The Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) announced that it has selected Benjamin Yerxa, a biotechnology and drug development executive, as its Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.
The Foundation Fighting Blindness is the world’s leading private funder and strategic champion of research on preventions, treatments and cures for inherited retinal diseases. It currently funds over 150 researchers at 61 locations worldwide.
“We are very excited to have Ben Yerxa as the foundation’s new CEO,” FFB chairman David Brint, said in a news release. “Research on cures for inherited retinal diseases has enjoyed significant breakthroughs in the last decade but there is more work to do. Ben has the skills and experience, particularly in the areas of drug development and partnerships between researchers, industry and venture capital, to help FFB complete its mission of eradicating blindness caused by gene mutations.”
Mr. Yerxa brings broad experience in translating research discoveries into clinical milestones and commercial products. In his most recent role as President and co-founder of Envisia Therapeutics, he led an organization focused on the development of novel ocular sustained delivery therapies for the front and back of the eye. He also has extensive pharmaceutical and scientific management experience having served as a co-founder and in other senior executive positions in several ophthalmology-based R&D organizations, including Liquidia Technologies, Clearside Biomedical, Parion Sciences, and Inspire Pharmaceuticals.
Mr. Yerxa holds 60 US patents and has worked in multiple other disease areas including pulmonary, cardiovascular and HIV.
“This is a really exciting time to be joining FFB, as the basic science around the mechanisms causing inherited retinal diseases is now ready for translation into new therapies,” says Mr. Yerxa. “I look forward to working with this tremendous community of supporters and researchers to help make breakthrough, sight saving therapies a reality.”
Mr. Yerxa was selected after an extensive national search. “FFB and its scientific advisors are excited to work with Dr. Yerxa as the new CEO,” Jacque Duncan, MD, chair of the FFB Scientific Advisory Board, said in the news release. “He brings a strong scientific understanding of pressing, unmet needs in medicine, along with a wealth of experience in drug development and management of biomedical enterprises. His innovative, entrepreneurial expertise will significantly strengthen FFB as we work to support research that will lead to therapies for patients affected with inherited retinal degenerations.”
FFB has been the unparalleled leader in supporting research on inherited retinal diseases for over 46 years. The Foundation’s Clinical Research Institute (CRI) is focused on accelerating the clinical development of new potential treatments.