Management Team

Management Team

Daniel de Boer - Founding CEO

Daniel is our Founder and Chief Executive Officer since our incorporation in 2012. Daniel is a serial entrepreneur and passionate advocate for rare disease patients. After one of his children was diagnosed with a rare disease, he started ProQR to develop RNA therapies for rare diseases. Under Daniel’s leadership, ProQR developed a platform that yielded a diversified pipeline of potential treatments for rare diseases and raised over $400M in funding, including an IPO on Nasdaq. Before founding ProQR, Daniel was founder and Chief Executive Officer of several technology companies. Daniel is also co-founder and strategic advisor to Amylon Therapeutics and Wings therapeutics, strategic advisor at Frame Therapeutics, Meatable, Algramo and a member of the advisory board at the Termeer Foundation. In 2018 Daniel was named "Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year" by EY. In 2019 Daniel was selected for the Young Global Leader program at the World Economic Forum.

Daniel de Boer

Gerard Platenburg - CIO and co-founder

Gerard is a co-founder and has served as our Chief Innovation Officer since 2014. Gerard has an extensive background in RNA modulation and orphan drug discovery and development and is currently in charge of our Innovation unit. Gerard has more than twenty-five years of senior managerial experience in growing biotech companies. Prior to joining our company, Gerard worked at Isa Pharmaceuticals B.V. as its Chief Executive Officer. Gerard co-founded Prosensa Holding N.V., growing it to become a well-known clinical stage RNA modulation company, and held various positions including Chief Executive Officer and Chief Development Officer. Gerard also worked at Pharming B.V.. He is a passionate and driven pioneer of early stage technologies. Gerard has a master’s degree in chemistry and molecular biology from Leiden University in 1987 and pursued PhD work at Leiden University.

Gerard Platenburg

Smital Shah - CBFO

Smital has served as our Chief Financial Officer since 2014 and was promoted to Chief Business and Financial Officer in 2018, where she is responsible for finance, investor relations and communications, business development and commercial. She has 20 years of experience in management and leadership roles in biopharma companies and investment banking. Prior to joining ProQR Smital managed Gilead Sciences’ multi-billion-dollar debt, cash and investment portfolios. Prior to Gilead, Smital spent several years in investment banking at Leerink Partners and JP Morgan in the biotech space and helped raise over $1 billion in equity capital and over $7 billion in debt capital as well advised on a variety of strategic transactions. Previously, she held various R&D focused roles at Johnson & Johnson. Smital has a Bachelor’s and Masters in Chemical Engineering and an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley. Smital is currently a board member at Pliant Therapeutics.

Smital Shah

Aniz Girach, MD - CMO

Aniz is our Chief Medical Officer. After having spent 11 years in academia/clinical practice, he joined the pharmaceutical industry with Eli Lilly, focusing on retinal diseases. He has in total 22 years industry experience in roles with Merck, as their Global Head of Ophthalmology, and Alcon, where he was Vice President of Clinical Development, and ThromboGenics (now Oxurion), where he was the Global Head of Ophthalmology/Chief Medical Officer overseeing the development and approval of Ocriplasmin (Jetrea)—a biologic therapy for retinal disease. In addition to an Honorary Professorship at Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, USA, he was recently the Chief Medical Officer at Nightstar Therapeutics, overseeing the development of gene therapies for inherited retinal diseases. He is a member of 3 Scientific Advisory Boards for international ophthalmic organizations currently, and reviewer for 5 peer-reviewed journals, including Eye and IOVS. He has edited 4 books and published over 100 abstracts/manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals.

