Horama | 3 experts have just joined the team

20 May 2020

HORAMA, a clinical stage gene therapy company in ophthalmology, announced several appointments in recent weeks :

  • Rodolphe Clerval has been appointed as Chief Business Officer (CBO). Rodolphe Clerval (44) has over 18 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, totalizing over €100m in upfront and R&D payments and in equity investments. He was also actively involved in fundraising rounds. 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. Rodolphe graduated with a degree in Biochemical Engineering from Polytech Marseille and he is a Certified European Financial Analyst from EFFAS/SFAF.

“HORAMA is a remarkable company, combining top gene therapy research, clinical stage programs with a strong team of industry leaders. I am thrilled to join HORAMA and to support the company in delivering best-in-class therapies in inherited retinal dystrophies”, said Rodolphe Clerval, CBO, Horama.

  • Seasoned life sciences executive Dr. Benedikt Timmerman is taking over as the firm’s new Chairman. Benedikt has over 25 years of experience building and leading businesses in life sciences. His career is a testament to 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. Asfounder 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.

“Horama has made significant progress and achieved outstanding results under the leadership of Christine Placet. The company is now well positioned to shape the future of the gene therapy market in ophthalmology and deliver innovative solutions for inherited retinal dystrophies and beyond. I look forward to contributing to its success,” said Benedikt Timmerman, Chairman of Horama.

  • The appointment of Dr. Ian Catchpole as its Chief Scientific Officer. Ian will draw on his 25‐ plus years of experience in drug discovery and development to oversee Horama’s scientific operations. Ian has worked for over 25 years at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and its legacy companies, where he built an excellent reputation as both project initiator and leader, successfully attracting support and funding for many projects, taken from inception to early clinical/GMP development. At GSK, Ian also managed scientific, business and strategic operations of many programs, through partnerships with academic institutions and biotech collaborators. He has extensive knowledge in a wide range of areas, including ophthalmology, cell and gene therapy, vaccination and immuno‐oncology. Ian is author of over 40 scientific articles and inventor on 17 patents. He is a Fellow of Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) and was
    an Inaugural GSK Fellow.

“I am honored to serve as Horama’s Chief Scientific Officer and I look forward to helping consolidate the company’s gene therapy leadership in ophthalmology, to advance our pipeline of clinical programs and to deliver best‐in‐class therapies for inherited retinal dystrophies,” said Ian Catchpole, CSO of Horama

Gene therapy market (source: FiorMarkets and Grand View Research, Inc)

Gene therapy is being developed with an aim to treat rare conditions with limited or no treatment options. Genetic disorders occur due to gene mutations, which can result in incorrect protein
synthesis. Gene therapy is used to introduce a healthy gene into cells to allow the synthesis of a functional protein. Growing awareness and acceptance of gene therapy for various disease treatments are favouring market growth. The global gene therapy market is estimated to reach €5.94 billion ($5.5 billion) by 2026, while the global ophthalmology market is projected to grow to €46.44 ($43 billion) by 2026, both according to an April 2019 report issued by Grand View Research, Inc., a market research and consulting company.


HORAMA believes gene therapy is appropriate for treating a broad range of inherited disorders. Our focus is on Inherited Retinal Dystrophies with our lead clinical program targeting patients with PDE6B gene mutations, a condition which leads to progressive vision loss in children and adults, ultimately leading to legal blindness. Team is pushing the boundaries of gene therapy by advancing next generation delivery platforms and functional genes that will improve effectiveness and coverage of gene transfer addressing multiple diseases. For more information, please go to: