Meet our team

Meet Our 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.

Eelco Ebbers, CEO of Symeres

Eelco Ebbers, PhD


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.”

Frank Leemhuis, Head of Corporate Development

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.”

Guillaume Jetten


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."

Russ Thomas, Head of Business Development

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.”

André de Vries, Director of Innovation and Business Development at Symeres

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

Bart DeCorte, VP Business Development

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

Marleen Dolman, Marketing and Communications

Marleen Dolman, BSc

Communications and Marketing

Trained as a chemist, I realized I love seeing more aspects of a company than just the scientific side. Communication allows me to go everywhere, talk to everyone. Outside work, I love writing fiction, mainly science fiction, where I use my background in science for interesting worldbuilding.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.” -Marie Skłodowska Curie

Sascha Hartmann, Director Business Development

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

Roger McDonald, Director Business Development

Roger McDonald

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."

Nori Morita, Director Business Development

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.”

Chris Teleha, VP Business Development CMC US

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.”

Luc van Hijfte, Senior VP Drug Discovery

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."

Jorg Benningshof, Sr. Director Synthetic Chemistry

Jorg Benningshof, PhD

Sr. Director Synthetic Chemistry

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"

Rutger Folmer, Director Medicinal Chemistry

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

Bernard van Vliet, Director of Medicinal Chemistry

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

Kees Pouwer, Director of Chemistry

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.

Anita Wegert, Director Medicinal Chemistry

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.”

Bas Dros, Director of Chemistry

Bas Dros, PhD

Director of 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.”

Erik van Echten, Director of Analytical Chemistry

Erik van Echten

Director of Analytical Chemistry

Performed my first chiral HPLC separation somewhere in 1989, many more in the years that followed, but seeing those two peaks appear has always put a smile on my face. I’m proud to see that I have been able to pass on this “fingerspitzengefühl” to the next generation.

“You don’t have to be a farmer to be excellent in your field.”

Tommi Meulemans, Director of Chemistry

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

Peter Molenveld, Director of Chemistry

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."

Martin Poelert, Director of Chemistry

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!"

Mark Verhaar, Director of Operations

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!”

Edwin Aret

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."

Eric Damen, Director of Process Research

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!”

Jos Hulshof, Director of Process Chemistry

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.")

Jan Koek, Director of Chemistry

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.”

Gabriella Pizzuti, Director of Development

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.”

Chantal Rademakers-Litjens, Director of Quality

Chantal Rademaekers-Litjens, B.Sc.

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.”

Bernd Vergouwen

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.”

Goran Verspui, Sr. Director Drug Development

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.”

Ton Vries, Head of Innovation and Technology

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.”

Jim van Wiltenburg, Scientific Officer at Symeres

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."

Remy Litjens, Managing Director Symeres Weert and Prague

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.”

Titia Mulder, Managing Director Symeres Nijmegen

Titia Mulders, PhD

Managing Director Symeres Nijmegen

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."


Development Centres of Excellence Network Lead Optimization Hit Generation Lead Optimization

Development Centres of Excellence Network Lead Optimization Hit Generation Lead Optimization
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