Chief Executive Officer & President and Board Member
Kerrie Brady brings to OcuTerra Therapeutics her experience as a successful serial biotechnology entrepreneur and strategic business leader with over 30 years of international experience across a variety of therapeutic areas. Prior to joining OcuTerra, Kerrie co-founded Centrexion Therapeutics in 2013 and served as its Chief Business Officer and Executive VP Strategy. As co-founder, she played a key role in growing the initial team from two people to a high-performing 25-person team with five clinical programs. She was instrumental in raising over $150 million in investments, led the $998 million out-licensing deal to Lilly, with over $48 million up front.
Prior to co-founding Centrexion, Kerrie was recruited in 2007 by InterWest Partners to co-found Arcion Therapeutics. As COO, she was key to raising $18 million from venture capital investors and negotiated term sheets for licensing and M&A opportunities. The acquisition of an additional asset resulted in spin-off company, Vallinex, which she led simultaneously with Arcion from 2010 to 2013. As COO at Vallinex, she was instrumental in restructuring the product, securing additional IP, and refocusing its development plan. She structured the startup’s seed funding, negotiated a Series A investment, and organized the company’s acquisition. Kerrie’s entrepreneurial path began in 2006 when she founded Traxion Therapeutics, a boutique biotech company specializing in new drugs that act on ion channels. At Traxion, she built a pipeline of novel early stage assets through in-licensing deals from Japanese pharmaceutical companies.
Kerrie’s earlier career included roles in both biotech (EntreMed, Intracel, Cooperative Research Center for Biopharmaceutical Research) and pharmaceutical organizations (Rhone Poulenc, Farmitalia Carlo Erba) with leadership positions in operations, business development, marketing, and regulatory affairs.
Kerrie holds a BPharm from the Victoria College of Pharmacy, an MBA (Award of Distinction) from the University of Melbourne and an M.S. in Biopharmaceuticals from the University of New South Wales.
Chief Development Operations Officer
D. Scott Edwards, PhD, brings to OcuTerra Therapeutics an extensive background in pharmaceutical research and development with a record of major accomplishments in the areas of small molecule therapeutics and medical imaging contrast agents. He held a basic research position at Dow Chemical Company from 1983 through 1987 and then began his career in drug discovery and development after joining the medical imaging division of DuPont Pharmaceutical Co. in 1988. At DuPont and Bristol-Myers Squibb, he held positions of increasing responsibility spanning discovery, pre-clinical development, clinical development and regulatory affairs resulting in multiple new drug approvals and the first pediatric extension for an imaging drug. Scott joined OcuTerra Therapeutics in 2012 where he leads the drug development efforts including the clinical, regulatory, and quality functions and manages the company's expansive patent estate. He has managed external resourcing, conducting critical toxicology studies, manufacturing clinical drug supplies, and submitting regulatory filings. Scott has worked closely with our Scientific Advisory Board of retina specialists on the design, conduct, and interpretation of the Phase I/II studies and the development of a comprehensive clinical development plan for OTT166.
He holds a bachelor’s in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a PhD in Organometallic Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is an inventor on 27 U.S. Patents and an author on 75 publications.
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Tanzer brings over 25 years of clinical development and executive leadership experience in the ophthalmology space. Prior to joining OcuTerra, he served as Global Executive Medical Director in the Novartis ophthalmology franchise, providing medical and development leadership in advancing and launching novel therapies for macular degeneration and diabetes, dry eye, presbyopia, amblyopia and gene therapies for rare inherited retinal diseases. Previously, Dr. Tanzer served as the Chief Medical Officer at Abbott Medical Optics (AMO) where he led the development and launch of over 30 products in 4 ½ years, as well as overseeing the transition of AMO to Johnson & Johnson Vision. He also led the Navy Refractive Surgery Program in San Diego, participating as principal or co-investigator in over 50 IRB-approved clinical studies, serving as a consultant and clinical / surgical investigator for over 10 companies on several pivotal trials, publishing 35 peer-reviewed papers and presenting at over 150 international conferences on behalf of the program. Dr. Tanzer earned his undergraduate degrees in Pharmacology and Biopsychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his MD from Georgetown University.
