Greg Kunst has been named Chief Executive Officer of newly-launched Aurion Biotech, which is developing a differentiated platform of advanced therapies to treat ocular diseases. The company’s first candidate is a cell therapy for the treatment of corneal endothelial disease. Invented by ophthalmic surgeon and research scientist Professor Shigeru Kinoshita and his distinguished colleagues at Kyoto Prefecture University of Medicine (KPUM) in Japan, corneal endothelial cell therapy has demonstrated long-term efficacy in phase 2 and phase 3 studies in Japan.
“I am delighted to join Aurion Biotech because we have all the key ingredients for success—the best science, the best scientists and medical advisors, and the best backers,” Mr. Kunst said in a company news release. “Our lead candidate, in early research and phase 2 and phase 3 studies in Japan, has already demonstrated long-term, significant improvements in patients’ vision. I look forward to scaling up our team to pursue clinical development in the US and around the world, and to build a platform of transformational biotechnologies with the aim of restoring vision to all patients who need it.”
Before Aurion Biotech, Mr. Kunst spent 6 years at Glaukos Corporation, where he led the worldwide marketing, market access, reimbursement, health economics and outcomes research, government affairs, and business development teams. During his tenure at Glaukos, he launched four new products and led the development for multiple ophthalmology device, pharmaceuticals and biologics candidates targeting corneal, glaucoma, and retinal diseases. Before Glaukos, Mr. Kunst was global franchise director over the glaucoma surgery and retina pharmaceutical businesses at Alcon, a Novartis company. Before joining Alcon, he was the global head of market access at Kinetic Concepts (Acelity Inc.) Mr. Kunst is a member of the steering committee for the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at the University of California, Irvine. He holds an MBA from Vanderbilt University and a BS in Economics from Brigham Young University.
“Greg’s achievements and experience have prepared him well for the opportunity at Aurion Biotech,” said Tom Frinzi, board chair. “I quickly realized he is the right person at the right time to lead this team, and I couldn’t be more pleased to have him accelerate the company’s growth and success.”
“Having backed numerous successful technologies in ophthalmology, I know that great people are every bit as important as are great products,” said Bill Link, general partner at Flying L Ventures, and board member. “With Greg at the helm, I’m excited for Aurion Biotech and its very bright future.”