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ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 18, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ONL Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapies for preserving vision in a range of retinal diseases, today announced a key leadership appointment as part of its evolution into a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company. David A. Esposito has been appointed chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors, bringing with him a wealth of leadership experience in building life science companies. The appointment of a new CEO is designed to further supplement ONL’s leadership as it continues to advance its innovative retinal neuroprotection technology.
“David is an experienced healthcare executive and combat veteran with a proven track record of building successful life science companies,” said Mark Hooper, Chairman of the Board of ONL Therapeutics. “As ONL continues to prepare for first-in-human clinical trials, David will help accelerate the operating plan for the company. We also want to thank Dr. David Zacks for his leadership as interim CEO during this transition.”
Mr. Esposito has more than twenty-five years of healthcare leadership experience. Most recently, he was the CEO of Armune BioScience, Inc. (cancer diagnostics). In December of 2017, Armune BioScience sold a portfolio of protein biomarkers to Exact Sciences, Inc. (EXAS). Mr. Esposito started his healthcare career with Merck & Co. Inc. as a sales representative calling on ophthalmologists and rose through the ranks of sales, marketing, and commercial strategy for the company. He was the President of Phadia US Inc. (allergy and autoimmune diagnostics) which was sold to Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) in September of 2011. Mr. Esposito currently serves on the board of directors of AllerGenis, Shield Diagnostics, and Hemotek. He received a BS in Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Syracuse University.
“I am thrilled to be joining the talented team at ONL Therapeutics as we prepare to enter human clinical trials for ONL1204,” stated Mr. Esposito. “Our novel Fas inhibition platform has the potential to protect vision in patients with a wide range of retinal diseases. I believe strongly in our ability to execute our plans to transition into a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company and make a meaningful difference in protecting the vision of potentially millions of patients.”
ONL Therapeutics is currently embarking on a Series B round of financing to take its lead compound ONL1204 into clinic and expand the development pipeline of its platform of Fas inhibitors for use in a range of retinal disease indications. Current investors in the company include Novartis, the University of Michigan’s Michigan Investment in New Technology Startups (MINTS) program, Capital Community Angels, Invest Michigan, Biosciences Research & Commercialization Center, and Hestia Investments.
ONL1204 is a novel, first-in-class small molecule Fas inhibitor designed to protect key retinal cells, including photoreceptors, from cell death that occurs in a range of retinal diseases and conditions. Death of these retinal cells, both direct and via inflammatory signaling, is the root cause of vision loss and the leading cause of blindness. The company’s ONL1204 development program focused its first indication on the treatment of retinal detachment, a condition for which the compound has been granted orphan drug designation by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Clinical trial plans are focused first on the acute indication of retinal detachment, with continuing preclinical work occurring to enable clinical trials in other disease indications, including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and inherited retinal degeneration (IRD; also known as retinitis pigmentosa).
About ONL Therapeutics
ONL Therapeutics (ONL) is a biopharmaceutical company committed to protecting and improving the vision of patients with retinal disease. By advancing a novel breakthrough technology designed to protect key retinal cells from Fas-mediated cell death, ONL is pioneering an entirely new approach to preserving vision. ONL is developing a platform of products for use in a wide range of blinding diseases, including retinal detachment, glaucoma, AMD, and IRD.
For more information about ONL Therapeutics, please visit www.onltherapeutics.com.
ONL Therapeutics, Inc.
David Esposito, President and Chief Executive Officer