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.
David Esposito, President and Chief Executive Officer
David Esposito is an experienced healthcare executive who has built and scaled multiple companies that resulted in successful exits to strategic buyers.
David is the former CEO of Armune BioScience where he led the development and commercialization of blood-based diagnostics to improve the early detection of cancer. The Company successfully launched the only non-PSA blood test to improve the detection of prostate cancer. Armune BioScience was sold to Exact Sciences (EXAS) in 2017.
He was President of Phadia US Inc. (allergy and autoimmune diagnostics) and played a pivotal role in the sale of the business to Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) for in 2011. David began his career as a sales representative with Merck & Co. Inc. and rose through the ranks of sales, marketing and commercial strategy for the US Division.
David is a combat veteran, led an infantry platoon with the 101st Airborne Division through several combat operations, and was recognized with a Bronze Star for combat action in Iraq in 1991. David earned his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and his MBA from Syracuse University.
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.
Jana van de Goor, Ph.D., Vice President, Development
Dr. van de Goor has over 15 years of research & development experience with industry leader Genentech. Most recently, she led 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 led 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., Director, Research
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 and development operations.
Robert Forgey, Vice President, Operations
Mr. Forgey is ONL’s Vice President of Operations. Mr. Forgey is an entrepreneurial scientist and businessman with expertise in the founding, management and financing of early stage start-up companies. He has a specific expertise in the areas of drug discovery, drug development, and life science startup companies.
Before joining the ONL team, Mr. Forgey was the co-founder and President of ProNAi Therapeutics, an oncology therapeutics company. ProNAi is now traded as Sierra Oncology on the NASDAQ.
Mr. Forgey received his Bachelor of Science in Biology and his Master of Science in Genetics from the University of North Dakota. Subsequently he received his MBA from Olin’s School of Business at Washington University St. Louis. He has worked as a research scientist and scientific operations manager for Searle, Pharmacia and Pfizer.
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 the University of Michigan under the guidance of Dr. Paul Sieving, who is currently the head of the National Eye Institute.