Graybug Appoints Three New Members to its Board of Directors
REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Sept. 25, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Graybug Vision, Inc. (Nasdaq: GRAY), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing transformative medicines to treat chronic vision-threatening diseases of the retina and optic nerve, today announced the appointment of three new members to the company’s Board of Directors with immediate effect. Christina Ackermann will chair Graybug’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and serve as a member of its Compensation Committee. Eric Bjerkholt, MBA, will chair the company’s Compensation Committee and serve as a member of the Audit Committee. Julie Eastland, MBA, will chair the Audit Committee.
Ms. Ackermann, Mr. Bjerkholt and Ms. Eastland replace Emmett Cunningham, Jr., MD, PhD, Managing Director at Blackstone Lifesciences Group, Chau Q. Khuong, MPH, Partner at OrbiMed, and Cameron Wheeler, PhD, Partner at Deerfield, all of whom served on Graybug’s Board of Directors representing three of Graybug’s long-term private investors.
“With Graybug’s successful pricing of its initial public offering, we are entering into an exciting new phase of development for the company, and I welcome Christina, Eric and Julie to the Board,” said Christy Shaffer, PhD, Chair of Graybug’s Board of Directors. “I would like to thank Emmett, Chau and Cam for their significant contributions to the Board over the past several years.”
“I am excited to be working with our new board members. Thanks to their deep expertise and diverse experience as global leaders in health care and biotechnology, they will bring tremendous strategic and operational value as we pursue the development of our ophthalmic pipeline,” concluded Fred Guerard, PharmD, Chief Executive Officer, Graybug Vision.
Christina Ackermann has over 20 years of experience as General Counsel and Senior Executive in the pharmaceutical industry. She currently serves as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Head of Commercial Operations at Bausch Health Companies, Inc. She joined Bausch Health in 2016 as Executive Vice President, General Counsel responsible for the company’s worldwide legal affairs, compliance, global security and enterprise risk management, and was named Head of Commercial Operations in June 2020. Prior to that, Ms. Ackermann was part of the Novartis group of companies for 14 years. She served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel for Alcon, as Global Head, Legal and General Counsel for Sandoz, as well as Head Legal General Medicine and Head, Legal Technical Operations and Ophthalmics for Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Novartis, Ms. Ackermann served in various Associate General Counsel roles at Bristol Myers Squibb and DuPont Pharmaceuticals, as well as in private practice, where she focused on securities, and mergers & acquisitions. Ms. Ackermann attended York University, Toronto, Canada, for her undergraduate studies focusing first on Fine Arts, and then concentrating on mathematics and political sciences. She obtained her Law degree (an LL.B.) from Queen's University, Kingston, Canada, and earned her Post Graduate Diploma in EC Competition Law from King’s College, University of London, United Kingdom.
Eric Bjerkholt has more than three decades of health care and biotechnology leadership experience in finance and related functions, both as an executive at publicly traded and early-stage companies and as an investment banker. He currently is the Chief Financial Officer of Aimmune Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focusing on new treatments for potentially life-threatening food allergies. In this role, he oversees the finance, procurement, investor relations, business development and strategy, information technology and facilities functions. During his tenure at Aimmune, he has raised more than $600 million in equity offerings and a debt financing. Prior to joining Aimmune, Mr. Bjerkholt served as CFO at Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he oversaw business development and aspects of governance and corporate relations. Prior to Sunesis, he was CFO at IntraBiotics Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and LifeSpring Nutrition, Inc. He began his health care career at J.P. Morgan & Co. in New York as an investment banker and then launched the company’s Western US health care practice. He has served on the boards of directors of several publicly traded companies and currently is a board member of Cerus Corporation where he serves as Chair of the Audit Committee. Mr. Bjerkholt holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Oslo, Norway, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Julie Eastland is a seasoned strategic and financial executive with more than 25 years of experience in the public and private biotechnology industry. Prior to joining Graybug’s Board of Directors, she served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Business Officer of Rainier Therapeutics, a private biotechnology company focused on bladder cancer. Ms. Eastland also served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Business Officer of Cascadian Therapeutics, a publicly traded Nasdaq company, that developed tucatinib (TukysaTM) for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. During her tenure, she helped negotiate the sale of the company to Seattle Genetics, while the registration trial for tucatinib was ongoing. Prior to Cascadian, she served as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance and Operations of VLST Corporation, a privately-held biotechnology company. Ms. Eastland held various financial and strategic management positions at publicly-traded biotechnology companies, including Dendreon and Amgen, earlier in her career. She currently serves on the boards of Harpoon Therapeutics and Dynavax Technologies. Ms. Eastland received an MBA from Edinburgh University Management School, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Science in finance from Colorado State University.
Graybug is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing transformative medicines to treat chronic diseases of the retina and optic nerve. The company’s proprietary ocular delivery technologies are designed to maintain effective drug levels in ocular tissue for up to six months and potentially longer, improving patient compliance, reducing healthcare burdens and ultimately delivering better clinical outcomes. Graybug’s lead product candidate, GB-102, a microparticle depot formulation of sunitinib malate, inhibits multiple neovascular pathways for the intravitreal treatment of retinal diseases, including wet age-related macular degeneration, with a six-month dosing regimen. Graybug is also using its proprietary technologies to develop GB-401, an injectable depot formulation of a beta-adrenergic prodrug, for primary open-angle glaucoma, with a dosing regimen of once every six months or longer, and GB-103, a longer-acting version of GB-102, designed to maintain therapeutic drug levels in the retinal tissue for 12 months with a single injection. Founded in 2011 on the basis of technology licensed from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Graybug is headquartered in Redwood City, California. For more information, please visit www.graybug.vision.
Forward looking statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, but not limited to statements regarding the company’s operations as a public company, the company’s management and board of directors, and the timing and results of its clinical trials. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause the company’s actual activities or results to differ significantly from those expressed in any forward-looking statement, including risks and uncertainties described under the heading “Risk Factors” in documents the company files from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and the company undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof.