NIJMEGEN, the Netherlands – Wednesday February 5th, 2020: Khondrion, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company discovering and developing therapies targeting mitochondrial disease, today announces the appointment of Dr Rob van Maanen as Chief Medical Officer (CMO). 

Dr van Maanen joins the leadership team of Khondrion at a crucial time in the company’s progress developing its proprietary pipeline and will oversee the clinical development of lead asset, Sonlicromanol, a potentially first-in-class oral small molecule which entered phase IIb development last month to treat a range of mitochondrial diseases. He will also oversee the broader clinical strategy and medical operations for the company. 

Dr. Rob van Maanen said: “This is an exciting time to join Khondrion as it progresses its pipeline in mitochondrial disease. The company’s journey so far, bringing lead asset, Sonlicromanol, all the way through discovery to phase IIb development within just seven years, is truly remarkable. Khondrion’s pipeline also offers possibilities in the treatment of other serious diseases with high unmet need and I look forward to being part of a team whose research offers such potential to improve outcomes for patients”.

Dr. van Maanen is a specialist in pharmaceutical medicine having previously held positions at major pharmaceutical companies including Astellas, Eisai and Roche.  He brings over 20 years’ experience in strategic and operational global drug development, medical affairs, pharmacovigilance and regulatory experience. He has a Medical Degree from the University of Utrecht, Specialist certification in Pharmaceutical Medicine from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, UK and obtained his Master of Business Administration from the University of Amsterdam. 

Prof. Dr. Jan Smeitink, Chief Executive Officer at Khondrion, said: We are delighted to welcome Rob to the Khondrion team. With this appointment we are preparing the company for late stage development of the pipeline and the expansion of our clinical capabilities, which are important in helping us to accomplish our mission of bringing clinically meaningful medicines to patients living with devastating mitochondrial diseases. I would like to thank Edwin Spaans, who served as our CMO until recently, for all his work assisting us in bringing our lead asset towards its phase 2b development”.  

– Ends –

Khondrion BV
Prof. Dr. Jan Smeitink, CEO
Tel: +31-24-3617505 


Consilium Strategic Communications
Mary-Jane Elliott, David Daley, Melissa Gardiner
Tel: +44 20 3709 5700 


About Khondrion
Khondrion is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company discovering and developing therapies targeting mitochondrial disease. Founded by Prof. Jan Smeitink, a world-leader in mitochondrial medicine, the company is advancing its proprietary science through a wholly-owned clinical and preclinical small molecule pipeline of potential medicines.   

Khondrion’s lead asset, Sonlicromanol, is a potentially first-in-class oral small molecule in phase IIb clinical development to treat a range of mitochondrial diseases including m.3243A>G spectrum disorders including MELAS (mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes), maternally inherited diabetes and deafness (MIDD) and mixed phenotypes. It has been granted Orphan Drug Designation for MELAS spectrum disorders, Leigh disease and patients with MIDD in Europe and for all inherited mitochondrial respiratory chain disorders in the USA.   

The company’s in-house discovery engine is using unique live-cell imaging technologies, patient-derived cell lines and predictive cell-based disease models to build a portfolio of promising compounds. Active discovery programmes are underway developing new therapies, biomarkers and new read-out technologies in the field of mitochondrial diseases.

To accelerate the discovery and development of its potential medicines for mitochondrial diseases, Khondrion collaborates with a global clinical and academic network and patient organisations internationally. Khondrion is headquartered in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. For more information visit


About mitochondrial disease
Mitochondrial disease occurs when mitochondria, found within all cells of the human body and responsible for producing the energy necessary for cells to function, are defective. This can result in a wide range of serious and debilitating illnesses occuring shortly after birth or later in life. Signs and symptoms of these can include: cognitive problems, learning disabilities, blindness, deafness, heart failure, diabetes, fatigue, intolerance to exercise, muscle weakness and gait problems, and stunted growth. Orphan diseases of the oxidative phosphorylation system like Leigh disease, MELAS (mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes) spectrum disorders, MIDD (maternally inherited diabetes and deafness), LHON (Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy) and other respiratory chain/ oxidative phosphorylation disorders, are all examples of mitochondrial disease.