Oculis establishes presence in U.S. and appoints Sylvia Cheung as Chief Financial Officer

Written by: Nola Cadman
Published On: 4 Sep 2020

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, September 1, 2020 – Oculis S.A., a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing transformative topical ophthalmic treatments to improve the sight and lives of patients, establishes its U.S. entity, Oculis Inc. and announces the strengthening of its senior management team by appointing Sylvia Cheung as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Ms. Cheung will be based in the newly established Oculis U.S. entity and succeeds Páll Ragnar Jóhannesson who becomes Oculis Chief Strategy Officer.

Riad Sherif, MD, CEO of Oculis, said: “We are very pleased to be proceeding with our U.S. expansion and I am thrilled to welcome Sylvia as our new CFO who will play a key role in the next phase of our corporate journey. She is an accomplished executive with a proven track record of financial and operational leadership in the life sciences industry. Her experience in building and financing biotechnology and medical device companies, together with her knowledge of U.S. financial and public capital markets made her a natural choice to fill this key role. Oculis is now preparing for its next important strategic steps and we look forward to leveraging Sylvia’s significant experience and expertise as we continue to progress towards our corporate goals.”

Dr. Sherif continued: “I would also like to thank Páll for his key contribution as CFO. I am confident that we would not be where we are today without his expertise and drive, I feel privileged to have him on the team and to continue working with him on key strategic initiatives for Oculis.

Ms. Cheung has 20 years of financial and general management experience at emerging growth life science companies. She joins Oculis from the NASDAQ-listed company Anika Therapeutics, Inc. where she was CFO since 2013. During her tenure, she played a vital role in redefining and executing the company’s mission, vision and long-range financial-operational targets; supported and enabled U.S. launches of key therapeutics products; and executed on three strategic acquisitions. Anika’s market capitalization increased significantly during this period from ~$300 million in 2013 to over $900 million in 2019. Prior to her role as CFO, Ms. Cheung was Vice President of Strategic Processes at Anika and General Manager of Anika Therapeutics S.r.l. She joined Anika as Controller in 2005.

Prior to Anika, Ms. Cheung held a series of financial management positions of increasing responsibility at Transkaryotic Therapies, Inc., which was acquired by Shire Pharmaceuticals in 2005. Ms. Cheung began her career in the technology audit practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Ms. Cheung holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, an MBA from Boston University, and was certified as CPA in Massachusetts.

Sylvia Cheung said: “Oculis’ pipeline candidates have the potential to be game changers in the treatment of eye diseases. I am very pleased to be joining the company at such a pivotal and exciting time and look forward to working with the excellent team to ensure they have the financial resources needed to deliver on their goal of bringing novel products, such as OCS-01 and OCS-02, that can improve the sight and lives of patients, to market.”

 

About Oculis

Oculis S.A. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing transformative topical ophthalmic treatments using its innovative formulation technologies to improve the sight and lives of patients.

Oculis’ novel topical (eye drop) treatments are non-invasive and represent an unprecedented technical advance for patients with retinal and front-of-the-eye diseases.

The Company’s leading clinical candidates include OCS-01 and OCS-02:

  • OCS-01 is a novel, high concentration, preservative free, topical formulation of dexamethasone based on Oculis’ proprietary Solubilizing Nanoparticle (SNP) technology. OCS-01 is moving to Phase 3 in two indications – Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) and post-ocular surgery – following a positive End-of-Phase 2 meeting with FDA. OCS-01 has the potential to provide the first non-invasive topical treatment option for DME patients and the first once a day, preservative free steroid for inflammation and pain following ocular surgery.
  • OCS-02 is a novel topical anti-TNF alpha antibody. It has successfully completed two proof-of-concept clinical trials in Acute Anterior Uveitis and in Dry Eye Disease and is progressing into Phase 2b.

In addition, Oculis’ formulation discovery focus and capabilities are enabling the development of a pipeline of topical drugs targeting sight-threatening eye diseases that affect both the anterior and posterior segments of the eye.

Oculis has an experienced management team from global ophthalmic companies and is supported by leading international life science investors. Oculis is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, with research operations in Iceland and U.S. operations in Boston, MA.

To learn more, visit www.oculis.com