Press Releases

Sep 3, 2020
Amarna Therapeutics Announces the Appointment of Steen Klysner as Chief Executive Officer

LEIDEN, the Netherlands, September 03, 2020 / B3C newswire / -- Amarna Therapeutics, a privately held biotechnology company developing the next-generation SV40-based gene delivery vector platform named SVec™ that promises to transform gene-replacement and immunotherapy across many disease areas, today announced the appointment of Steen Klysner, Ph.D. as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as per September 1. Founder and CEO Ben van Leent will become a member of Amarna’s Supervisory Board.

“I am very pleased to welcome Steen Klysner as our new CEO. Steen brings an extensive background as a biotech CEO to Swedish ExpreS2ion Biotech Holding AB & the Danish ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies ApS, preceded by an impressive track record in execution and value creation within the biotech industry. His leadership experience makes Steen an ideal candidate to lead Amarna into its next stage of growth and development.” said Thomas Eldered, Chairman of Amarna’s Supervisory Board. “We are extremely grateful for Ben van Leent’s leadership and contributions to Amarna as both founder and CEO, and we are excited about the opportunity to focus his outstanding expertise as member of our Board.”

“I am incredibly honored to have been given the opportunity to lead Amarna,” said Dr. Klysner. “SVec has the potential to enable major medical breakthroughs, so that patients can be actually cured of life-threatening diseases for which, to date, effective treatment have not become available. Together with Amarna’s highly qualified and experienced team, I’m fully committed to advance the company’s groundbreaking technology into the next important clinical development stages.”

Steen Klysner comes to Amarna with over 30 years of experience in the life sciences industry. Prior to joining Amarna, Dr. Klysner served as CEO of the Swedish ExpreS2ion Biotech Holding AB in parallel with the Danish ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies ApS. Earlier, he was Senior Vice President (SVP) of preclinical R&D and SVP of Quality of Allergopharma, the Allergy Business Unit of Merck KGaA. He also served as CEO of Nordic Vaccine in Copenhagen, focusing on the development of non-invasive vaccination based on an integrated nanoparticle adjuvant and delivery platform. Prior to that he has also held positions at Pharmexa, Novo Nordisk and ALK.
Dr. Klysner holds a Ph.D. from Technical University of Denmark combined with an Industrial Scientist Research Degree from the Danish “Academy of Technical Sciences”, a M.Sc. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Copenhagen and a B.Sc. in sports from the University of Copenhagen.
Finally, Dr. Klysner is author/co-author of numerous patents and scientific publications in (inter)-national peer-reviewed medical journals.

“I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to build Amarna to where it is today. In my new role as member of the Supervisory Board, my efforts will be towards helping raise the awareness of Amarna and its SVec gene delivery vector platform and using it to help build a robust pipeline,” said Ben van Leent. “I have full confidence that Steen, a very passionate and talented leader, will provide the leadership and expertise needed to guide Amarna through the next phases of growth. I look forward to working with Steen to drive forward Amarna’s product candidates.”

About SV40 vectors: A key to the success of gene therapy
Today gene therapy enables the development of a next wave of treatments, with potential to not only treat but also to cure a number of major diseases. Key to the success of gene therapy is the efficient delivery of therapeutic genes into target cells, which is an ability that naturally evolved in viruses, rendering them ideally suited for gene delivery.
The Simian virus 40 (SV40) strictly replicates in its natural host, macaque monkeys. The virus cannot replicate in humans and doesn’t elicit an immune response, which makes it ideal for developing effective gene therapies. However, the clinical use of SV40 vectors has been hampered by production and safety issues. Amarna has solved this, by developing a novel proprietary SuperVero™ production cell line and the SVec™ gene delivery platform.
Importantly, SVec™ can be used to efficiently induce immune tolerance to self-antigens driving degenerative, inflammatory and autoimmune human diseases. Amarna aims to develop SVec-based “reverse” vaccines for major indications such as neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases (NDPs), atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ACD), obesity, diabetes mellitus (DM), arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

About Amarna Therapeutics
Amarna Therapeutics is a privately held Biotech company founded in 2008. Its head office is located in Leiden (The Netherlands), and its research facility in Seville (Spain). The company has developed a proprietary SuperVero™ cell line and SVec™ gene delivery platform for the development of safe and efficient immunotherapies for major indications within the degenerative, inflammatory and autoimmune disease areas.
In October 2019, Amarna secured €10 million in new equity to progress its SVec platform towards clinical studies. The financing round was led by Flerie Invest AB, a Swedish investment company, together with existing shareholders and an innovation credit from the “Netherlands Enterprise Agency” (RVO.nl).