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uniQure Announces Leadership Addition to Support Advancement of Clinical Programs

LEXINGTON, Mass. and AMSTERDAM, June 26, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- uniQure N.V. (NASDAQ: QURE), a leading gene therapy company advancing transformative therapies for patients with severe medical needs, today announced the appointment of Walid Abi-Saab, M.D., as Chief Medical Officer, effective immediately. He will report to Matt Kapusta, Chief Executive Officer of uniQure, and will be based in the Company’s Basel, Switzerland office. Dr. Abi-Saab will be responsible for leading all clinical research and development, regulatory affairs, medical affairs, and program management at uniQure.

With Dr. Abi-Saab’s appointment, Dr. Ricardo Dolmetsch becomes President and Chief Scientific Officer. He will continue to lead all research, non-clinical research, and vector and enabling technology.
“As we advance the clinical development of AMT-130 in Huntington’s disease and move additional gene therapy programs into the clinic, including AMT-260 in refractory temporal lobe epilepsy and AMT-162 in SOD1 ALS, it is critical that we expand our clinical development expertise in the company,” stated Mr. Kapusta. “Dr. Abi-Saab is a proven biopharma executive with more than 20 years of experience in global drug development. Under his leadership, more than 30 molecules have advanced through clinical development leading to several approvals in the US, EU and Canada. I am happy to welcome Walid to the uniQure leadership team at this exciting time for the Company as we advance our clinical programs for Huntington’s disease and other serious diseases.”

“I am very excited to join uniQure at this very promising moment for the Company,” stated Dr. Abi-Saab. “uniQure has been a leader in gene therapy for 25 years and I’m particularly impressed by their recent success in hemophilia B and pioneering work in Huntington’s disease. I look forward to joining the team as the Company advances the clinical development of AMT-130 and initiates additional clinical studies in the near future.”

Dr. Abi-Saab joins uniQure from the Belgium-based biopharmaceutical company Galapagos, where he served as Chief Medical Officer from 2017 through 2022. While at Galapagos, he expanded the company’s development organization and led the company through a critical and transformative phase, including the successful completion of the Phase 3 studies of filgotinib (Jyseleca®) in rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. Prior to joining Galapagos, he served as Group Vice President, Global Clinical Development at Shire, where he was responsible for the clinical development plans of all programs in the therapeutic area and oversaw the development of more than 10 marketed products and other programs in rare diseases and specialty pharma. He also has previously held leadership positions at Novartis, Abbott Laboratories, and Pfizer, and served as a resident, research fellow, and assistant professor at Yale University School of Medicine, where he completed Psychiatry residency training and a Neuroscience Research Fellowship. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in biology from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon and his M.D. at the Université Saint Joseph in Beirut.

In connection with the commencement of Dr. Abi-Saab’s employment, the Company granted Dr. Abi-Saab an inducement award consisting of a non-qualified option to purchase 115,800 ordinary shares of the Company and 67,200 restricted share units. The exercise price of the options is based on the closing price of the Company’s ordinary shares as reported on the Nasdaq Capital Market as of June 26, 2023 (the “Grant Date”), the effective date of the grants and the start date of Dr. Abi-Saab’s employment with the Company. The option has a ten-year term and will vest over four years, with 25% of the underlying shares vesting on the first anniversary of the Grant Date and an additional 6.25% of the shares vesting in approximately equal quarterly installments over the twelve successive quarters thereafter. The restricted share units vest in three approximately equal annual installments beginning on June 26, 2024. The vesting of each option and RSU is subject to Dr. Abi-Saab’s continued service with the Company through the applicable vesting dates.

The aforementioned equity awards were approved by the Company’s board of directors on June 13, 2023 and were issued as a material inducement to commencing Dr. Abi-Saab’s employment with the Company in accordance with and under Nasdaq Listing Rule 5635(c)(4).

About uniQure
uniQure is delivering on the promise of gene therapy – single treatments with potentially curative results. The recent approvals of our gene therapy for hemophilia B – an historic achievement based on more than a decade of research and clinical development – represents a major milestone in the field of genomic medicine and ushers in a new treatment approach for patients living with hemophilia. We are now leveraging our modular and validated technology platform to advance a pipeline of proprietary gene therapies for the treatment of patients with Huntington's disease, refractory temporal lobe epilepsy, ALS, Fabry disease, and other severe diseases.

uniQure Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, which are often indicated by terms such as "anticipate," "believe," "could," “establish,” "estimate," "expect," "goal," "intend," "look forward to," "may," "plan," "potential," "predict," "project," “seek,” "should," "will," "would" and similar expressions and the negatives of those terms. Forward-looking statements are based on management's beliefs and assumptions and on information available to management only as of the date of this press release. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, our expectation to advance the clinical development of AMT-130 in Huntington’s disease and the timing related thereto and our intention to move additional gene therapy programs into the clinic. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements for many reasons, including risks related to conducting the clinical trial for Huntington’s disease, the impact of financial and geopolitical events on us and the wider economy and health care system, our clinical development activities, clinical results, collaboration arrangements, regulatory oversight, product commercialization and intellectual property claims, as well as the risks, uncertainties and other factors described under the heading "Risk Factors" in our periodic securities filings, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 27, 2023 and our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC on May 9, 2023. Given these risks, uncertainties and other factors, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, and uniQure assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future.

uniQure Contacts:
Maria E. Cantor Chiara RussoTom Malone
Direct: 339-970-7536Direct: 617-306-9137Direct: 339-970-7558
Mobile: 617-680-9452Mobile: 617-306-9137 Mobile: 339-223-8541 

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