SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Acucela Inc. (TOKYO:4589) (“Acucela” or the “Company”), a clinical-stage biotechnology company that specializes in discovering and developing novel drug candidates to potentially treat and slow the progression of sight-threatening ophthalmic diseases, announced today that it has hired Dr. Lukas Scheibler as Executive Vice President of Translational Medicine.
Dr. Scheibler joins Acucela after a 13-year career in research and development, business development and clinical trial management at Novartis, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company. Dr. Scheibler worked since 2008 at Alcon, a division of Novartis and the world’s largest eye care company. He most recently was a Vice President in charge of Alcon’s Ideation and Technology Evaluation Center, the company’s center of excellence in charge of identifying novel technologies that address unmet needs in ophthalmology. Before that, he served as Alcon’s Vice President and Global Head of Clinical Trial Management.
At Acucela, Dr. Scheibler will manage the translation of pre-clinical research into clinical development. He will play a key role in the Company’s business development team, manage the Company’s new projects before proof of concept to provide key dimensions of study protocols and oversee the Company’s relationships with major academic sites and research institutions.
The Acucela Board of Directors appointed Dr. Scheibler as Executive Vice President of Translational Medicine, effective Aug. 17, 2015, at its Aug. 4 meeting in Seattle.
“Dr. Scheibler is one of the world’s leading experts in the research and development of treatments and cures for ophthalmic diseases,” said Ryo Kubota, MD, PhD, Chairman, President and CEO of Acucela Inc. “He brings an international and industry-leading pedigree that we welcome as Acucela works toward its goal of becoming an international leader in the treatment of debilitating eye diseases.”
Dr. Scheibler started work at Novartis headquarters in Switzerland in 2002 as Manager of Global Drug Regulatory Affairs. While he served as VP and Global Head of R&D Alliances at Alcon from 2008 to 2011, he played an important role as the company made several major acquisitions and deals, including the purchase of LenSx Lasers for up to US $744 million, ESBATech for up to US $589 million and a Research Agreement with AstraZeneca for exclusive access to the company’s ophthalmology compound library.
Dr. Scheibler received a Master’s degree in chemistry from University of Basel, Switzerland; a Ph.D. in chemistry from University of Lausanne, Switzerland; and his Postdoctoral Training from Harvard Medical School.
“This is such a promising and exciting time in Acucela’s growth as a leader in ophthalmology, and research and clinical development will be so critical to the company as it matures,” Dr. Scheibler said. “We will be on the lookout for new opportunities and new avenues to be an innovator in the treatment of eye diseases. I can’t wait to get started.”
About Acucela Inc.
Acucela Inc. (www.acucela.com or www.acucela.jp) is a clinical-stage biotechnology company that specializes in discovering and developing novel drug candidates to potentially treat and slow the progression of sight-threatening ophthalmic diseases, which could impact millions of individuals worldwide. Acucela currently has the following co-development agreements with Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.: emixustat hydrochloride, its lead investigational drug candidate for geographic atrophy associated with dry age-related macular degeneration based on Acucela’s proprietary visual cycle modulation technology; and OPA-6566, an investigational compound originating from Otsuka Pharmaceutical for the treatment of ocular hypertension and glaucoma.
Certain statements contained in this press release are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any statements contained in this press release that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Words such as “will,” “believe,” expect,” “intend,” “plan” and “should” as well as similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include Acucela’s expectations regarding corporate development activities and the ultimate success of the enterprise. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially from those projected in forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to the risk that our investigational product candidates will not demonstrate the expected benefits, the willingness of our collaboration partner to continue to co-develop our investigational product candidates, the risk of delays in our expected clinical trials, the risk that new developments in the intensely competitive ophthalmic pharmaceutical market require changes in our clinical trial plans or limit the potential benefits of our investigational product candidates, and other risks and uncertainties inherent in the process of discovering and developing therapeutics that demonstrate safety and efficacy. For a detailed discussion of these and other risk factors, please refer to the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), which are available on the Company’s investor relations Web site (http://ir.acucela.com/) and on the SEC’s Web site (http://www.sec.gov).