MELBOURNE: Opthea Limited (ASX:OPT), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapies to treat highly prevalent and progressive retinal diseases, announced the appointment of Dr. Joel Naor as Chief Medical Officer, effective 1 March 2022.
Dr. Naor is an ophthalmologist and seasoned pharmaceutical executive with extensive clinical program development experience from public and private companies in the ophthalmology space.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Naor to Opthea, where his deep experience leading clinical programs for retinal eye diseases will be an asset to the continued advancement of our pipeline,” commented Dr. Megan Baldwin, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Opthea.
“Dr. Joel Naor brings significant oversight, clinical development and strategic expertise, having previously guided numerous programs through all phases of development. His extensive background and experience will be particularly valuable as the Company progresses its lead asset, OPT-302, towards regulatory approval and commercialization.”
Dr. Joel Naor commented “OPT-302 is an innovative biologic ‘trap’ molecule designed to further improve upon the efficacy achieved with anti-VEGF-A treatment in wet AMD patients by inhibiting two important angiogenic mediators, namely VEGF-C and VEGF-D. In a large randomized controlled phase 2b trial, intravitreal administration of OPT-302 (2.0 mg) in combination with anti-VEGF-A resulted in superior Best Corrected Visual Acuity compared to anti-VEGF-A alone. I’m enthusiastic to help lead the ongoing phase 3 program and advance a product through clinical development that has the potential to improve vision outcomes for patients.”
Dr. Naor added, “Wet AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in adults, and the efficacy of the standard of care for wet AMD has not changed since approval of the first anti-VEGF-A treatment in 2006. Thus, new approaches are urgently needed for patients, including those who do not respond optimally to anti-VEGF-A therapy. OPT-302 combination therapy is a potential transformative treatment and I am excited to be part of the journey to advance the science and understanding of this novel therapy.”
Dr. Joel Naor has over two decades of experience leading clinical development programs that target retina conditions encompassing biologics, small molecules, sustained release technologies, stem cells and photodynamic therapy. In his most recent role, he served as Vice President of Clinical Science and Development Operations at Kodiak Sciences Inc.
Previously, Dr. Joel Naor was the Chief Medical Officer for Macusight, Inc. until the company was acquired by Santen Inc. in 2010, and subsequently served as Vice President and Head of Global Medical Affairs for Santen Inc. He has also held leadership positions at Allergan Inc., QLT Inc. and Stem Cells Inc. Dr. Joel Naor received his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and completed training in Ophthalmology at the University of Toronto. He holds a Masters of Science (MSc.) in Epidemiology from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.