Ming has over 10 years of experience in the field of biomaterials and drug delivery, including the development of novel polymer-based drug delivery systems for ophthalmic indications. He received a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Dr. Justin Hanes, and he gained ocular drug delivery expertise during his tenure at Genentech. Ming received an MS in Bioengineering from Pennsylvania State University and a BE in Materials Science and Engineering from Tsinghua University, China.
Christy Shaffer, PhD
Gerald D. Cagle, PhD
Emmett Cunningham, Jr., MD, PhD, MPH
Justin Hanes, PhD
Chau Q. Khuong, MPH
Cameron Wheeler, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
Fred is an experienced pharmaceutical executive with leadership, strategic and commercial experience spanning more than two decades. He served in key leadership roles at Novartis, where most recently he was Worldwide Business Franchise Head of Ophthalmology. During his tenure at Novartis, he held multiple leadership positions, including Global Franchise Head of Pharmaceuticals at Alcon, Country Head of United Kingdom and Ireland, Country Head and President of Australia and New Zealand, Head of Marketing and Sales for Emerging Growth Markets Region, Country Head and President of Egypt, and Cluster Head of North and West Africa. Mr. Guerard holds a PharmD and a Master of Biological and Medical Sciences from the University of Rouen, France and a Master of Marketing from HEC Paris.
Christy Shaffer, PhD
With over 20 years of experience in the life science industry, Christy is a seasoned entrepreneur and biotech executive. Following her career as a clinical scientist, international project leader and Associate Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Burroughs Wellcome Co., she joined Inspire Pharmaceuticals in 1995 as the first, full-time employee. She was responsible for raising over $300 million in capital for the company, including taking the company public in 2000. As President and CEO, Christy grew the company from 20 scientists to nearly 250 employees with revenues of over $100 million. Under her leadership, Inspire was named as “Best Place to Work for Scientists” by the Scientist magazine, and “Best Place to Work in North Carolina.” Christy retired from Inspire in March, 2010 and the company was acquired by Merck in 2011. In addition to being the Chair at Graybug Vision, Christy is currently the Managing Director of Hatteras Discovery and serves on three other Hatteras portfolio company boards: Clearside Biomedical, G1 Therapeutics and Kinodyn. Christy is a receptor pharmacologist by training, earning her PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in 1985. She received her post-doctoral training at the Chicago Medical School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Gerald D. Cagle, PhD
Jerry is an experienced pharmaceutical executive with managerial, technical and business experience spanning more than three decades. He served in key leadership roles at Alcon, the world’s largest eye care company. Starting as a senior scientist in microbiology, he held several positions of increasing responsibility at Alcon, including Vice President of Product Development and Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. During his last 13 years at Alcon, he was Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer. While at Alcon, Jerry was a regular contributor to new drug applications (NDAs) and premarket approvals (PMAs), holds approximately 20 issued patents and has authored a number of publications in the field.
Charles P. Semba, MD, FACC, FACR
Chief Medical Officer
Charles has 17 years of clinical drug development experience in retina, ocular surface disease, and glaucoma. He held senior leadership positions at Genentech, Shire, SARcode Bioscience, ForSight VISION5, and Stanford University. At Genentech, he led the clinical development of Lucentis® that resulted in approvals for wet age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema, retinal vein occlusion and directed programs for Activase®, Cathflo Activase®, TNKase®, Lucentis®, Rituximab® [immunology], and Nutropin AQ® . He served as Chief Medical Officer at SARcode and Vice President, Clinical Medicine (Ophthalmology) at Shire and led the development of Xiidra® , the first drug to treat signs and symptoms of dry eye disease; SARcode was acquired by Shire in 2013. Most recently, he was Chief Medical Officer at ForSight VISION5, a clinical stage company focused on sustained-release drug delivery for glaucoma; ForSight was acquired by Allergan in 2016. Charles received his BA, cum laude, in chemistry at Carleton College; MD from the University of Minnesota; radiology residency at the University of California, San Diego; and fellowship in endovascular surgery/interventional radiology from the Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute. He remains an Adjunct Professor of Interventional Radiology at Stanford and has over 100 scientific publications and 25 book chapters, and has received scientific awards in both ophthalmology and radiology.
