Purespring strengthens senior leadership with appointment of Chief Medical Officer and Chief Development Officer

Purespring Therapeutics, a pioneering gene therapy company focused on transforming the treatment of kidney diseases, announces the appointments of Dr Ronny Renfurm as Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Julian Hanak as Chief Development Officer (CDO), effective immediately.

The appointments are a critical step in Purespring’s plan to advance its proprietary gene therapy platform.

Richard Francis, Chief Executive Officer of Purespring Therapeutics, said:

“Purespring has created a fully integrated company from the outset, with all the building blocks in place to move rapidly through clinical validation to allow us to start to transform the treatment of kidney diseases as quickly as possible. Ronny and Julian together have decades of relevant experience within the sector, combining expertise across gene therapy development, manufacturing, regulatory affairs, and CMC, alongside a wealth of broader biopharma management experience. They join the company at a pivotal time as we move to become a global leader in renal gene therapy, and I look forward to working with them.”

Dr Ronny Renfurm is a senior biopharmaceutical executive with 25 years’ experience in global clinical development and medical affairs roles, including early and late phase clinical development, with a focus on kidney and cardiovascular diseases and experience with gene therapy. Ronny, who most recently established an independent consultancy for biotech companies working in the kidney space, served for 10 years at Astellas Pharma in a variety of senior development, medical and regulatory affairs roles, culminating as Executive Director for Global Development and Group Head, Nephrology.

On his appointment to Chief Medical Officer, Ronny commented: 

“I’m pleased to be joining such a highly experienced team who are progressing truly pioneering research and are backed by Syncona’s deep industry insights. Purespring is addressing the gap in innovation that exists in developing novel treatments for kidney diseases, which affect around 840 million people globally. My background of working in kidney disorders and gene therapy compliments Purespring’s mission to transform patient lives and I welcome the opportunity to help achieve this goal.”

Julian Hanak brings to Purespring extensive biopharmaceutical and gene therapy product development experience from large pharma, start-ups and in the CDMO industry. He has expertise in product development, business development, CMC outsourcing, clinical trials supply and GMP. Julian’s most recent position was at Biogen, where he was SVP and Head of CMC for NightstaRx Therapeutics, following its acquisition by Biogen and, previously, was a Board member at NightstaRx Therapeutics, where he played a role in supporting the company through multiple funding rounds.

Julian Hanak said:

“It is an exciting time to be joining Purespring. The Company’s unique approach to directly targeting podocyte cells, the key to kidney health, through gene therapy offers huge potential to provide much-needed solutions for patients currently without treatment options. The Company is well-placed to support these ambitious goals and I’m looking forward to working with the team on helping to make these a reality.”

Accompanying the appointments of CMO and CDO, Alan Griffith also joined Purespring as Vice President of Research and Amanda Weiss joined as Vice President of CMC.

  • Alan has significant experience within the gene therapy space, having previously worked across a series of roles of increasing responsibility at MeiraGTX, ultimately as Director of Preclinical Viral Vector Development. Alan has also worked in academia, including at the National Institute of Cellular Biotechnology, UCL and King’s College London.
  • Amanda worked for Biogen following the acquisition of NightstaRx, where she was program asset lead, with responsibility for the lead gene therapy product. Prior to the Biogen acquisition, she led process validation for GMP manufacturing of NightstaRx’s gene therapy products. Before joining NightstaRx, Amanda worked in a number of senior biological process and manufacturing roles, including at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies and UCB Celltech.

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