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15 May 2017

In Memoriam Henri Termeer

Henri Termeer, honorary doctor of the University of Twente, passed away May 12 at the age of 71, in his home town Marblehead. The world loses a biomedical technology pioneer.

Drs Henri Termeer MBA, born in Tilburg (NL), headed the Genzyme corporation over 30 years. He is well known for the development of so-called ‘orphan drugs’: while regular pharmaceutical industry prefers ‘big volumes’ for frequently occurring diseases, Termeer focused on specialized drugs for rare diseases. He was a true pioneer in this and he made Genzyme very successful. In 2011, the 50th anniversary of the University of Twente, he received an honorary doctorate. His honorary promotor was Prof Clemens van Blitterswijk, by that time scientific director of UT’s MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine. Termeer's work on regenerative medicine and targeted therapeutics has connections with MIRA's research. After Termeer left Genzyme, he founded the 'Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapeutics' at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Quoting the laudatio for his honorary doctorate of November 25, 2011: "This honorary doctorate acknowledges expressly your role as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world of biotechnology, who has brought new, life-saving treatments to many patients all around the world. As an entrepreneurial university with a leading research in biomedical technology and technical medicine, we consider you a role model for our staff and students alike." 

The University of Twente is shocked by his sudden death and wishes his loved ones strength in these difficult times.