ONL’s management team is comprised of experienced and successful life science industry executives and world-renowned thought-leaders in relevant fields of ocular disease research.
John Freshley, President and Chief Executive Officer
John has 17 years in leadership roles of fast-paced entrepreneurial companies within both the life science and software fields. His expertise spans the assembly of multi-disciplinary leadership teams, product and business strategy development, partnership development, communications, and venture capital fundraising.
Most recently, John was chief business officer of Compendia Bioscience through its acquisition by Life Technologies. He helped launch the company in 2006 with co-founders from the University of Michigan and served as its interim chief executive officer. In this role, he assembled the management team, secured initial funding and acquired the company’s initial round of customers. Previously, John had been president and chief executive officer of Genetics Squared, an Ann Arbor start-up focused on developing personalized oncology drugs and diagnostics.
David Zacks, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer
Dr. Zacks is an associate professor of ophthalmology and a clinician-scientist at the University of Michigan, Kellogg Eye Center. For over the past 15 years his research has focused on the molecular regulatory mechanisms controlling photoreceptor death or survival in retinal disease. Dr. Zacks is a pioneer and recognized thought leader in the field of retinal neuroprotection and photoreceptor cells physiology. He has demonstrated that the Fas pathway is largely responsible for cell death and has discovered unique molecules that block the Fas receptor and preserve photoreceptors.
A recognized expert in the study of retinal detachment, Dr. Zacks has received numerous honors for his work, including the Macula Society’s W. Richard Green Lecture and Award in 2011. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed his residency in ophthalmology and fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary of Harvard Medical School.
David M. Kleinman, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Kleinman is a board-certified ophthalmologist with fellowship training in vitreoretinal surgery and more than ten years experience in venture creation and ophthalmic drug and device development. He currently serves as a part-time associated professor ophthalmology at the Flaum Eye Institute at the University of Rochester, where he specializes in the medical and surgical care of patients with retinal disease. David is the former chief of ophthalmology at Denver Health Medical Center, where he also served as an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Institute.
In 2003, he helped found MacuSight, a venture capital backed retinal drug development company, where served as consulting medical director. In his role with MacuSight, David assisted in guiding the company through Series A financing, pre-clinical studies, initial investigational new drug (IND) submission, and Phase I/II clinical development. MacuSight’s assets were acquired by Santen in 2010. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University, an MBA from the Simon School of Business, and an M.D. with honors from the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Jeff Jamison, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Vice President, In Vivo Pharmacology
Dr. Jamison has nearly seven years of pharmaceutical drug discovery and development experience, including tenures in the ophthalmology research units at both Alcon and Pfizer. His pioneering research in retinal function has led to his development of a full range of methods, experimental procedures, and animal models to test compounds for retinal disorders.
Based on his broad retinal disease experience, Jeff helped co-found ONL Therapeutics and has been instrumental in the company’s preclinical research focused on Fas-receptor inhibitors. Dr. Jamison earned his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at University of Michigan under the guidance of Dr. Paul Sieving, who is currently the head of National Eye Institute.
Linda Johnson, Senior Vice President, Operational Excellence
Linda has over 20 years of pharmaceutical industry experience with responsibilities ranging from principal research scientist through development team leader. She most recently served as an executive director for Pfizer Worldwide Development. In that role she led global, multi-disciplinary teams in the development of more than 30 clinical candidates across a wide range of therapeutic areas and through all phases of drug development.
During her final two years with Pfizer, Linda served as a key member of the leadership team for the dermatology therapeutic area. Her responsibilities included leading all development activities for the dermatology portfolio of 10 – 15 clinical candidates, while ensuring that internal goals were achieved on time and within budget. Prior to joining Pfizer, Linda oversaw various research projects at Parke-Davis focused on developing small molecule inhibitors for therapeutic use in inflammation and cancer treatments. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Jana van de Goor, Ph.D., Vice President of Project Operations
Dr. van de Goor has over 15 years of research & development experience with industry leader Genentech. Most recently, she lead global project teams from pre-clinical phase through launch including CMC leadership for 2nd generation Rituxan and the global development team for Trastuzumab emtansine, a first in class antibody drug conjugate for treatment of Her-2 positive metastatic breast cancer (approved in 2013). In her early years at Genentech, she lead research to understand the molecular mechanism of cell death of large scale production cultures and collaborated with V. Dixit to develop novel cell lines expressing apoptosis inhibitors to prolong cell viability.
Prior to joining Genentech she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco investigating the mechanism of synaptic transmission in D. melanogaster. Jana earned her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from University of Technology in the Netherlands.
Andrew Kocab, Ph.D., Manager, Research Operations
Dr. Kocab earned his Ph.D. in immunology at the University of Michigan where he studied cell signaling pathways related to cell death and inflammation. Specifically, his work focused on understanding the signaling from receptors closely related to Fas, as well as the effector proteins involved in regulating these processes.
Upon joining the company, Dr. Kocab worked with senior management on a variety of tasks and projects. He also wrote and coordinated the submission of NIH grant applications and Orphan Drug applications, prior to taking a larger role in the company’s research operations.