MALVERN, PA, June 19, 2017 – Ocugen, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing treatments for sight-threatening diseases, today announced key management and board appointments to support the Company’s current and anticipated growth. Effective immediately, the Company has appointed Dr. Daniel Jorgensen as chief medical officer and Dr. Rasappa Arumugham as vice president, research and development. Also, Mr. Charlie Kang, who has been serving on the executive management team will assume the role of chief financial officer (CFO), effective immediately.
The Ocugen Board of Directors has also elected Mr. Frank Leo, Mr. Manish Potti, and Dr. Suha Taspolatoglu, three seasoned industry veterans, as directors to the Company’s board. These moves represent the progress of the Company and its commitment to ensuring the advancement of ophthalmology products for patients in need of sight-saving treatments.
“We are very pleased to welcome Daniel and Rasappa to the Ocugen team as our CMO and VP of R&D, respectively. Their diverse experiences across an array of therapeutic areas and treatments, spanning all stages of development, regulatory and commercialization, make them valued additions to our management team,” stated Dr. Shankar Musunuri, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Ocugen. “We are also pleased with the addition of Frank, Manish and Suha to our board. All three have a proven track record and are very accomplished in their respective fields. Their knowledge and expertise will be great assets to our board as we rapidly advance our programs toward commercialization.”
Specifics pertaining to each of the appointments include:
Daniel Jorgensen, MD, MPH, MBA – Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Jorgensen is an accomplished physician executive with approximately 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, in both small and large companies, including 10 years at Pfizer. He has comprehensive research, development, and commercialization experience for small molecules, biologics/vaccines, and devices, across multiple therapeutic areas, particularly infectious diseases and immunology/inflammation. Prior to joining the industry, Dr. Jorgensen was an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Jorgensen received his undergraduate degree from Yale, his MD from the University of Wisconsin, his MPH from the University of Washington, and his MBA from Yale. He is board-certified in pediatrics, infectious diseases, and preventive medicine.
Rasappa Arumugham, PhD – Vice President, Research and Development
Dr. Arumugham has over 30 years of diverse experience in leading biopharmaceutical research and development covering areas of discovery and pre-clinical research, formulation, analytical development, quality control, technology transfer and manufacturing. Previously, he served as the Head of Microbial Analytics at Merck’s Manufacturing Division. Prior to joining Merck, Dr. Arumugham spent 25 years in various biologics/vaccines research and development positions of increasing responsibilities at Pfizer and Wyeth. Dr. Arumugham earned his PhD and MSc in Biochemistry and BSC in Chemistry from the University of Madras, India.
Frank N. Leo – Director
Mr. Leo is a consultant specializing in the pharmaceutical industry and private equity with over 30 years of experience in healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Mr. Leo served as President and Group President of Sterile Technologies and Life Sciences at Cardinal Health. He joined Cardinal Health following its acquisition of the sterile pharmaceutical contract manufacturing company Automatic Liquid Packaging (ALP), where he held various senior level positions including Chief Operating Officer during his 16-year career. Mr. Leo served as a Board Member of Rx Elite, Monogen, GeneraMedix, ioGenetics and Capsugel SA. Lonza Group AG has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Capsugel from KKR & Co. for $5.5B. Mr. Leo is a serial entrepreneur having been involved in business value creation and start-ups in the sterile drug, biotechnology and healthcare technology spaces.
Manish Potti – Director
Mr. Potti is Co-Founder and President of Innogenix Pharma, a generic pharmaceutical R&D and manufacturing company focused on solid oral dosage formulations, based in Long Island, New York. He was previously Director of Business Development at Epic Pharma, a generic pharmaceutical company and CMO, purchased by Humanwell Healthcare Group for $550M. Prior to his experience in pharmaceuticals, Mr. Potti spent several years in finance as an analyst and trader, working in investment banking and hedge funds. Mr. Potti holds a BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology from The Johns Hopkins University, and MS in Financial Engineering from New York University.
Suha Taspolatoglu, MD – Director
Dr. Taspolatoglu is the chief executive officer of the 105 years old Abdi Ibrahim Ilac Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S., a market leader of the pharmaceutical sector in Turkey for nearly two decades. Dr. Taspolatoglu joined Abdi Ibrahim as the head of sales and marketing division in 2001 and became managing director of sales and marketing division six short years later. Prior to Abdi Ibrahim, he worked as the General Manager of Roche Turkey. Dr. Taspolatoglu, is a graduate of Ankara University Faculty of Medicine and served three years as a physician in the Ministry of Health.
Ocugen has a broad pipeline which includes both clinical stage and pre-clinical programs addressing large areas of unmet medical need. The Company’s programs are focused on activating novel biologic pathways to treat inflammatory, degenerative, and neovascular diseases of the eye and are designed to deliver value over the near, mid and long-term.
About Ocugen, Inc.
Ocugen is advancing two novel biologicals and a marketed drug product as a re-purposed drug under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 505(b)(2) regulatory pathway to treat sight threatening ocular disorders. OCU100 is a recombinant form of lens epithelium derived growth factor. It received orphan-drug status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a rare eye disease. Its second asset, OCU200, is an anti- angiogenic tumstatin fusion protein being developed for treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). OCU300 is being developed through the FDA’s 505(b)(2) pathway for the treatment of ocular graft versus host disease (oGVHD).
Michael Parks, Pitch360