Chief Financial Officer
Ms. Wapnick joins Graybug Vision with over 30 years of finance and operations experience. She was previously at True North Therapeutics, where she was Chief Financial Officer from 2016 to 2017 through the successful completion of a Series D financing and subsequent sale to a third party acquirer. Prior to True North, she held multiple senior financial management roles at Amgen Corporation, including Vice President of Finance for Research and Development, where she held corporate finance responsibility for Amgen’s global R&D activities, and was also Vice President and Treasurer of Amgen, where she held responsibility for global capital planning, capital markets and banking activities. Prior to Amgen, she held senior financial management positions in the automotive industry. Ms. Wapnick holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in economics from Wellesley College and an MBA in finance from Columbia Business School.
Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Salain brings to the team over 28 years of global pharmaceutical experience in manufacturing, supply chain management, strategic sourcing, distribution, quality, operations and business development. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Technical Operations at Ophthotech Corporation and also held the role Global Head of Manufacturing & Supply Chain and Senior Vice President. During the course of his extensive career, he has participated in the successful launch and introduction of over 30 global products including Zenpep®, Lamictal®, Amrix®, Canasa® and Metadate CD®. He has served as Vice President, Global Supply Chain and Manufacturing at Aptalis Pharma where he built a supply chain team and managed manufacturing sites in Italy, France, Canada and the US. Prior to joining Aptalis, he served as the Vice President of Operations at Eurand where he led several technology and licensing deals in addition to running the operations team. Mr. Salain holds a Bachelors of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Indianapolis.
Rajendra Mohabir, PhD
VP, Product Development & Alliance Management
Dr. Mohabir brings over 25 years of industry experience in research and drug development to Graybug Vision. He has previously held senior positions at Syntex Discovery Research, Roche, Genentech, and Amgen. He has provided leadership to many product development teams primarily in the areas of cardiovascular and oncology, and also lower urinary tract disorders, chronic pain and respiratory disorders. Dr. Mohabir has provided product development leadership for several currently marketed products, including Pulmozyme®, TNKase®/Activase®, Aranesp®, and Neupogen®/Neulasta®. He also has experience working at smaller biotech companies, including LoneStar Heart as Vice President of Regenerative Therapies and at Versartis, where he was Vice President of Product Development and Alliance Management, where he led the product development team for a long-acting growth hormone, Somavaratan, from Phase 1b to Phase 3 clinical trials. Dr. Mohabir received his Bachelors of Science degree in Microbiology and Immunology from McGill University, and his PhD in Pharmacology from Dalhousie University. He completed his post-doctoral work in Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Valerie Smith, MBA
VP, Global Clinical Development Operations
Valerie brings more than 20 years of drug development experience in Clinical Operations and Project Management and has held leadership roles at Amgen, Genentech, Onyx, Shire, SARcode Bioscience, BioMarin, Solvay, and VaxGen. In her prior roles at Genentech, SARcode, and Shire, she was integral to the successful clinical operations of the major proof-of-concept and pivotal studies that led to the submission and approval of two major breakthrough ophthalmic drugs: Lucentis® for wet age-related macular degeneration and Xiidra® for treatment of signs and symptoms of dry eye disease. Valerie began her career at Solvay Pharmaceuticals and subsequently at Quintiles, Inc., and has been involved in research and development on investigational products in endocrinology, gastroenterology, psychiatry, neurology, pain, vaccines, orphan diseases, hematology, oncology, and cardiology. She received a BS degree in Psychology from Georgia Southern University and an MBA degree from Kennesaw State University.
