Clearside Biomedical announced that its board of directors has appointed biopharmaceutical executive George Lasezkay, Pharm.D., JD, to the position of interim Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Dr. Lasezkay, a current member of the Clearside Board of Directors, succeeds Daniel H. White, who resigned as President and CEO and as a member of the Board of Directors to pursue other opportunities. The board is initiating a search to identify a permanent CEO.
“We believe there is tremendous potential in our proprietary suprachoroidal space (SCS) injection platform, as evidenced by the acceptance of our new drug application (NDA) for XIPERE (triamcinolone acetonide ophthalmic suspension) for suprachoroidal injection. We want to thank Daniel for his visionary contributions, including licensing the original scientific technology, building our versatile therapeutic platform, leading our IPO and other financings, and hiring an experienced team to bring these important innovative products to market,” William Humphries, Chairman of the Clearside Board of Directors, said in a company news release.
“We are at an important stage in the evolution of our company, so we are pleased to have Dr. George Lasezkay serve as CEO on an interim basis as we conduct a search for our next CEO,” Mr. Humphries said. “George has broad expertise in ophthalmology established during his tenure at Allergan Inc., where he served on the company’s Executive Committee. With proven management experience and substantial industry knowledge, we believe George will help lead our team as we prepare for commercialization of our first product and look to leverage our unique platform through pipeline expansion and partnerships. We expect to benefit from his combination of clinical, legal, business development and executive expertise, and his diverse experience working with a number of emerging biopharmaceutical companies.”
For the past 15 years, Dr. Lasezkay has served as an independent director on the boards of a number of domestic and foreign emerging biopharmaceutical companies, including serving as a director of Clearside since August 2017.
Previously, Dr. Lasezkay served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Acucela Inc., a development stage company that specializes in identifying and developing novel ophthalmic therapeutics. For the 10 years prior to joining Acucela, he was President of Horizon Pharma Group, a private life sciences consultancy practice. Prior to Horizon, Dr. Lasezkay was Corporate Vice President for Corporate Development at Allergan. His 13 years of progressive experience at Allergan involved a number of executive leadership positions, including being a member of the company’s Executive Committee, Assistant General Counsel for Commercial Affairs, and General Counsel for the Asia-Pacific Region.
“We are excited about our suprachoroidal drug delivery platform and potential approval of our first agent for the treatment of macular edema associated with uveitis, which would be a significant milestone for Clearside,” Dr. Lasezkay said. “We also believe the platform has broad applicability in other eye diseases and continue to explore utilizing suprachoroidal administration with other small molecules and gene therapy. I am confident in the capabilities of the Clearside team and look forward to working with them to ensure the long-term success of XIPERE, prudently build our ophthalmic pipeline, and work with potential partners to leverage our platform and provide international reach.”