SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Leo Lens Pharma, an emerging San Diego-based pharmaceutical company focused on helping protect sight, announces the expansion of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) that now comprises seven world-class eye care professionals, including three ophthalmologists and four optometrists. Leo Lens expanded its SAB with four eye care practitioners who are highly experienced in the glaucoma field as the company prepares for its first human clinical trial with its lead asset to treat glaucoma and ocular hypertension.
The expanded SAB will provide independent scientific review and guidance to the Company with regards to its R&D activities and product pipeline. The group will also advise Leo Lens on matters related to the eye care marketplace and to the path to commercialization. This includes advice on the company’s lead glaucoma asset as well as on its portfolio of products for dry eye, allergy, and other anterior segment conditions.
“We are privileged to be able to collaborate with three ophthalmologists and four optometrists who are so knowledgeable and experienced in how to best care for their patients’ vision care needs,” commented Dan Myers, CEO of Leo Lens Pharma. “As we prepare to take our lead asset, LL-BMT1, to the clinic and then on to the market, our SAB advisors will add tremendous value to our enterprise’s direction and success,” he added.
The members of Leo Lens Pharma’s SAB are (alphabetized by first names):
Constance Okeke, MD, MSCE – Dr. Okeke is an Ivy League-trained, board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in glaucoma and cataract surgery. She serves as the lead glaucoma specialist at Virginia Eye Consultants, and is also an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA. She has two decades of glaucoma experience ranging from cutting edge research, mastering micro-invasive surgical techniques, to training other doctors, speaking, and writing about her techniques and innovative ideas, such as in her book, “The Building Blocks of Trabectome Surgery: A Step-by-Step Approach for Patient Selection” or through videos on her iGlaucoma YouTube Channel. Dr. Okeke serves on several glaucoma-related publications’ editorial advisory boards, has extensive clinical research experience has published extensively on glaucoma in professional literature, is a reviewer for many professional journals and has passionately prevented blindness through medical missions, glaucoma awareness campaigns and public speaking.
Houman Hemmati, MD, PhD – Dr. Hemmati is a board-certified ophthalmologist and Harvard-trained cornea specialist and has been Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at USC Keck School of Medicine and Attending Physician at LA County USC Medical Center. He also previously served as Director, Clinical Development at Allergan in the Ophthalmology Therapeutic Area, as Clinical Scientist on several Phase 1, 2, and 3 studies. In his scientific career, he invented a hydrogel for sustained-release topical drug delivery to the eye with Dr. Robert Langer at MIT.
Ian Benjamin Gaddie, OD, FAAO – Dr. Gaddie, in 2015, was selected as one of the Most Influential in Optometry by Optometric Management, named a "Leader in Sight" by Bausch & Lomb, and was awarded the Kentucky Optometric Association Optometrist of The Year Award. Currently, he is the director of Gaddie Eye Centers, a multi-location full-service practice in Louisville. He Co-Founded Keplr Vision, a Private Equity backed consolidation company in eyecare with over 170 locations in 29 states, where he serves as Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Gaddie is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and Executive Vice President of the Optometric Glaucoma Society (OGS). He is currently the Co-Chairman of the International Vision Expo Meetings, the largest provider of continuing education for eye doctors. Dr. Gaddie serves on the editorial boards of Review of Optometry, Optometric Management, Primary Care Optometry News, and Optometry Times.
Jo Ann Giaconi, MD – Dr. Giaconi is faculty in the Glaucoma Division at the Stein Eye Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, where she actively practices and operates on patients with glaucoma and cataracts. She holds the title of Health Sciences Professor of Ophthalmology. She also serves as Chief of Ophthalmology for the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Administration—a major teaching site for residents and fellows of the Stein Eye Institute and medical students from the David Geffen School of Medicine and Charles Drew School of Medicine. Dr. Giaconi has published over 40 research papers with colleagues in the areas of glaucoma and in medical education. Dr. Giaconi has served in various leadership roles for the American Glaucoma Society (AGS), the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology (AUPO), Women in Ophthalmology (WIO), California Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons (CAEPS), and serves as a Diplomate for the American Board of Ophthalmology.
Mark Dunbar, OD, FAAO – Dr. Dunbar graduated from the Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University in 1986 and went on to complete a Fellowship in Ocular Disease at the Omni Eye Services of Lexington, Kentucky. He has been on staff at the University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute for over 30 years and currently serves as Director of Optometric Services. Dr. Dunbar is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and a founding member of the Optometric Glaucoma Society and the Optometric Retina Society. He also serves on the Editorial Board for Review of Optometry.
Robert Davis, OD, FAAO – Dr. Davis is the medical director at the Contact Lens Clinic at Davis EyeCare. He is also co-founder of EyeVis, Eye and Vision Research Institute developing novel contact lens designs as well as forging the knowledge of anterior segment pathophysiology. Dr. Davis has been recognized as a Diplomate in the Corneal, Contact Lens and Refractive Technology section of the American Academy of Optometry as well as an inductee in National Academy Practice in Optometry. He is an adjunct faculty member at Southern California College of Optometry - Marshall B. Ketchum University, Illinois College of Optometry, Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University, and Pacific University. He has held leadership roles in the American Optometric Association, American Academy of Optometry, National Academy of Practice, and other professional organizations. Dr. Davis was also honored as one of the 50 Most Influential in Optometry in 2015.
Walter Whitley, OD, MBA, FAAO – Dr. Whitley is the Director of Referral Services at Virginia Eye Consultants in Norfolk, VA. He received his optometry degree from Pacific University College of Optometry, completed an optometric residency at Eye Care Associates of Nevada, and received his MBA from University of Nevada, Reno. Currently, Dr. Whitley serves as the Chair of the American Academy of Optometry Anterior Segment Section, co-chief medical editor of Collaborative Eye, and Contributing Editor for the Review of Optometry. Over the past decade, Dr. Whitley has been involved in over two dozen clinical trials in pharmaceutical development and ophthalmic devices. In 2020, he was voted the Optometrist of the Year by the Virginia Optometric Association.
About Leo Lens Pharma
Leo Lens Pharma (Leo Lens) is an emerging San Diego-based pharmaceutical company focused on helping protect sight by developing and commercializing a proprietary continuous ocular drug delivery portfolio. The Company is currently advancing its lead asset, a unique and complete glaucoma treatment, to the clinic while continuing to build out its product portfolio for dry eye, allergy, and other anterior segment conditions. Using its proprietary MediPrint™ process, Leo Lens will initially commercialize a drug-eluting, comfort-enhancing contact lens to treat millions of glaucoma patients worldwide. While eye drops have been around for over 40 years and remain the standard of care for over 90% of patients, they have only around a 50% compliance rate. This leads millions to suffer from disease progression and thousands to suffer from preventable blindness. There is a large unmet need for a better non-invasive treatment option in this $4B U.S. market. Leo Lens’ patented MediPrint™ process offers a unique value proposition for patients, practitioners, strategic partners, and payers.
For more information please visit www.leolens.com.