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Brent Saunders has over 25 years of experience in leadership roles at several prominent global pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. He currently serves as CEO, President and Chairman of Vesper Healthcare. Previously, he served as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Allergan until its acquisition by AbbVie in May 2020. Prior to this, Brent served as Chief Executive Officer of Forest Laboratories Inc., a role he held until the company’s merger with Actavis in 2014. Following the merger with Actavis, Brent was named Chief Executive Officer of the combined business and in 2015, he led Actavis’ acquisition by Allergan. From March 2010 until August 2013, Brent served as Chief Executive Officer of Bausch + Lomb Incorporated (NYSE: BHC), a leading global eye health company, until its acquisition by Valeant in 2013. Mr. Saunders holds a B.A. degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a J.D. degree from the Temple University School of Law, and an MBA from the Temple University School of Business.
William H. Koster, PhD, is the President and CEO of Northern Pilot Co., LLC, a firm providing guidance to the pharmaceutical industry in the areas of R&D analysis, design and implementation, portfolio management, and strategic business development. He began his career at The Squibb Institute for Medical Research in antibiotic research. His work contributed to the discovery of the antibiotic, Azactam, for which he received the Thomas Alva Edison Award from the R&D Council of New Jersey in 1992. William’s career at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) spanned chemistry, biology, and technology operations ultimately leading to his position as senior vice-president overseeing worldwide drug discovery and early clinical development through Phase IIa. He also led the R&D acquisition and integration effort for the purchase of the DuPont Pharmaceutical Company by BMS in 2001. After 30 years with the BMS organization, in 2001 he accepted the position of President and CEO of Neurogen Corporation, a public biotech company (NASDAQ: NRGN) engaged in neuroscience R&D, a position he held until his retirement in 2008. William holds 30 US Patents and is the author of numerous scientific publications and presentations. He was elected to the Connecticut Academy of Sciences and Engineering (now emeritus) and has served on various scientific advisory forums including the Keystone Symposia Scientific Advisory Board and The National Council for Harvard Medicine. In addition, he has served on the board of directors for Neurogen Corporation, Cadus Pharmaceutical Corporation, Mnemosyne Pharmaceuticals, Cadent Therapeutics, and VedantraPharmaceuticals (Chairman). He is currently serving as Chairman of the Board for eXIthera Pharmaceuticals and for OcuTerra Therapeutics. William majored in chemistry at Colby College (1966) and then completed his PhD in organic chemistry at Tufts University in 1972.
Robert currently serves as a Board Director on a number of clinical stage biotech companies. He is also the President of Ruffolo Consulting LLC, a pharmaceutical consulting company that he established in 2008. Previously, Robert served as the President of Research & Development and corporate Senior Vice President of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer in 2009) from 2000 to 2008. Prior to joining Wyeth, Robert was a Senior Vice President in Research & Development at SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals (now GlaxoSmithKline) for 17 years. Before joining SmithKline Beecham, Robert spent 6 years at Lilly Research Laboratories where he was Chairman of the Cardiovascular Research Committee. During his long career in the pharmaceutical industry, Robert oversaw the discovery and development of multiple marketed products. Robert holds a B.S. degree in Pharmacy, and a Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology, both from The Ohio State University.
Robin Steele has extensive experience in conventional debt and equity financings, as well as other financing related transactions such as mergers and acquisitions, product in/out-licenses and divestitures, collaborative agreements, and spin-offs. Robin previously served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of InterMune, Inc., a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company, until 2014. Prior to her tenure with InterMune, Robin served as Vice President of Legal Affairs for North America for Elan Pharmaceuticals, a publicly traded pharmaceutical company. Robin received an LL.M in Taxation from New York University School of Law and a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Robert Dempsey, MBA, has served as a board member since August 2018. He brings more than two decades of domestic and global experience in the ophthalmic space driving successful drug development, business transactions and commercialization. Robert was recently appointed to Chief Executive Officer and President for AsclepiX Therapeutics, Inc. Most recently, he served as CEO of TearClear in which he led a successful Series B financing and FDA engagements while amplifying their innovative platform, putting TearClear on the map in ophthalmics. Prior he served as the Global Head of Ophthalmology at Shire, which was acquired by Takeda, and was responsible for one of the top 10 largest biopharma transactions of 2019, the divestiture of the Takeda lead ophthalmic drug, Xiidra®, a transaction of up to $5.3 billion. Under Robert’s leadership, Shire successfully acquired four companies to accelerate the value creation of the franchise through the addition of innovative early, mid and late-stage pipeline candidates.
