Azura Ophthalmics Announces Formation of Scientific Advisory Board (SAB)
TEL AVIV, Israel & MELBOURNE, Australia, September 21, 2022 – Azura Ophthalmics Ltd., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a new therapeutic class of Ophthalmic Keratolytics for ocular surface diseases, today announced the formation of its scientific advisory board (SAB), comprised of leading academic and industry innovators. Bringing decades of expertise across ophthalmology, the SAB members will collaborate closely with the Azura team to support the company’s clinical development and advance the company’s pipeline to address the full spectrum of lid margin and ocular surface diseases.
“At Azura we believe our highly differentiated approach positions us to deliver a first-in-class therapeutic that goes beyond symptom management and resolves the root cause of ocular surface diseases,” said Marc Gleeson, CEO of Azura Ophthalmics. “We are thrilled to see our vision backed by such an esteemed group of leaders in ophthalmology who will undoubtedly serve as an invaluable resource as we advance our lead product candidate, AZR-MD-001, for the potential treatment of underserved ocular indications. Each member of Azura’s scientific advisory board is equipped with an unmatched wealth of knowledge in ophthalmology and we look forward to partnering with them to progress our robust clinical development pipeline forward.”
Founding members of Azura’s SAB include:
- Eric D. Donnenfeld, M.D. is a trustee of Dartmouth Medical School and a Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at NYU. He is the founding partner of Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island, one of the largest practices in the United States. Dr. Donnenfeld serves as a Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and as Surgical Director of the Lions Eye Bank for Long Island. In addition, he is the Editor-in-Chief of EyeWorld and Editor-in-Chief emeritus of Cataract and Refractive Surgery Today and has authored three books, 60 book chapters and over 215 peer-reviewed papers on cornea, external disease, cataract, and refractive surgery. Dr. Donnenfeld is on the editorial board of nine journals and has participated in over 60 FDA trials.
- John A. Hovanesian, M.D. is a board-certified ophthalmologist and faculty member at the UCLA Stein Eye Institute. As an internationally recognized leader in cataract, corneal and laser eye surgery, he has published two widely used eye surgery textbooks, has authored dozens of peer-reviewed articles, and has produced many frequently referenced surgical teaching videos. Dr. Hovanesian is a member of the prestigious International Intraocular Implant Club that includes the world’s 300 most respected cataract surgeons. He is an associate editor for the world’s most widely read eye care trade journal and serves on several other editorial boards.
- Laura M. Periman, M.D. is a board-certified ophthalmologist, fellowship-trained cornea and refractive surgeon and ocular surface disease expert. As Founder and Director of Dry Eye Services and Clinical Research at Periman Eye Institute in Seattle, WA, she combines her passion for clinical care, scientific drive and innovative creativity to provide first-class ocular surface disease management. She has 17 peer-reviewed publications and has written extensively on the topic of ocular surface disease.
- Preeya K. Gupta, M.D. is the Managing Director of Triangle Eye Consultants in Raleigh, NC and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Tulane University School of Medicine. Dr. Gupta serves as an elected member of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, Cornea clinical committee and is also the President of the Vanguard Ophthalmology Society. She has written many peer-reviewed articles, authored several book chapters about corneal disease and ophthalmic surgery and serves as an invited reviewer to journals such as Ophthalmology, American Journal of Ophthalmology and Journal of Refractive Surgery.
- Terry Kim, M.D. is a Professor of Ophthalmology at Duke University School of Medicine and serves as Chief of the Cornea and External Disease Division and Director of the Refractive Surgery Service at Duke University Eye Center. Dr. Kim serves on the Executive Committee of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery as Past President, the Annual Program Committee of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Board of Directors of the Cornea Society. He has delivered more than 400 invited lectureships and has published over 400 peer-reviewed journal articles, textbook chapters, scientific abstracts and 5 well-respected textbooks on corneal diseases, corneal transplantation, and cataract surgery.