Aniz Girach

Naveed Shams, MD, PhD - CSO

Naveed is our Chief Scientific Officer. Prior to joining ProQR in 2020 Naveed was Senior Corporate Officer, Head of Global R&D and CSO at Santen, a global ophthalmology company. He has over 20 years of experience in global drug development across start-ups and large multinational companies including Novartis and Genentech/Roche. He has played a significant role in developing important ophthalmology products, including Zaditor®/Zaditen®, Rescula®, Lucentis®, and Omnidenapag. While at Genentech, Naveed helped to establish the Ophthalmology Development Group and led the development and approval of Lucentis®. Naveed received his MD degree from Dow Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan and his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of South Carolina. He completed fellowships in cornea and external diseases at Harvard Medical School and in histocompatibility and immunogenetics at Massachusetts General Hospital. Naveed was a faculty member at Schepens Eye Research Institute and Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School.

Naveed Shams
Leadership Team

Leadership Team

Tiffany Burt

Tiffany is our Vice president, Head of Commercial, and has more than 20 years of global commercial experience across all phases of pre-launch market development and global biopharmaceutical commercialization including multiple rare therapeutic areas. She has been involved with the launch of 8 different products. Prior to joining ProQR, she served as Vice President, Marketing at Verastem Oncology where she built the marketing organization including key platforms and programs across the commercial organization launching Duvelisib in 2018. Before joining Verastem, Tiffany held numerous commercial leadership positions at EMD Serono, ARIAD and Novartis. Tiffany received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from Webster University.

Tiffany Burt

Andrew Morris

Andrew is our Vice President, Business Development. Andrew joined ProQR in 2019, after previously holding a variety of regional and global Business Development roles in biopharma and global pharmaceutical companies, culminating in over 25 years of pharma industry experience. During his most recent 10 year tenure at Takeda, serving as Vice President Business Development, Andrew led and executed numerous M&A transactions, negotiated numerous licensing deals across a variety of therapeutic areas and crafted strategic development initiatives at both regional and global levels. Prior to Takeda, Andrew held numerous commercial and business development leadership positions at SmithKline Beechams, Boehringer-Ingelhiem and Invida pharmaceuticals, spanning Europe, Emerging and Global Markets. Andrew received his undergraduate degree in Physiology from Manchester University.

Andrew Morris

Sarah Kiely

Sarah is Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications and has 20 years of healthcare-related and communications experience. She joined ProQR in 2019 from ImmunoGen, Inc. where she was most recently Director, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications. Prior to ImmunoGen, Sarah developed marketing strategies and managed communications at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. There she was responsible for internal and external communications related to the hematologic oncology treatment center and stem cell transplant programs, spanning referring physician outreach, donor communications, community outreach, and patient education. Earlier in her career Sarah also spent a number of years working with an agency that focused on pharmaceutical sales training.  Sarah received an MBA from Boston University and holds a Bachelor’s degree from Boston College.

Sarah Kiely

Jennifer Pluim

Jennifer is Vice President Medical Affairs and has over 25 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, with extensive knowledge in clinical operations, project management and medical affairs. Her experience spans several therapeutic areas, where she has been involved in developing the medical affairs strategy of therapeutic targets in infectious diseases, respiratory critical care, cardiovascular disease, oncology and ophthalmology. For the past 8 years, she had a leadership role at Bayer in developing the medical strategy for Eylea®- an anti-VEGF for the treatment of retinal diseases. During her career, she has had the opportunity to work for both big pharma as well as start-up biotechnology companies, where she has built and led a medical affairs organization and infrastructure. Jennifer earned a B.S. in Microbiology and an MBA from The Pennsylvania State University, certification as a Medical Technologist (M.T.) and Project Management Professional (PMP) and has received additional training in pharmacoepidemiology and real-world evidence.

Jennifer Pluim

Sheila Sponselee

Sheila is our Vice President Human Resources. As a people-driven person Sheila started at ProQR with a full commitment to the involved professionals, following their beliefs in the organisation’s mission. Her passion is to enable professionals in their carreer with their personal beliefs and principles. After having spent 10 years in ICT oriented businesses she joined the pharmaceutical/ biotech industry in 2019 at MyTomorrows. In her career her focus has been on establishing an efficient HR and people-driven organization. She succeeded in this as her strengths are change management and the ability to work with various types of professionals, whilst keeping an eye on the strategic course of the respective business.

