Opus Genetics announces two key leadership appointments

  • Dr Ash Jayagopal appointed Scientific Director
  • Mr. Joe Schachle appointed Chief Operating Officer

RALEIGH, NC, October 20, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Opus Genetics, a patient-centered gene therapy company that develops treatments for inherited orphan retinal diseases, today announced two key appointments within its founding management team. Ash Jayagopal, Ph.D., joined the company as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Joe Schachle joined as Chief Operating Officer (COO).

“We were delighted to launch Opus last month to advance an AAV-based gene therapy portfolio to treat neglected and orphan inherited retinal diseases, and we welcome Ash and Joe’s leadership at this important time and fundamental to society, ”said Ben Yerxa, Ph .D., CEO of Foundation Fighting Blindness and Retinal Degeneration Fund, and Interim CEO of Opus. “Ash’s career in discovering and developing therapies for eye disease makes him well suited for the role of Opus CSO, where he will be instrumental in advancing our initial OPGx-001 and OPGx- programs. 002 for Leber’s congenital amaurosis. Additionally, Joe brings extensive operational experience to his role as COO, particularly his expertise in strategic planning, business development and operations, which will be invaluable as we build our business and create a new orphan manufacturing scale and efficiency.

Dr Jayagopal has over 13 years of experience in drug development, drug delivery platforms, and biomarker development for retinal disease. Prior to joining Opus, Dr. Jayagopal was Executive Director of Discovery Medicine at Kodiak Sciences, where he led the Drug Discovery team and defined the strategy to leverage Kodiak’s biopolymer technology for the administration of large and small molecules in diseases of the retina. Previously, Dr. Jayagopal was responsible for molecular pharmacology and biomarkers in ophthalmology at Roche, where he assembled and led a team of over 25 scientists focused on the discovery and validation of biologics, small molecules and gene therapies. for eye diseases, including hereditary. retinal diseases. Dr Jayagopal has also served as an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Vanderbilt Eye Institute and in the Departments of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“Opus was formed to bring an unprecedented combination of resources, elite science and pioneering ocular gene therapy expertise to support and drive transformative treatments for patients,” said Dr. Jayagopal. “With its advanced pipeline – unique for a company at this stage – Opus has the potential to be at the clinical stage in the short term, and I look forward to working with the team to innovate in the search for better treatments for retinal diseases. hereditary.

Mr. Schachle brings over 30 years of life sciences experience to Opus, with specific expertise in strategic and operational planning, business development, marketing and sales, and business intelligence. Prior to joining Opus, Mr. Schachle was Vice President of Customer Experience Activation and Vice President of Global Business Services and Control at Grifols, where he led multiple business departments across multiple business units, managed key cross-divisional initiatives and led the brand’s strategic planning process. Previously, Mr. Schachle was COO of Parion Sciences and was part of the team that found partners for the company’s core programs, with transaction values ​​exceeding $ 1 billion. Mr. Schachle was also Chief Commercial Officer of Inspire Pharmaceuticals, where he oversaw several partnership agreements and promoted three eye care brands, including Restasis®. In addition, he held several sales and marketing leadership roles at GlaxoSmithKline, where he managed several billion dollar brands including Advair®, Imitrex®, Wellbutrin SR®, Epivir® / Retrovir® and Combivir® .

“Opus is designed by and for patients to effectively advance validated science to patients by leveraging manufacturing and scalable and strategic processes,” said Schachle. “I look forward to leading the work to operationalize this unique model to address the significant unmet needs in the treatment of orphan and neglected hereditary retinal diseases. “

Dr Jayagopal holds a doctorate. in Biomedical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. Mr. Schachle holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from James Madison University and an MBA from Old Dominion University.

About Opus Genetics
Opus Genetics is a revolutionary gene therapy company for inherited retinal diseases with a unique model and purpose. Backed by the venture capital arm of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, the RD Fund, Opus combines unparalleled insight and commitment to the needs of patients with wholly owned programs in many orphan retinal diseases. Its AAV-based gene therapy portfolio tackles some of the most neglected forms of inherited blindness while creating a new scale and efficiency of orphan manufacturing. Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, the company leverages the insights of top scientists and the expertise of pioneering ocular gene therapy to seamlessly drive transformative treatments for patients. For more information, visit www.opusgenetics.com.

Media contact:
Heather anderson
[email protected]

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