Meet the team

An experienced team always at hand.

Symeres is a multicultural organization where 60% of our people hold a PhD degree. You will work together with a highly experienced, multidisciplinary team fully committed to make your project a success.

  • 1
    Eelco Ebbers, PhD

    Eelco Ebbers, PhD

    CEO

    I was always fascinated by organic chemistry. Understanding small and large molecules intrigues me still. Together with my entrepreneurial interest, this led to co-founding Mercachem in 1997, together with Frank Leemhuis. It has been a great adventure developing Mercachem, MercachemSyncom and now Symeres, and the journey continues.

    “Entrepreneur in R&D business models with the goal to provide new innovative solutions for development of new medicines.”

  • 1
    Frank Leemhuis, PhD

    Frank Leemhuis, PhD

    Head of Corporate Development

    As a chemistry student, I wanted to combine research with my entrepreneurial spirit. The inception of our company in 1997 was the perfect combination for me and the start of a great journey. I still look forward to fulfilling our client’s R&D goals to find novel therapies for patients.

    “It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go.”

  • 1
    Guillaume Jetten, Drs., RA

    Guillaume Jetten, Drs., RA

    CFO

    I am CFO of Symeres since 2017. Before that I served as CFO for Galapagos and for Wolters Kluwer Health, as well as in several other senior financial roles. I am holding a masters title in economic sciences and I am a registered accountant.

    “Panta rhei, kai ouden menei.”

  • 7
    Titia Mulders, PhD

    Titia Mulders, PhD

    Managing Director Symeres Netherlands

    As a student, I became fascinated with drug development. I have been responsible for several drug development programs during my years at Organon/SP/Merck. After a short sidestep to API manufacturing, I am glad to be back in Drug Discovery and Development, currently being responsible for the Symeres site in Nijmegen.

    “Nothing is impossible unless you think it is.”

  • 2
    Russ Thomas, PhD

    Russ Thomas, PhD

    Head of Business Development

    I’ve always been passionate about how the extremely talented people in biotech and pharma companies transform abstract scientific concepts into medicines for patients. These huge challenges require creativity, experience, scientific rigor, teamwork and significant patience. I live in Siena, Tuscany. In my spare time I keep bees and distill gin.

    “What I love about working at Symeres is the enthusiasm for creative science and drive to make clients’ projects successful.”

  • 5
    Goran Verspui, PhD

    Goran Verspui, PhD

    Sr. Director Drug Development

    The most rewarding part of my work is making plans for the scale-up of new molecules for clinical trials and discuss these with my colleagues and our clients. In Early Development there are many unknowns and plans often change. I love the dynamics in this field. Never a dull moment.

    “The one constant factor in life is that things will always change.”

  • 4
    Jorg Benningshof, PhD

    Jorg Benningshof, PhD

    Global Operations Director

    Already as a child I loved to create something from small pieces of Lego. During my studies I learned that Organic Chemistry is the ultimate toolbox to create innovative molecules that can help mankind. At Symeres we can do this together!

    “I love it when a plan comes together”

  • 3
    Luc van Hijfte, PhD

    Luc van Hijfte, PhD

    Senior VP Drug Discovery

    As a kid, I was intrigued that pills can cure disease. Since then I wanted to get involved in the development of new medicines. Now, years later, I look back with great of satisfaction to my various contributions in drug discovery, something I continue to do with passion and energy.

    “Without chaos nothing evolves, without structure nothing exists.”

  • 4
    Mark Verhaar, PhD

    Mark Verhaar, PhD

    Director of Operations

    The urge to understand, create and play has led me into science and a PhD in chemistry. I gladly continued the journey at Symeres, where my path has gradually shifted from fumehood to desk, but still: cutting corners only in wood and skipping a beat only in music.

    “It’s a joy working with so many gifted people and sometimes have the opportunity to contribute to their success!”

  • 7
    Remy Litjens, PhD

    Remy Litjens, PhD

    Managing Director Symeres Weert and Prague

    Already as a child, inspired by my parents, I fell in love with nature. Intrigued by how molecules act in biological systems, I pursued a career in the pharmaceutical industry, proudly working hard for its patients and leading the people at Symeres to find new, better solutions, every day again.

    “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”

  • 6
    Ton Vries, PhD

    Ton Vries, PhD

    Head of Innovation and Technology

    Chemistry will play a crucial role in the global challenges we face in the coming decades. As an organic chemist I would like to make my contribution with respect to new medicines, climate change and sustainability.

    “An optimistic rationalist.”

  • 4
    Bas Dros, PhD

    Bas Dros, PhD

    Service Platform Lead Synthetic Chemistry

    There is more to life than chemistry, but if I had the chance to do it all again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

    “The more you know, the less you realize you know.”