Sheila Sponselee
Supervisory Board

Supervisory Board

Dinko Valerio

Dinko is one of our founders and currently serves as the chairman of our supervisory board which he joined in 2014. As a scientist and an experienced biotech entrepreneur Mr. Valerio is founder and former CEO of Crucell, and one of the founders of its spinout, Galapagos Genomics. He was founder and former general partner of Aescap Venture, a life sciences venture capital firm. Adding to his corporate experience, Mr. Valerio was also a professor of gene therapy at the University of Leiden. He received his Master’s degree in Biology from the University of Amsterdam and completed his Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics with Honors at the University of Leiden. Mr. Valerio was a visiting scientific specialist at Genentech Inc., San Francisco, and a postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute, San Diego. He is an author on more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals and an inventor on 11 patent-families.

Dinko Valerio

Theresa Heggie

Theresa has served on our Supervisory Board since 2019. She currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Freeline Therapeutics. She previously served in senior commercial and operating roles at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals as Senior Vice President, Head of CEMEA and Shire where she built the EMEA rare disease business and led the Global Commercial Operations for rare diseases and, following Shire’s acquisition of Jerini served as its Chief Executive Officer. Earlier in her career, Ms. Heggie held increasingly senior positions in the commercial organizations at Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Baxter Healthcare. Ms. Heggie has also been a board member at SOBI (Swedish Orphan Biovitrum) and currently serves on the board of BioCryst. She received a BSc from Cornell University.

Theresa Heggie

James Shannon, MD

James has served on our Supervisory Board since 2016 and is Chair of our Scientific Advisory Board. James has had an extensive career in drug development and pharma. From 2012 until his retirement in 2015, James was Chief Medical Officer at GlaxoSmithKline. Prior to that he was Global Head of Pharma Development at Novartis and Senior Vice-President, Clinical Development at Sterling Winthrop Pharmaceuticals. He held board positions at companies including Biotie, Circassia, Crucell, Endocyte and Cerimon Pharmaceuticals. He currently is Chairman of myTomorrows and Kyowa Kirin (NA) and sits on the Board of Horizon Therapeutics, Mannkind and Immodulon. He received his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at Queen's University of Belfast and is a Member of the Royal College of Physicians (UK).

James Shannon

Alison Lawton

Alison has served on our supervisory board since 2014. Ms. Lawton is currently President and CEO of Kaleido Biosciences Inc. Ms. Lawton previously served as Chief Operating Officer of Aura Biosciences and OvaScience and worked at various positions of increasing responsibility at Genzyme, and subsequently at Sanofi-Aventis, following its acquisition of Genzyme including as head of Genzyme Biosurgery and prior Global Market Access. Before joining Genzyme, Ms. Lawton was based in the UK with Parke-Davis, a pharmaceutical company. Ms. Lawton has served on the board of directors of Verastem, previously CoLucid until its acquisition by Eli Lilly and Cubist Pharmaceuticals until its acquisition by Merck &Co. She is past President and Chair of the Board of Regulatory Affairs Professional Society and past FDA Advisory Committee member for Cell and Gene Therapy Committee. She earned her BSc in Pharmacology, with honors, from King’s College London.

Alison Lawton

Bart Filius

Bart has served on our Supervisory Board since 2019. He joined Galapagos in 2014 as Chief Financial Officer and added the role of Chief Operating Officer in 2017. Prior to joining Galapagos, Mr. Filius held a variety of executive positions at Sanofi, where he was Vice President, Chief Financial Officer Europe, Country manager for The Netherlands and Vice President for Mergers & Acquisitions. Prior to joining Sanofi, Mr. Filius was a strategy consultant at Arthur D. Little. Mr. Filius has an MBA degree from INSEAD and a bachelor’s degree in business from Nyenrode University.