- William B. Trattler, M.D. is a board-certified refractive, corneal and cataract eye surgeon at the Center for Excellence in Eye Care in Miami, FL. With a strong focus in Dry Eye, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction and treatments for presbyopia, Dr. Trattler serves as Chairman of the Board for the American-European Congress of Ophthalmic Surgery (AECOS), is on the Executive Committee of the Refractive Surgery Alliance and is the Co-Program Director for AECOS Deer Valley. He has authored many articles and abstracts focused on crosslinking for keratoconus, cataract surgery, multifocal intraocular lenses, LASIK, laser vision correction, dry eye, and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, and he has participated in over 70 clinical trials, both device and pharmaceutical.
- Lisa M. Nijm, M.D., J.D. is an accomplished corneal surgeon, licensed attorney, teacher, and innovator in the field of ophthalmology. She is the founder of Warrenville EyeCare & LASIK and serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Cornea Society, the American Academy of Ophthalmology Executives and as the CEO of Women in Ophthalmology, where she has led the organization through exponential growth. Dr. Nijm is an invited international lecturer and a published, peer-reviewed author who has conducted over 40 negotiation workshops at academic institutions, ophthalmic conferences, and executive leadership development trainings.
About Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) is a chronic and progressive condition associated with blockage of the meibomian glands and alteration in the quality of expressed meibum. It is the leading cause of Dry Eye Disease (DED) and Contact Lens Discomfort (CLD).1,2 MGD is commonly characterized by terminal duct obstruction and/or qualitative/quantitative changes in the glandular secretion.3 There are no approved prescription pharmaceutical agents that specifically treat these glandular changes. If left untreated, MGD will alter the tear film, which can initiate or exacerbate additional ocular surface diseases such as DED, resulting in corneal ulcers, ocular infections, and blindness.
Azura’s lead clinical-stage drug candidate, AZR-MD-001 harnesses the power of selenium sulfide (SeS2) in an easy-to-use ophthalmic ointment preparation applied directly to the meibomian glands. AZR-MD-001 is thought to have a multi-modal mechanism of action that treats the pathophysiology of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD) along with the resulting ocular surface symptoms. It breaks down the bonds between abnormal keratin proteins to soften the blockage, slows down the production of keratin to prevent future blockages and increases the quantity of lipid produced by the meibomian glands.
AZR-MD-001 is currently being studied in a Phase 2 trial to evaluate the safety, efficacy and tolerability of the study drug in patients with MGD and Evaporative Dry Eye Disease (DED). Azura expects to report Phase 2b three-month topline data in the fourth quarter of 2022.
About Azura Ophthalmics, Ltd.
Azura Ophthalmics is utilizing our deep understanding of ocular surface diseases and drug development to deliver a new therapeutic class of Ophthalmic Keratolytics to treat underserved ophthalmic conditions. Our differentiated approach combines ophthalmologic and dermatologic solutions to harness the unique properties of keratolytics to treat the root cause of numerous underserved ocular indications. Our internally discovered pipeline of new chemical entities allows us to develop a portfolio of first-in-class ophthalmic therapeutics for significant unmet needs. For more information visit: www.azuraophthalmics.com and follow Azura on LinkedIn and Twitter.
- Milner, M. S., Beckman, K. A., Luchs, J. I., Allen, Q. B., Awdeh, R. M., Berdahl, J., Boland, T. S., Buznego, C., Gira, J. P., Goldberg, D. F., Goldman, D., Goyal, R. K., Jackson, M. A., Katz, J., Kim, T., Majmudar, P. A., Malhotra, R. P., McDonald, M. B., Rajpal, R. K., Raviv, T., … Yeu, E. (2017). Dysfunctional tear syndrome: dry eye disease and associated tear film disorders – new strategies for diagnosis and treatment. Current opinion in ophthalmology, 27 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), 3–47. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.icu.0000512373.81749.b7.
- Foulks GN, Bran AJ. Meibomian gland dysfunction: a clinical scheme for description, diagnosis, classification, and grading. Ocul Surf. 2003;1:107-126.
- Efron N, Jones L, Bron AJ, et al. The TFOS International Workshop on Contact Lens Discomfort: Report of the Contact Lens Interactions With the Ocular Surface and Adnexa Subcommittee. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013;54:TFOS98–TFOS122.
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