  • 2
    André de Vries, PhD

    André de Vries, PhD

    Director of Innovation and Business Development at Symeres

    Organic chemistry is like LEGO on molecular level; building beautiful structures by all kind of connections and disconnections. That feeling of creating something while playing is still there.

    “Everything seems to be theoretically impossible, till it is done.” – Robert A. Heinlein

  • 2
    Bart DeCorte, PhD

    Bart DeCorte, PhD

    VP Business Development

    My favorite high school chemistry teacher was a biologist who never missed an opportunity to tie the two disciplines together. I guess it is not surprising I became a medicinal chemist. Outside of work, I retired my soccer cleats a number of years ago and picked up a tennis racket.

    “Never underestimate the empowering effect of the human connection.” -Drishti Bablani

  • 2
    Chris Teleha, PhD

    Chris Teleha, PhD

    VP Business Development CMC US

    I got into Chemistry when Paper Science was just too ‘Applied’ Science for me. I enjoy devising mechanisms for by-products and retrosynthesis of new molecules. Although I like fixing things at home, one can’t be more fundamental in understanding of how things work than through chemistry!

    “I like it when I complete a New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle without help from the internet.”

  • 2
    Nori Morita

    Nori Morita

    Director Business Development

    I got in touch with Drug Discovery by accident in the nineties and fell in love with the adventure of exploring un-knowns. It is my biggest pleasure to find possible solutions for our customers which will eventually lead to better Quality of Life for many people.

    “Identify unknown-unknowns, then make them known-unknowns.”

  • 2
    Roger McDonald, BSc

    Roger McDonald, BSc

    Director Business Development

    After spending some time post University working in academia, I moved into the commercial world of sales. I’m a keen cyclist, happiest going uphill and in front of my Dutch colleagues! As a lifelong Blackpool FC supporter, I am keen to remind them that it is tangerine, not orange…

    “It’s only a hill.”

  • 2
    Sascha Hartmann, MSc

    Sascha Hartmann, MSc

    Director Business Development

    For me the fascination of chemistry is in its pivotal role connecting scientific disciplines from fundamental understanding to commercial application. Here at Symeres is the perfect place to experience this dynamic. In my spare time I enjoy walking, campervanning and exploring places with my family.

    “Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.” – R. A. Heinlein

  • 5
    Edwin Aret, PhD

    Edwin Aret, PhD

    Director of Solid-State Chemistry

    I have grown crystals for 25 years, and the possibilities still amaze me. Where materials behave differently, control of the crystals and their properties to turn a compound into medicine is just a matter of time. The most difficult bond to achieve in a structure is between the people.

    “Only entropy comes easy.”

  • 4
    Leon van Berkom, PhD

    Leon van Berkom, PhD

    Director of Parallel Chemistry

    As an adolescent, I became intrigued by the fundamentals of science and wanted to learn everything about primes, wave functions, and atoms and molecules. Later during my studies, I developed a passion for the application of organic synthesis in drug discovery. I am very grateful that my career at Symeres has allowed me to follow this passion.

    “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but ‘That’s funny…” – Isaac Asimov

  • 5
    Eric Damen, PhD

    Eric Damen, PhD

    Director of Process Research

    It feels great to successfully complete a process R&D project. The teamwork that is required to achieve the project goals is what drives me the most. Outside of work I love to spend time with my family (married with three teenage children), running and gardening.

    “Developing a process and making the first kilograms of a new API for FIH studies truly makes molecules matter!”

  • 3
    Rutger Folmer, PhD

    Rutger Folmer, PhD

    Director Medicinal Chemistry

    I am passionate to help progress drug discovery projects, irrespective of maturity or complexity of the program. I feel strongly that constant focus on the quality and reliability of the data is the differentiating aspect of progression. Here is where I want to make a difference – together with my team.

    “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” -Colin Powell

  • 5
    Jos Hulshof, PhD

    Jos Hulshof, PhD

    Director of Process Chemistry

    Even after 25 years at the company I still really enjoy the work in the field of PRD. When the weather allows it, I like to cycle. The yearly trip with colleagues to bike in the mountains is a highlight of the summer season, especially when I leave them behind.

    “For an Organic Chemist the sky is the limit.” -Prof. Hans Wynbergs: (“Een organisch chemicus kan alles.”)

  • 5
    Jan Koek, BSc

    Jan Koek, BSc

    Director of Chemistry

    Started working at the university of Groningen in Prof. Wynberg’s group as technician. When Prof. Wynberg retired as Professor, he asked me to join Syncom as the first employee. Many years doing chemistry especially crystallization work. Now, as director of chemistry, responsible for upscaling to 50 L vessels.