Bart Filius

Antoine Papiernik

Antoine has served on our supervisory board since 2014. Mr. Papiernik is a Managing Partner and Chairman of Sofinnova Partners, which he joined in 1997. Antoine has been an initial investor and active board member in public companies like Actelion, ProQR, Shockwave Medical, NovusPharma, Movetis, Mainstay, Pixium Vision, Stentys, Cotherix, CoreValve, Fovea, Ethical Oncology Science and Recor Medical. He has also invested in and is a board member of private companies Reflexion Medical, Medday, Tissium, SafeHeal, Mnemo Therapeutics, Ablacare, Noema Pharma, Highlife and Rgenix. Antoine has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. In 2012 and 2011, Antoine was selected by Forbes for its “Midas List” of the world’s top venture capital investors. Antoine is one of the only Europeans on the list and one of the few life science investors as well.

Antoine Papiernik

Henri Termeer - In Memoriam

Henri was our co-founder and vice chairman of our supervisory board until he passed away in 2017. Henri served as chairman, president and Chief Executive Officer of Genzyme Corporation until the acquisition by Sanofi. Prior to Genzyme, Henri worked for Baxter International Laboratories. He was a member of the board for  each of Massachusetts General Hospital, Partners HealthCare, fellows of Harvard Medical School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Biotechnology Industry Organization. He was chairman emeritus of the New England Healthcare Institute. Henri further served as board member of Abiomed, Aveo Pharmaceuticals, Verastem, Moderna Therapeutics, Medical Simulation and Allergan. He was appointed to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Council of Economic Advisors and was chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s board of directors. Henri studied economics at the Economische Hogeschool at the Erasmus University and earned an MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia.
Henri was a visionary rare disease leader that pioneered rare disease drug development. In 2017 Henri unexpectedly passed away. ProQR will continue to honor his legacy through completing the mission we set out together. Learn more on termeertribute.org

Henri Termeer
Scientific Advisory Board

Scientific Advisory Board

James Shannon, MD 

James is Chair of our Scientific Advisory Board and has served on our Supervisory Board since 2016. James has had an extensive career in drug development and pharma. From 2012 until his retirement in 2015, James was Chief Medical Officer at GlaxoSmithKline. Prior to that he was Global Head of Pharma Development at Novartis and Senior Vice-President, Clinical Development at Sterling Winthrop Pharmaceuticals. He held board positions at companies including Biotie, Circassia, Crucell, Endocyte and Cerimon Pharmaceuticals. He currently is Chairman of myTomorrows and Kyowa Kirin (NA) and sits on the Board of Horizon Therapeutics, Mannkind and Immodulon. He received his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at Queen's University of Belfast and is a Member of the Royal College of Physicians (UK).

James Shannon

Art Levin, PhD

Art has more than two decades of experience in RNA drug development from discovery through drug registration, including the development and registration of the first and only oligonucleotide medicine in ophthalmology, Vitravene. He has been key to the development of numerous of oligonucleotides, including the first approved antisense medicines, and the first microRNA-targeted therapeutic in clinical trials. He is currently the Chief Scientific Officer at Avidity Biosciences, Dr. Levin has published over 60 scientific articles and served as a director of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society.

Art Levin

Phillip D. Zamore, PhD

Phillip is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Gretchen Stone Cook Chair of Biomedical Sciences, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, and Chair of the RNA Therapeutics Institute at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is also a co-founder of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Voyager Therapeutics. Dr. Zamore and his coworkers have played a role in nearly all of the major breakthroughs in the study of RNA silencing.