Karl G. Trass
VP, Global Regulatory Affairs
Mr. Trass has more than 24 years of experience in providing global regulatory strategic leadership in both biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies across numerous therapeutic areas including neurology, hepatology, endocrinology, rheumatology, virology, and oncology. Before joining GrayBug, he served as Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at Alkahest; and Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at Tobira Therapeutics prior to its acquisition by Allergan. Mr. Trass was also Vice President, Global Regulatory Affairs at Versartis, Inc. He has also served as Director, Global Product Strategy at AbbVie working on new chemical entities from pre-clinical to Phase 3 including new indications for Humira®. Prior to joining AbbVie, Mr. Trass served as Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at Limerick, and Vice President, Regulatory Affairs & Quality Assurance at Neurobiological Technologies, Inc. Earlier in his career, he held regulatory positions at several other leading biopharmaceutical companies including Sangamo Biosciences, Gilead Sciences, Tularik, and Syntex. At Genentech, he managed the global Phase 3 program and supervised the BLA filing, review, and FDA approval of HERCEPTIN®. Mr. Trass received his BA in Chemistry from Indiana University.
Jinzhong (JZ) Zhang, PhD, RAC
VP, Preclinical Development
JZ brings over 20 years of experience in research and drug development, including more than a decade working at two global ophthalmic pharmaceutical companies. Most recently, Dr. Zhang was the Senior Director of Preclinical Development and General Manager of Global Pharmacology at Santen Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Prior to his tenure at Santen, Dr. Zhang was Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and the Principal Investigator of a NIH-NEI grant at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and Director of Preclinical Pharmacology and Head of Vision Care Preclinical Research at Bausch + Lomb, Inc.
Dr. Zhang received his BS in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, MS in Cell Biology, and PhD in Molecular Biology from Peking University. He conducted his PhD research at Kyoto University and postdoctoral fellowship at Kyoto University and McGill University. Dr. Zhang has authored more than 50 scientific articles as well as a book, and holds several issued patents. He is involved in the successful development, regulatory submission, and approval of several ophthalmic products.
Ming Yang, PhD
VP, Research & Development
Emmett Cunningham, Jr., MD, PhD, MPH
Emmett is a Senior Managing Director in the Blackstone Life Sciences group, which acquired Clarus in December of 2018. He joined Clarus in 2006 as a Principal with more than 20 years of experience in the biomedical and biopharmaceutical sectors. Prior to joining Clarus, he was the Senior Vice President, Medical Strategy at Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, where he helped build and lead the team that developed and commercialized Macugen®, a first-in-class product for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. Prior to Eyetech, Emmett was at Pfizer, where he was responsible for the clinical development of early phase central nervous system compounds and the in-licensing of early and late-stage therapeutic candidates in ophthalmology. Emmett founded and is the Chairman of the Ophthalmology Innovation Summit (OIS), a well-attended symposium held in conjunction with the annual meetings of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Annexon Biosciences, Restoration Robotics, and SFJ Pharmaceuticals Group; is a Board observer on Avillion and Lumos Pharma; and is on the Scientific Advisory Board of Aerie Pharmaceuticals.
Justin Hanes, PhD
Justin is the Lewis J. Ort Professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he holds joint appointments as Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Environmental Health Sciences, Neurosurgery, and Oncology. His degrees are in Chemical Engineering from UCLA (BS) and MIT (PhD), and he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Oncology and Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins prior to beginning his faculty position in 1998. Justin directs the Center for Nanomedicine at the Wilmer Eye Institute, where he oversees a large group focused on developing methods to improve the effectiveness of drug therapies for a variety of diseases, including those that affect vision. He currently serves as the Principle Investigator on numerous grants from the NIH and other agencies. He is an inventor named on numerous patents, and a few companies have been launched based on these inventions. He also serves at the Chairperson of the Gene and Drug Delivery study section of the NIH, on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Controlled Release Society, and on the editorial board for several scientific journals focused in the areas of biomaterials and drug delivery.
Chau Q. Khuong, MPH
Chau is a Private Equity Partner at OrbiMed. He joined OrbiMed in 2003. He has experience in start-up operations and business development at Veritas Medicine, Inc. and in basic science research at the Yale School of Medicine and at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was a summer Associate in the New Ventures technology transfer group at Columbia University. Chau holds a BS in molecular, cellular and developmental biology with a concentration in biotechnology and an MPH with a concentration in infectious disease, both from Yale University.