    “Just do chemistry and focus on solving problems.”

  • 4
    Tommi Meulemans, PhD

    Tommi Meulemans, PhD

    Director of Chemistry

    Just graduated from high school, I wanted to cure people as a physician, but decided that as a chemist you are one step ahead in the curing chain. Now, finding the most efficient synthesis routes or designing a molecule that fits the client’s needs can make my day.

    “You do or do not, trying is not option.” -Yoda

  • 4
    Peter Molenveld, PhD

    Peter Molenveld, PhD

    Director of Chemistry

    Being a synthetic and supramolecular chemist by education, I learned that it is the molecular properties of your compound that count. At Symeres I enjoy working with highly diverse molecules, synthesis, customers and colleagues. I love sports and outdoor activities like cycling, workouts, skiing and enjoying nature.

    “Organic synthesis and delivering a decent amount of pure material to a customer is a craft that can be underestimated.”

  • 4
    Kees Pouwer, PhD

    Kees Pouwer, PhD

    Director of Chemistry

    Trained as an organic chemist in the group of professor Wynberg, I started at Syncom in 1997. I always liked working doing wet-chemistry, and now enjoy supporting a team of talented colleagues to accomplish challenging client requests. I like spending my free time with friends and family and biking.

  • 5
    Gabriella Pizzuti, PhD

    Gabriella Pizzuti, PhD

    Director of Development

    I was always fascinated by the beauty of chemistry, how it permeates the entire universe and allows us to shape and improve our world, if we can unravel its secrets. Taking part in the process of making medicines and improving the life of people, brings me purpose every day

    “The quest for improvement transforms any failure into a new challenge.”

  • 4
    Martin Poelert, PhD

    Martin Poelert, PhD

    Director of Chemistry

    Although no longer active behind the fume hood I really enjoying being active with (paper) chemistry on a daily basis. Outside the lab; editor-in- chief for the quarterly magazine of the Dutch Citroen XM club.

    “As long as people claim that you can clean without chemicals, by using baking soda and lemon juice, we have work to do!”

  • 5
    Chantal Rademaekers-Litjens, BSc

    Chantal Rademaekers-Litjens, BSc

    Director of Quality

    Quality is not only a way of working but also a habit for me. Doing everything right both in my professional as well as personal life is in my DNA. The passion I find in my work is that we can make a difference in somebodies life.

    “Enjoy the little things of life, one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”

  • 5
    Bernd Vergouwen, MSc

    Bernd Vergouwen, MSc

    Director project management

    With over 25 years of R&D and process development experience, I left the lab long ago to move into various team lead and project management roles before becoming Director of Project Management. I love outdoor activities and enjoy gardening and spending time with My son Jort and my wife Elke.

    “If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal.”

  • 3
    Bernard van Vliet, PhD

    Bernard van Vliet, PhD

    Director of Medicinal Chemistry

    As a neuropharmacologist by training, I learned how to conduct integrated drug discovery projects within pharma industry. To find an innovative treatment to cure a disease and significantly improve patients quality of life, with the precious input from colleagues with complementary scientific background, is why I am working at Symeres.

    “Pour commencer, nous allons faire les petites choses faciles. Petit à petit, nous nous attaquerons aux grandes. Et quand les grandes choses seront faites, nous entreprendrons les choses impossibles.” -St François

  • 3
    Marina Virgili, PhD

    Marina Virgili, PhD

    Director Medicinal Chemistry

    I began my professional career as a process chemist but after a few years I was eager to learn how new drugs were discovered and moved to medicinal chemistry, becoming a drug hunter. I joined Symeres’ talented team to help our clients deliver new medicines for a healthier world.

    “I am thrilled about the power of a chemical structure, which confers the unique properties for a compound to become a drug.”

  • 3
    Anita Wegert, PhD

    Anita Wegert, PhD

    Director Medicinal Chemistry

    I am an organic chemist and a medicinal chemist by heart. Already at the age of 16 I knew that I want to become a researcher. At Symeres, I am part of a creative and open minded team, which even allows crazy ideas. This is a very refreshing experience.

    “Look out for the strange, surprising and unanticipated in your data. This can make the difference.”

  • 6
    Jim van Wiltenburg, PhD

    Jim van Wiltenburg, PhD

    Scientific Officer at Symeres

    I trained as an organic chemist and worked in diagnostics. I joined Symeres for their broad field of chemistry applications. I consider organic chemistry a crucial toolbox for all life sciences. The mechanistical way of thinking about reactions and processes is applicable to a wide range of subjects.

    “If possible, follow the no-nonsense approach.”