Executive Board

Paul Bilars – CEO

Paul CEO of NecstGen completed his LL.M. and MSc. in law and public administration at the Leiden University. After which he worked in commercial and managerial roles at TNT. Driven by his passion to improve healthcare, he joined Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), holding various positions in logistics and strategic sourcing. From 2011 until 2018, he acted as one of LUMC’s managing directors, overseeing a budget >€150 million per annum and >1500fte. During this time, Paul headed initiatives to improve healthcare, directing the Cardiology Centre Voorschoten and initiating LUMC’s outpatient center in Lisse. In 2015 Paul co-founded VarmX BV, a biotech company developing novel agents for the prevention and treatment of bleeding. In his role as CEO/CBO he led two financing rounds (€14 million) until April 2019. In 2016, he set up Starfish Innovations, an LUMC-subsidiary that promotes the establishment of new high-potential projects, spin-offs and industry collaborations within the field of regenerative medicine. Among others, Starfish Innovations invests in regenerative technologies, as well as translational research enabling novel cell and gene therapies. As co-initiator of the NecstGen organisation, Paul Bilars advocates the accelerated delivery of cell and gene therapies to patients.

Ton Rabelink – CSO

Ton Rabelink, CSO and co-founder of NecstGen is also professor of internal medicine at LUMC. Prof. Rabelink has published over 700+ peer reviewed articles and plays a pioneering role in the field of Regenerative Medicine, exemplified by his role as national lead for the Regenerative Medicine route of the Dutch Science Agenda since 2015. Ton Rabelink obtained his MD PhD degree at the University of Utrecht. After completing his residency and fellowships in internal medicine and nephrology he joined the faculty of Utrecht Medical School in 1993. In 1998, he became professor and was appointed chair of medicine. Prof. Rabelink subsequently moved to the Leiden University Medical Center in 2004, where he became head of the department of Nephrology and Transplantation, and took up the position of chair of medicine again in 2010. His research over the years has been a combination of fundamental cell biology as well as on translational cell therapy  programs in the field of regenerative medicine. This is e.g.illustrated by first in man studies on mesenchymal stromal cells in kidney transplant patients. He coordinated the EU consortium STELLAR and is PI in the international  RegmedXB consortium, both on the topic of renal regeneration. He is also the LUMC node director of the international stem cell center reNEW.

Jan Rydlo – CFO

Jan Rydlo is Chief Financial Officer at NecstGen. Jan brings to NecstGen over 25 years of experience in financial management. Prior to joining NecstGen, Jan held positions in corporate financial management at large pharma and medical devicecompanies. In his most recent job, Jan was finance director in Centrient Pharmaceuticals, where he held responsibility for EMENA region and Corporate holding companies of the group. Directly prior to his relocation to the Netherlands in 2017, Jan worked 3 years in healthcare and social enterprise. Earlier in his career he also worked as auditor and compliance officer. He has gained experience in managing complex projects, including M&A integrations, restructuring, ERP implementations (SAP, Oracle), and corporate financial management.

Strategic Advisory Board

Markwin Velders

Dr. Markwin Velders obtained his PhD in molecular immunology at Leiden University and worked as post-doc and assistant professor at Loyola University, authoring over 40 peer reviewed papers. He was CSO at AM-Pharma, a biopharma company developing treatment for acute kidney injury. Markwin subsequently joined TNO, where he held positions as Operations Manager and Business Unit Manager. In 2013, he was involved in NKI spin-off T-Cell Factory. There he played a crucial role in its acquisition by Kite Pharma. He was also CEO of SomantiX, a biotech company developing on angiogenesis inhibitors. From 2015 until 2020, Markwin Velders worked as Vice President Operations at Kite Pharma. In this period he established the company’s EU headquarters and built the organization from 3 until 300+ employees. After the company’s acquisition by Gilead, in 2017, Markwin headed the establishment of its CAR-T commercial manufacturing site, in Hoofddorp. He played a key role in the clinical advancement and commercial launch of its therapies in Europe. As of 2017 he is chairman of the board of HollandBIO, the association of Dutch biotech companies. He is also supervisory board member at Amarna Therapeutics, a Dutch gene therapy developer, and ISA Pharmaceuticals, a clinical stage immunotherapy company. Markwin Velders brings over 19 years of experience at leading positions in various biotech companies. He combines scientific and commercial experience, specifically in the field of cell and gene therapy.

Sander van Deventer

Prof. van Deventer is certified internist and gastroenterologist. He received his medical doctorate from the University of Amsterdam, and worked as a scientist in the Laboratory for Medical Biochemistry, Rockefeller University, New York. He was the first to administer the first commercial monoclonal antibody (Remicade®) to patients with Crohn’s disease. Also he had a critical role in the development of other therapeutic interventions, targeting cytokines, cytokine receptors, T‐cells and signal transduction pathways, using small molecules, antibodies, peptides, proteins and antisense DNA technologies. He supervised the development of Glybera, the first gene therapy product to be approved in Europe, and several other gene therapy products. In 1995, he became director of the laboratory for Experimental Internal Medicine at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam. In 1998 Prof. van Deventer co-founded uniQure B.V., developing AAV-based gene therapy products and now listed on Nasdaq, acting subsequently as CSO, CMO and CEO. He furthermore headed Dezima Pharma, that was later acquired by Amgen. From 2001 until 2004, he chaired the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam. In 2006, Sander van Deventer co-founded as Managing Partner and subsequently as Operating Partner the venture capital firm Forbion Capital Partners. Until recently, he served on the scientific advisory boards of Argos, Engene, Staten and Hookipa Pharma. Since 2018, he is professor of Translational Gastroenterology at the Leiden University Medical Center, authoring over 400 peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Johan Hyllner


Johan Hyllner obtained his doctorate at the University of Gothenburg. He is devoted to both scientific and industrial aspects of cell therapy, publishing over 60 peer reviewed articles in this field. Since 2012, he is adjunct Professor of engineering biology at the department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology at Linköping University, Sweden. Throughout the last 20 years, Johan was a C-level executive in five startup companies in the cell therapy field and built these into successful international businesses. Among others, as CSO, he has been part of building Cellectis, Cellartis, SQC Lab and Vitrolife into thriving entities. From 2013 he held the position as CSO of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Ltd, London, a high-profile innovation centre established by the British government, where he helped grow the organization from 12 to 170 people. In 2019, he joined AstraZeneca, where he is leading Cell Therapy BioPharmaceuticals R&D. Here, he is responsible for the discovery and development of cell therapy based projects from discovery to clinic across cardiovascular, renal, metabolic, respiratory and immunological diseases. In this role, he oversees the strategic direction of this newly-formed department while building capabilities both internally and through collaborations. Prof. Hyllner brings vast experience in applied research through development to global marketing, manufacturing and commercialization of advanced cell-based products. In addition, he has extensive experience of strategic outlining and execution, external scientific relations, assessment of candidate projects and technical oversight of preclinical programs.

Cell Therapy Manufacturing & Development

Viral Vector Manufacturing & Development

Cleanroom Rental