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.
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 a 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.
Chief Operating Officer
Connie brings a diverse 25-year career in healthcare and business to ONL, having worked in both large and small pharma, early-stage biomedical technology commercialization and management consulting. She was most recently Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Millendo Therapeutics, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on orphan endocrine diseases, where, as a member of the executive leadership team, she was responsible for building critical infrastructure as the company became publicly traded, including investor and public relations, corporate communications, facilities and operations, information technology and corporate branding.
Prior to joining Millendo, Connie was the inaugural managing director of Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI), the commercialization and entrepreneurship arm of the University of Michigan Medical School, with a mission to accelerate biomedical innovation by clinicians and researchers across campus. As a co-architect and leader of FFMI, Connie grew the team from a 4-person business development group, initially focused on growing collaborations with life science industry partners, into a multi-pronged and externally funded 12-person organization supporting early-stage technologies through translational research funding, industry networks, mentoring and other entrepreneurial support.
Connie moved back to her home state of Michigan after a 15-year career in Boston and New York, including 12 years in the pharmaceutical industry where she worked in leadership roles in commercial marketing and sales. At Sepracor (now Sunovion) Connie was Senior Director and brand team leader for the sedative hypnotic and respiratory franchises, leading the commercial business units for the prescription medicines Lunesta and Xopenex, and developing integrated marketing plans and sales force strategies for 2000+ sales professionals, including the launch of product line extensions. Prior to Sepracor, Connie was with Pfizer in New York working on commercial teams across multiple categories such as allergy/respiratory, cardiovascular and depression/anxiety, as well as serving as Director of Regional Marketing for the New England region. She also was a management consultant with Mercer in New York (now Oliver Wyman).
Connie received her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychobiology from Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and an MBA from Harvard Business 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.
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.