lyon (Programme Grande Ecole).

Founding Team

Christian HAMEL (1955-2017) was a Professor at the University Medical School of Montpellier and an ophthalmologist at the University Hospital of Montpellier (France). At the Neurosciences Institute of Montpellier (UMR1051), he headed the “Genetics and therapy for retinal and optic nerve blindness” team. His research seeks to identify the causative genes in inherited eye diseases and to develop novel treatments. He was the head of the Reference Centre for Genetic Sensory Diseases at Montpellier Hospital. He discovered the RPE65 gene and its protein product (RPE65) and identified the link between RPE65 mutations and congenital blindness. Christian was the founding president of the Francophone Society of Ophthalmological Genetics (SGOF). He served as an ophthalmology expert on the review board of the French Biomedicines Agency and a member of several committees worldwide that oversee the coordination of retinal gene therapy trials. He has published over 170 original publications. Christian received his Ph.D. in Neurosciences from the University Montpellier 1 and MD from University Paris XI.

Guylène LE MEUR is a lecturer at Nantes University and a practitioner at Nantes University Hospital specializing in pediatric ophthalmology and inherited eye diseases. She has experience in both nonclinical and clinical gene therapy trials. Guylène is a member of the French Society of Ophthalmology (SFO), and a board member of the French Association of Strabology, the Francophone Association of Strabology and Pediatric Ophthalmology (AFSOP), the French Retinopathy in Premature Infants study group (GEFROP), and the Francophone Society of Ophthalmological Genetics (SGOF). She is also a member of the scientific board of Retina France. Guylène has authored over 15 original publications.

Philippe MOULLIER, a renowned viral vectors expert, is a founder of HORAMA and was the company’s Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) between January 2017 and December 2019. He previously served as research director at INSERM (UMR1089) and in 1996 founded the Institute for Gene Therapy at Nantes University Hospital (France), which he directed until 2016. Philippe is a world-renowned expert in viral vector development and gene therapy translational research. He has served as an expert consultant to French (ANSM) and European (EMA) regulatory bodies, and as an adjunct professor at the University of Florida (USA) from 2006 through 2015. He has published over 120 original publications in the field of gene therapy and genetics.

Vasiliki KALATZIS is a senior scientific researcher in Prof. Hamel’s team at the Institute for Neurosciences of Montpellier (INM), where she leads a group working on innovative therapies for retinal diseases. Vasiliki is a molecular biologist with broad experience in gene therapy. Her research focuses on the development of human cell models of retinal diseases, using stem cells generated from patients, for non-clinical gene therapy experiments. She was the organizer of the first international scientific symposium on choroideremia (Sommieres, France) in 2011 and co-organizer of the Vision Beyond the Genome International Conference (Montpellier, France) in 2016. She is the main inventor on the patent “Methods and pharmaceutical compositions for expressing a polynucleotide of interest in a patient’s retinal pigment epithelium (WO/2015/082690)”. She is the scientific director of the stem cell and differentiation platform of the INM and has authored over 50 publications in the fields of human genetic diseases and gene therapy. Vasiliki received her Ph.D. from the University of Paris.

Michel WEBER is a Professor at Nantes University (France) and head of the ophthalmology clinic at the Nantes University Hospital since 2001. Professor Weber is a vitreoretinal surgeon with a wealth of experience in the subretinal administration of gene therapy products. In 2000, he created a clinical research team (CIC, Centre for Clinical Investigation) at Nantes University Hospital. Michel is a member of the French Society of Ophthalmology (SFO) and ex-president of the Francophone Society of Retinal Specialists. He is the author of over 60 original publications. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Strasbourg.

Denis CAYET founded Horama in 2014 and oversaw the growth of the HORAMA project up until 2016. He is an entrepreneur with vast experience in enterprise creation. He founded and successfully directed multiple companies in the postal sector (J+1, DIRECT, PRESTISSIMO, IMX). In 2009, he founded the Federation of Alternative Postal Actors (FAPA), which he directed until 2012. Building off his experience in the biomedical sector acquired since 2006 (via Théravectys), in 2012 he created the Stargardt foundation, dedicated to promoting and funding research into Stargardt disease. In 2017, he created the company VARIANT to develop treatments for very rare retinal dystrophies linked to the CRX gene.