Phillip D. Zamore

Thaddeus (Ted) Dryja, MD

Ted is a Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and associated director of eye pathology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. In 1983, he joined the faculty of the Department of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and led research in the molecular genetics of inherited retinal diseases (IRDs), as well as practicing general ophthalmology and ophthalmic pathology. In 1992, he became a full professor, in 1993, the David Cogan Professor at Harvard and in 1996, a National Academy of Sciences member. Dr. Dryja’s research discovered the recessive nature of oncogenic mutations at tumor suppressor genes, the retinoblastoma gene, and 16 IRD genes. In 2006, he became head of Translational Medicine in Ophthalmology at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, and from 2009-2017 he was Global Head of Ophthalmology Research at Novartis. At Novartis, he led preclinical and early clinical studies for ophthalmic diseases and the discovery of gene therapy agents for IRDs.

Thaddeus Dryja

Mike Cheetham, PhD 

Mike is a Professor of Molecular Cell Biology at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology (IoO). He did a degree in genetics in Swansea before training in immunology then molecular biology. Mike completed his PhD on Alzheimer’s disease at the Institute of Psychiatry, London before moving to inherited retinal disease (IRD) research at the IoO in 1995. After becoming Professor in 2005, his lab focuses on the cell biology of protein homeostasis in the nervous system and understanding the molecular basis of IRDs as well as developing therapies. The 3D retinal organoids from his lab recently helped develop an RNA therapy for LCA with ProQR. He was awarded the John Marshall award for RP Scientist of the Year in 2017 by Retina UK. He has published over 150 peer reviewed articles and has a h index of 56. He sat on grant funding committees including the Wellcome Trust (NMHB), Fight for Sight, Retina UK, BBSRC (committee D) and NIH.

Mike Cheetham

Donald. S. Fong, M.D., M.P.H. 

Donald is Chief of Ophthalmology and Director of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Eye Monitoring Center. He’s also Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at UCLA School of Medicine. A graduate of the Harvard School of School Public Health, Dr. Fong completed his residency and retina fellowships at Harvard Medical School / Mass Eye and Ear and Infirmary, followed by a senior staff fellowship in clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Fong has served as Chair of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Committee on Ophthalmic Drugs. Dr. Fong has received the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s (AAO) Senior Achievement and Secretariat Awards. More recently he won the US National Business Coalition on Health Innovation Award. He currently serves as Chair of the AAO’s Public Health Committee.

Donald Fong

J. Timothy (Tim) Stout, MD, PhD, MBA 

Tim received his medical degree and doctorate in molecular genetics from Baylor College of Medicine where he also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Human Genetics. He completed his Ophthalmology residency and a surgical retinal fellowship at the Doheny Eye Institute and a medical retina fellowship at Moorfields Eye Hospital and earned his MBA at the University of Oregon. Since 2013, he is Sid W. Richardson Professor and Margarett Root Brown Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, and Director of Cullen Eye Institute at Baylor College of Medicine. Prior to that, he served as Professor in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Molecular Genetics, VP Commercialization Strategies at Oregon Health & Science and has directed the Clayton Gene Therapy Laboratories since 1995. His research interests in inherited retinal disease include human gene and cell-based therapy, genotype-phenotype correlation and gene mapping and discovery culminating in numerous clinical trials.

Timothy Stout

Martin Maier, PhD 

Martin is Vice President, Research heading the RNAi Discovery group at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and co-leading an interdisciplinary research team focused on RNAi platform technology. In these roles, Dr. Maier has contributed to the development of lipid nanoparticles and GalNAc conjugates, two clinically validated platforms for siRNA delivery, and the advancement of multiple therapeutic programs to development, which culminated in the approval of ONPATTRO™, the first-ever RNAi therapeutic and GIVLAARI™, the first GalNAc conjugate. Martin received his PhD in Organic Chemistry in 1997 from University of Tübingen, Germany with Professor Ernst Bayer. After his postdoctoral research at Isis (now Ionis) Pharmaceuticals, he assumed a permanent position working on novel chemistries and delivery systems for antisense oligonucleotides. Martin has more than 20 years of experience in the field of oligonucleotide therapeutics in both, ASO and RNAi platforms and authored more than 70 peer-reviewed scientific publications, reviews and book chapters and is the inventor on more than 30 issued patents.

Martin Maier