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Visus Therapeutics Announces Executive Leadership Appointments in Operations, Research, Clinical Operations and Intellectual Property

SEATTLE–()–Visus Therapeutics Inc., a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing innovative ophthalmic therapies to improve vision for people around the world, today announced the appointment of six new senior leaders including Tim Grinstead as Chief Operating Officer, James Burke as Vice President of Research, Patrick Hughes, Ph.D. as Vice President of Pharmaceutical Development, Lisa Simpson as Vice President of Clinical Operations and Compliance, Dr. Guru Sharma as Director of Ophthalmology and Clinical Development, and Alex Oh as Vice President of Intellectual Property.

“I am pleased to welcome these leaders who bring more than 130 years of cumulative experience in ophthalmics and pharmaceuticals to the Visus Therapeutics team,” said Ben Bergo, co-founder and chief executive officer at Visus Therapeutics. “As we approach important data readouts for our lead program in presbyopia, the expansion of our leadership team bolsters our capabilities across operations and research and development at a critical juncture. We are thrilled to continue to attract the most talented individuals in this industry who are aligned with our mission of improving patient lives by developing differentiated, best-in-class ophthalmic therapies.”

Tim Grinstead brings more than 25 years of pharmaceutical operations leadership to Visus Therapeutics including experience with approved products and late-stage clinical candidates. He has managed a diverse range of organizations that developed and manufactured biologics, solid oral dosage forms, semi-solids, sustained-release and modified release dosage forms, sterile injectables, long-acting injectables and liquid formulations. Tim was previously Vice President and General Manager for Alkermes, Inc. and Vice President of Manufacturing for Ophthotech (Iveric Bio), leading their biotech manufacturing that focused on late-stage clinical pipeline of injectable products for diseases of the eye.

James Burke, an industry leader, has been appointed to lead all pre-clinical development as Vice President of Research. He spent more than 30 years at Allergan, where he held numerous leadership roles in ophthalmic discovery and development programs including Alphagan® (brimonidine)1 and Durysta™ (bimatoprost SR),2 as well as programs for ocular neuroprotection, drug delivery, glaucoma and retinal disease. James is the co-inventor of intraocular biodegradable polymeric implants for lowering IOP, treating macular degeneration, improving vision, preventing retinal dysfunction, and treating ocular vasculopathies, and the use of subtype selective alpha-2 agonists for the treatment of chronic pain and the lowering of IOP without cardiovascular side effects. He is also the inventor of selective alpha-2 agonists in combination with subtype selective alpha-2 antagonists or Na+/H+ inhibitors for lowering IOP. James has authored or co-authored 25 patent families, culminating in a total of 83 U.S. and foreign patents.

Patrick Hughes, Ph.D. is the new Vice President of Pharmaceutical Development. Patrick will be responsible for providing CMC leadership to support the innovation, development and commercialization of pharmaceutical formulations and drug delivery systems. Prior to joining Visus Therapeutics, he was Vice President, Drug Delivery Innovation at Glaukos. Patrick and his team built the beginnings of a diverse retina pipeline at Glaukos as well as developed NCEs for ophthalmic indications. Prior to Glaukos, Patrick held positions of increasing responsibilities over a 22-year career at Allergan. At Allergan, Patrick was Vice President, Early Development and Drug Delivery Sciences, responsible for physical chemistry preformulations, early candidate formulation development, and developing novel drug delivery systems for small molecules and biologics. He has authored numerous manuscripts and book chapters on ocular pharmacokinetics and drug delivery. Patrick also co-edited an edition of Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews and has more than 30 U.S. patent families yielding over 100 U.S. and international patents.

Lisa Simpson is the company’s new Vice President of Clinical Operations and Compliance, bringing more than 25 years of experience in clinical research with a focus in ophthalmology. Lisa was recently Vice President of R&D Compliance for AbbVie and Allergan where she oversaw healthcare compliance policies, training and monitoring for all R&D functions and therapeutic areas including Ophthalmology, Gastroenterology, Central Nervous System, Medical Aesthetics, Women’s Health, and Anti-Infectives. Prior to that, she spent over 18 years in various roles within the ophthalmology clinical operations team at Allergan including the Head of Clinical Operations for Ophthalmology.

Dr. Guru Sharma brings more than 20 years of clinical research experience to his new role as Director of Ophthalmology and Clinical Development. Earlier in his research career, he was involved in corneal wound healing research at the LSU Eye Center where his original contributions to the advancement of the field received the highest citations worldwide. Shortly after finishing his Doctor of Optometry, he joined ReVision Optics as Senior Corneal Specialist to help develop corneal inlay for surgical treatment of presbyopia. During his tenure, Dr. Sharma made significant contributions to first-in-human, animal, and FDA clinical studies, as well as multiple R&D studies involving drug regimen optimization. Dr. Sharma most recently served as an ocular anatomy professor at the College of Optometry at Western University of Health Sciences.

Alex Oh has been appointed Vice President of Intellectual Property. With over a decade of experience in planning and executing IP and legal strategies in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical, chemical, and medical device industries, Alex will be responsible for developing and leading Visus Therapeutics’ global intellectual property strategy. Most recently, he served as Senior Counsel at Bristol Myers Squibb, where he formulated global IP strategy, managed patent procurement and portfolios, handled administrative proceedings, negotiated complex IP and corporate transactions, and oversaw external partnerships and collaborations. Alex has also served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Washington School of Law since 2011.

About Visus Therapeutics

Visus Therapeutics is a clinical-stage company focused on developing innovative ophthalmic therapies to improve vision for people around the world. With offices in Seattle and Orange County, Calif., its lead clinical candidate is BRIMOCHOL, an eye drop designed to correct the loss of near vision associated with presbyopia. In parallel, Visus Therapeutics is focused on advancing its pipeline of early-stage ophthalmic product candidates. For more information, visit: and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter (@VisusTx) and Instagram.


1 Alphagan® is a registered trademark of Allergan, an AbbVie company.

2 Durysta™ is a trademark of Allergan, an AbbVie company.


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