Oxular Limited announced it has appointed Friedrich (Fritz) Asmus, MD, as Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Asmus will lead all medical, clinical, and regulatory functions to further the company’s lead asset, OXU‑001, for the treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME), and to accelerate the development of its early-product pipeline.
Dr. Asmus is a board-certified neurologist and pharmacist and, for more than 10 years, has headed clinical development programs in the US, Europe, and Asia. Dr. Asmus was a key strategic leader in the successful development of alfibercept and other ophthalmic therapies at Bayer Pharma, including indications for DME, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal vein occlusions. He also led development activities for rare ophthalmic diseases at ProQR Therapeutics and jCyte, where he headed the intravitreal oligonucleotide program for genetic forms of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and clinical development for an intravitreal cell therapy program for RP, respectively. Dr. Asmus holds a private lectureship for Neurology at the University Hospital of Tuebingen, Germany, where he was also Deputy Chair of the Department of General Neurology. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles in ophthalmology and neurology.
Prof. Marc D. de Smet, who has served as Oxular’s Chief Medical Officer in a part time capacity alongside his private clinical practice, will continue working with the company as Senior Medical Advisor, bringing his retinal expertise to the ongoing development of the company’s programs and technology.
Dr. Asmus appointment follows Oxular’s successful completion of a $37 million financing in March 2021 and is a significant milestone in building the Oxular team to support future clinical trials and expanded R&D activities. Dr. Asmus joins as Oxular prepares to initiate human clinical trials for its lead asset, OXU-001, an extended-duration treatment for DME.
“We are pleased to have Fritz join our leadership team, especially at this critical time when we are readying OXU‑001 to begin human clinical studies and accelerating further the development of our highly differentiated product pipeline,” Thomas Cavanagh, Chief Executive Officer of Oxular, said in a company news release. “Fritz’s depth of knowledge and experience in back-of-eye therapies will be highly advantageous in delivering on our pipeline’s promise of effective and longer-lasting treatments that offer patients truly life-changing solutions to their unmet needs.
“I’d like to acknowledge and thank Prof. de Smet for his incredible work over the last 3 years. The company would not have advanced this far without his advice and expertise, and I look forward to continuing to work with Marc as the company’s programs begin human clinical trials and as we expand use of Oxulumis (suprachoroidal space, illuminated microcatheter) to deliver important treatments for sight threatening diseases.”
“I have been really impressed with the work scientists at Oxular have delivered in supporting an expanded role of drug delivery to the suprachoroidal space,” Dr. Asmus said. “It is a great privilege to be part of Oxular’s team, driving outstanding innovation to establish an entire product platform of suprachoroidal therapies for areas of high unmet patient need in common and ultra-rare ophthalmic indications.”