Robert's widespread experience in ophthalmology stems from diverse leadership roles across commercial, business development, medical affairs and venture backed startups. He brings deep relationships with key opinion leaders and comprehensive knowledge of the ophthalmic ecosystem. He has been instrumental with successful early-stage venture capital and strategic fundraising activities as a board member and advisor to multiple ophthalmology companies. Additionally, his philanthropic engagement includes serving as Chairman of The Holland Foundation for Sight Restoration and as Co-Director of the Corporate & Surgeon Partners Program for SightLife.
Robert holds a Master’s in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.
Advisory Board Member
David S. Boyer, MD, is a world-renowned clinician, surgeon and educator. He is one of a select group of doctors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and at Good Samaritan Hospital who specialize in Ophthalmology. David is currently a leading investigator for various national clinical trials on retinal diseases and serving as an advisor for multiple research, educational and charitable institutions. David was also an investigator in the OTT166 Phase 1/Phase 2 clinical studies.
Advisory Board Member
Jeffery S. Heier, MD, is the Co-President and Medical Director, Director of the Vitreoretinal Service, and Director of Retina Research at Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston. He is on the Executive Board of the Retina Society and the Executive Committee of the American Society of Retina Specialists. He is also the President of the New England Ophthalmological Society, and a member of the Macula Society. In addition to having authored or co-authored numerous works in peer-reviewed journals, Jeffery has served as a reviewer for the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Ophthalmology, Archives of Ophthalmology, American Journal of Ophthalmology, Retina, and numerous other journals. Jeffery was also an investigator in the OTT166 Phase 1/Phase 2 clinical studies.
Advisory Board Member
Peter Kaiser, MD, is the Founding Director of the Digital Optical Coherence Tomography Reading Center at the Cleveland Clinic’s Cole Eye Institute. He is actively involved in retinal clinical research as the study chairman of 4 major, multi-center, international clinical trials; as well as the principal investigator in multiple other trials. Peter is a major contributor to medical literature having authored several ophthalmology texts, and more than 200 book chapters, original reports, electronic publications and abstracts. He is also an associate editor at the American Journal of Ophthalmology, and serves on the editorial boards of Retina, Retina Today, Retinal Physician and Ocular Surgery News.
Advisory Board Member
Dr. Lindstrom is a Founder and Attending Surgeon at Minnesota Eye Consultants, P.A., a provider of eye care services. A Board-certified ophthalmologist and internationally recognized leader in corneal, cataract, refractive and laser surgery, Dr. Lindstrom has developed a number of solutions, intraocular lenses and instruments that are used in clinical practices globally. He is Adjunct Clinical Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, Department of Ophthalmology. He is Board Member: University of Minnesota Foundation, Visiting Professor, UC Irvine‘s Gavin Herbert Eye Institute. He also is past President of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons and the International Society of Refractive Surgery. Dr. Lindstrom holds a B.A. in pre-medical studies, a B.S. in Medicine and an M.D. from the University of Minnesota.
Advisory Board Member
Dr. Rowen is an experienced physician who has pioneered new treatments and techniques for ophthalmic surgery. She is active in helping pave the way for new ophthalmic innovations coming to market by serving as Principal Investigator for numerous FDA trials. Dr. Rowen is an advisor on several medical and scientific advisory boards and continues to practice in Newport Beach, CA. Dr. Rowen is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American College of Surgeons. She is also an active member of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons. Dr. Rowen acts as President Emeritus of Cedars Aspens Society and serves on the Medical Editorial Board of CRST and Presbyopia Physician. She earned her medical degree from the University of Maryland and completed her surgical internship and fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a two-year vitreoretinal research fellowship at the Wilmer Eye Institute. Dr. Rowen’s residency training for ophthalmology was completed at the University of Maryland.