DURHAM, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AERI), an ophthalmic pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class therapies for the treatment of patients with open-angle glaucoma and other diseases of the eye, today announced the appointment of John LaRocca as General Counsel, reporting to Vicente Anido, Jr., Ph.D., Aerie’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. LaRocca will oversee all legal matters for the Company. He was previously Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Eagle Pharmaceuticals.
“We are delighted to have John LaRocca on our executive team. I am confident that John’s strong legal and compliance background will serve our Company very well as we prepare for our commercial launch of Rhopressa® in the second quarter of 2018 and continue to advance our pipeline and international reach,” said Vicente Anido, Jr., Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Aerie.
Mr. LaRocca added, “I believe Aerie is uniquely positioned as it continues to grow into a major ophthalmic pharmaceutical company. The Company is at a very exciting stage in its life cycle, and I look forward to contributing to the Company’s future success.”
In connection with his acceptance of the position as General Counsel of the Company, Mr. LaRocca will receive awards totaling 70,000 stock options and 18,000 shares of restricted stock. The stock options will vest over 4 years, with 25% vesting on the first anniversary of the hire date and the remainder vesting ratably on each of the subsequent 36 monthly anniversaries of the hire date; the restricted stock will vest over a period of 4 years in four equal annual installments on each anniversary of the hire date. This award was made outside of Aerie’s stockholder-approved equity incentive plan and was approved by the Company’s independent directors as an inducement material to Mr. LaRocca entering into employment with the Company in reliance on NASDAQ Listing Rule 5635(c)(4), which requires this public announcement.
About Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Aerie is an ophthalmic pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class therapies for the treatment of patients with open-angle glaucoma and other diseases of the eye. Aerie's first product, Rhopressa® (netarsudil ophthalmic solution) 0.02%, for the reduction of elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2017. A link to the full product label is available on the Aerie website at http://investors.aeriepharma.com. Aerie’s second product candidate, RoclatanTM (netarsudil/latanoprost ophthalmic solution) 0.02%/0.005%, which is a fixed dose combination of Rhopressa® and widely prescribed PGA latanoprost, achieved its primary efficacy endpoint in two Phase 3 registration trials, named Mercury 1 and Mercury 2, and also achieved successful 12-month safety and efficacy results in Mercury 1. The RoclatanTM NDA submission is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2018. Aerie is also focused on global expansion and the development of additional product candidates and technologies in ophthalmology.
This press release contains forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We may, in some cases, use terms such as “predicts,” “believes,” “potential,” “proposed,” “continue,” “estimates,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “may,” “could,” “might,” “will,” “should,” “exploring,” “pursuing” or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding our intentions, beliefs, projections, outlook, analyses or current expectations concerning, among other things: our expectations regarding the commercialization and manufacturing of Rhopressa® and our current or any future product candidates, including the timing, cost or other aspects of the commercial launch of Rhopressa® and our current or any future product candidates; our commercialization, marketing, manufacturing and supply management capabilities and strategies; the success, timing and cost of our ongoing and anticipated preclinical studies and clinical trials for Rhopressa®, with respect to foreign approval or additional indications, and our current or any future product candidates, including statements regarding the timing of initiation and completion of the studies and trials; our expectations regarding the clinical effectiveness of our current or any future product candidates and results of our clinical trials; the timing of and our ability to request, obtain and maintain FDA or other regulatory authority approval of, or other action with respect to, as applicable, Rhopressa® and our current or any future product candidates, including the expected timing of, and timing of regulatory and/or other review of, filings for, as applicable, Rhopressa® and our current or any future product candidates; the potential advantages of Rhopressa® and our current or any future product candidates; our plans to pursue development of additional product candidates and technologies in ophthalmology, including development of Rhopressa® and RoclatanTM for additional indications and other therapeutic opportunities; our plans to explore possible uses of our existing proprietary compounds beyond glaucoma; our ability to protect our proprietary technology and enforce our intellectual property rights; and our expectations regarding strategic operations, including our ability to in-license or acquire additional ophthalmic products, product candidates or technologies. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties because they relate to events, competitive dynamics, industry change and other factors beyond our control, and depend on regulatory approvals and economic and other environmental circumstances that may or may not occur in the future or may occur on longer or shorter timelines than anticipated. We discuss many of these risks in greater detail under the heading “Risk Factors” in the quarterly and annual reports that we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In particular, FDA approval of Rhopressa® does not constitute FDA approval of RoclatanTM, and there can be no assurance that we will receive FDA approval for RoclatanTM or any future product candidates. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and our actual results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, and the development of the industry in which we operate may differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. Any forward-looking statements that we make in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release. We assume no obligation to update our forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this press release.