Company Strengthens Leadership by Naming Chief Science Officer, Chief Medical Officer and SVP of Operations
ANN ARBOR, MI – December 3, 2014
ONL Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapies for preserving sight in a range of retinal diseases, today announced several management team appointments designed to strengthen the company’s leadership as it continues advancement of its novel photoreceptor protection technology. The company has appointed David Kleinman, M.D. as chief medical officer and Linda Johnson as senior vice president of operations, bringing significant industry experience to ONL in the area of ocular drug development. Additionally, David Zacks, M.D., Ph.D., one of the company’s founders, will transition from president and chief medical officer to become the company’s chief science officer and John Freshley will assume an expanded role as president and chief executive officer.
“As we continue to make progress with our development activities in support of our foundational photoreceptor protection technology, as well as ONL101, our lead product candidate for retinal detachment, it is critical that we have an executive team with the experience and skills required for success,” said John Freshley, president and chief executive officer of ONL Therapeutics. “By naming David Zacks as CSO and adding both David Kleinman and Linda Johnson to our core management team, we have more advantageously positioned ONL to maximize the therapeutic potential of our novel technology platform and translate that technology into therapeutic products that can preserve the vision of retinal disease patients.”
Dr. Zacks is a co-founder of ONL and previously served as the company’s president and chief medical officer. In addition to his role with the company, he is an associate professor of ophthalmology, a retinal specialist, 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 photoreceptor cell death in retinal detachment and has discovered unique molecules that block the Fas receptor and preserve photoreceptors. Dr. Zacks’ research serves as the scientific foundation for ONL’s technology platform and product pipeline.
Dr. Kleinman is also a retina specialist and has spent over ten years in venture creation and ophthalmic drug and device development. He currently serves as part-time associate professor of ophthalmology on the retina service at the Flaum Eye Institute at the University of Rochester. Previously, Dr. Kleinman helped found MacuSight, a venture capital backed retinal drug development company, where he served as consulting medical director. In his role with MacuSight David assisted in guiding the company through Series A financing, pre-clinical studies, investigational new drug (IND) submission, and Phase I/II clinical development. David has extensive experience consulting for both small and large ophthalmic companies in clinical trial design and execution, regulatory interaction, drug safety monitoring, and the evaluation and advancement of novel ophthalmic technology.
Ms. Johnson has nearly 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 global development leader, overseeing all clinical activities for a therapeutic portfolio of 10 – 15 candidates.
ONL101 is a first-in-class therapeutic that works by protecting photoreceptors against the programmed cell death (apoptosis) that occurs during the course of a broad range of retinal diseases and conditions. It is this death of photoreceptors that is the root cause of vision loss and the leading cause of blindness. Preclinical data to date for the product demonstrates its ability to protect photoreceptors against the apoptosis process triggered by retinal detachment. In in vivo retinal detachment models, up to 80 percent of the photoreceptor cells that would normally die without treatment were kept alive following administration of ONL101.
About ONL Therapeutics
ONL Therapeutics (ONL) is a biopharmaceutical company committed to protecting and improving the vision of patients with a range of retinal diseases and conditions. By advancing a novel breakthrough technology designed to protect photoreceptors against programmed cell death (apoptosis), ONL is pioneering an entirely new approach to preserving sight. The company’s lead therapeutic candidate, ONL101, is a first-in-class small molecule peptide initially being developed for the protection of photoreceptors in retinal detachment, a condition for which the product has been granted orphan disease designation. For more information about ONL Therapeutics, please visit www.onltherapeutics.com
ONL Therapeutics, Inc.
John Freshley, Chief Executive Officer
Vida Strategic Partners (On behalf of ONL)
Stephanie Diaz (investors)
Tim Brons (media)