PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Acuity Pharmaceuticals, a clinical stage ophthalmic pharmaceutical company, today announced the appointment of Denis O'Shaughnessy, Ph.D., as senior vice president of clinical development. Dr. O'Shaughnessy was formerly the senior vice president of clinical development and a founding member of Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. His prior clinical experience includes clinical development and operations positions at major biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
"We are delighted to have recruited a drug development expert with the varied and highly relevant experience of Denis O'Shaughnessy," said Dale R. Pfost, Ph.D., president and CEO of Acuity. "Dr. O'Shaughnessy honed his clinical research expertise at leading global pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms before helping to found Eyetech, where he directed their successful global retinal disease clinical programs. As we prepare to move into later stage trials with our lead compound bevasiranib, this experience should be of tremendous value in ensuring that our clinical program is optimally designed and executed with the excellence and speed we are committed to achieving."
Dr. O'Shaughnessy brings Acuity a wide range of experience in drug development and clinical research. As senior vice president of clinical development at Eyetech, Dr. O'Shaughnessy was responsible for establishing and building clinical research, drug safety, regulatory affairs and data management departments for the company. He oversaw Eyetech's global clinical development programs for Macugen(R) in age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD), diabetic macular edema (DME) and other ophthalmology indications. Dr. O'Shaughnessy was responsible for initiating and completing the early stage clinical programs for Macugen in both wet AMD and DME, followed by an accelerated Phase II/III global registration program for wet AMD that was completed within a 3-year period.
"The opportunity to join Acuity, an ophthalmics pioneer in the clinical development of the revolutionary gene silencing technology of RNA interference, is ideal given my experience and interests," said Dr. O'Shaughnessy. "I believe that bevasiranib has the potential to represent an important advance in the treatment of wet AMD and DME, and I look forward to working with the Acuity team to progress the bevasiranib clinical program and to support the further development of the company's pipeline."
Previously, Dr. O'Shaughnessy was director of clinical operations and department head at Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. Earlier in his career, he held positions of increasing responsibility directing clinical research and operations at Cyanamid, Sandoz (Novartis), Xoma and Celltech. He subsequently pioneered the first pharmaceutical studies for retinal disease when he ran the alpha interferon program for wet AMD while at Hoffmann-La Roche in Europe. Dr. O'Shaughnessy has co-authored over 25 publications and is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. He was awarded a Ph.D. in physiology from the Royal Postgraduate Medical School and a B.S. degree from Queen Elizabeth College of London University.
About Acuity Pharmaceuticals
Founded in 2002, Acuity Pharmaceuticals is an ophthalmic pharmaceutical company applying proprietary technologies to the treatment and prevention of ophthalmic diseases. Acuity's lead clinical compound, bevasiranib, a small- interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutic targeting VEGF, is in clinical trials for two of the leading causes of adult vision loss. Acuity recently completed a Phase II trial of bevasiranib in age-related macular degeneration and is conducting a Phase II trial in diabetic macular edema. Acuity is applying its drug development expertise to a growing pipeline of novel agents for ophthalmic conditions. In support of these programs, Acuity is also developing proprietary technologies for ocular drug delivery. For more information, see www.acuitypharma.com.
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