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Meet the eye care VISIONaerieS® building the next major ophthalmic pharmaceutical company.

SENIOR EXECUTIVE TEAM

Raj Kannan
Raj Kannan
Chief Executive Officer
Raj Kannan
Raj Kannan
Chief Executive Officer

Raj Kannan has over 25 years of experience leading and developing companies. He has effectively led and grown organizations and supported multiple successful launches across therapeutic areas in the U.S. and globally. Prior to joining Aerie, Mr. Kannan was Chief Executive Officer and President of Chiasma, Inc., where he led the organization through the approval and the launch of the first oral therapy in over a decade for patients with acromegaly and subsequently through the acquisition by Amryt Pharma Plc. Before that, Mr. Kannan was Chief Commercial Officer at Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. (“Kiniksa”), where he built the commercial operations, including sales, marketing, and business analytics functions. Prior to Kiniksa, he served as the Global Head of the Neurology and Immunology business franchise at Merck KGaA, where he was responsible for transforming the largest franchise into a growth franchise with $2 billion in annual revenues through significant strategic shifts in investment to support new product introductions and through recalibration of pipeline investments. Before that, Mr. Kannan spent 10 years at Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH in the U.S., Canada, and Germany, including as Global Marketing Head of the Cardiovascular Franchise, where he was responsible for more than $3.5 billion in annual revenues. Mr. Kannan currently serves as a non-executive board member for Amryt Pharma Plc.

Gary Sternberg, MD, MBA
Gary Sternberg, MD, MBA
Chief Medical Officer
Gary Sternberg, MD, MBA
Gary Sternberg, MD, MBA
Chief Medical Officer

Gary Sternberg joined Aerie in March 2022. Dr. Sternberg has over 20 years of experience in biopharma drug development. This experience has ranged from leading emerging biotechnology companies to heading clinical development and medical affairs, and guiding corporate strategy in business development and new technology evaluation. He is a trained ophthalmologist and fellowship trained in cornea and external diseases. Prior to joining Aerie, Dr. Sternberg was Chief Executive Officer and President of Stargazer Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he led the company through its founding and IND process and advanced the asset to a Phase 3 ready drug for development in Stargardt disease, a blinding orphan inherited retinal disease. Before that, he was Chief Executive Officer of a glaucoma start-up called Tisbury Pharmaceuticals that was developing a novel glaucoma compound for treatment of elevated intraocular pressure. Prior to Tisbury, Dr. Sternberg served as the Chief Business Officer at Eleven Biotherapeutics, Inc. and closed a $250 million bio-dollar outlicensing deal of an IL-6 inhibitor for diabetic macular edema with Roche. He was also integrally involved in a reverse merger process to reinvent the company as a specialty oncology company. Before that, Dr. Sternberg spent four years at Genentech, Inc. where he was Group Medical Director and headed Medical Affairs for the compound Lucentis (ranibizumab) in the U.S. In this role, he headed medical messaging for Lucentis in multiple retinal indications, conducted a very active investigator sponsored trial program with leading investigators, led a Medical Science Liaison group, and directed a Phase 4 post approval commitment study. He has also consulted for multiple biopharma companies in clinical and senior executive roles, including Chief Medical Officer, Chief Executive Officer, and as clinical consultant in a number of ophthalmic and non-ophthalmic indications.

 

Casey C. Kopczynski, PhD
Casey C. Kopczynski, PhD
Chief Innovation Officer, Head of Research and External Innovation
Casey C. Kopczynski, PhD
Casey C. Kopczynski, PhD
Chief Innovation Officer, Head of Research and External Innovation

Casey C. Kopczynski, Ph.D. has served as our Chief Scientific Officer since co-founding our company in 2005. From 2002 to 2005, he was the Managing Partner at Biotech Initiative, LLC, a consulting practice dedicated to emerging biotech companies. He was also previously the Vice President of Research at Ercole Biotech, Inc. from 2003 to 2004, a company developing drugs for the treatment of cancer, inflammation, and orphan genetic diseases. Prior to Ercole Biotech, Inc., Dr. Kopczynski was Director of Research and a founding member of the scientific staff at Exelixis, Inc. from 1996 to 2002. Dr. Kopczynski received his Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from Indiana University and was a Jane Coffin Childs Research Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.

Peter Lang
Peter Lang
Chief Financial Officer
Peter Lang
Peter Lang
Chief Financial Officer

Peter Lang brings a breadth and depth of expertise in finance with a particular focus in the healthcare and biopharma sectors. He has served in various senior roles advising and working with life science companies throughout his career to help optimize their growth objectives, financing strategy, capital structure, and return on capital.

Mr. Lang has held leadership positions at well-recognized global and boutique investment banks. During his career, he has helped raise over $105 billion in financing and growth capital and advised on more than 40 M&A and business development transactions totaling more than $25 billion in deal value. Mr. Lang most recently served as Managing Director and Partner at Ridge Advisory, LLC.

He received an MBA from the University of Chicago and earned dual degrees from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and School of Arts & Sciences.

 

Michelle Senchyna, PhD
Michelle Senchyna, PhD
Head of Clinical Development and Operations
Michelle Senchyna, PhD
Michelle Senchyna, PhD
Head of Clinical Development and Operations

Michelle Senchyna, Ph.D., currently serves as Vice President, Clinical Development and Medical Affairs, at Aerie. Prior to joining Aerie, Dr. Senchyna served as Executive Director of Ophthalmology at Allergan, where she oversaw the clinical development of pharmaceutical, consumer, and device products for anterior and posterior segment diseases. Dr. Senchyna has also held leadership roles in R&D and Medical Affairs at Alcon and Panoptica, with a focus on anterior segment and biomarker discovery. She began her career as an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry with research focused on ocular surface diseases and contact lens biomaterial development. She is an author on more than 40 peer-reviewed publications, has given more than 60 presentations nationally and internationally, and holds multiple patents. Dr. Senchyna earned both a B.Sc. and Ph.D. from McMaster University.

Marvin Garrett
Marvin Garrett
Head of Regulatory Affairs & Quality Assurance
Marvin Garrett
Marvin Garrett
Head of Regulatory Affairs & Quality Assurance

Marvin J. Garrett has served as the Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Quality since joining the company in February 2014. Mr. Garrett led the regulatory efforts to gain approval of Aerie’s lead commercial products in the U.S. and EU. Mr. Garrett has over 40 years of experience successfully launching and commercializing biologic, medical device, and pharmaceuticals products in multiple therapeutic areas. Prior to joining Aerie, Mr. Garrett served in senior management roles for Bausch & Lomb, ISTA Pharmaceuticals, XOMA Corporation, CooperVision Pharmaceuticals/Cooper Companies, IOLAB Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Allergan Pharmaceuticals, Ortho Diagnostics, and McGaw Laboratories of American Hospital Supply Corporation. During his career, Mr. Garrett has been responsible for gaining regulatory approval of multiple products in the U.S. and global markets. Mr. Garrett is past President and Chairman of the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society (RAPS) and past board member of SoCal Bio. He received his B.S. in Microbiology from California State University, Long Beach.

Craig Skenes
Craig Skenes
Head of Business Development
Craig Skenes
Craig Skenes
Head of Business Development

Craig Skenes is Head of Business Development and has been with Aerie since 2014. From 2009 through 2014, Mr. Skenes had responsibility for business development at Santen Pharmaceuticals, a global company focused on developing and commercializing ophthalmic products. Prior to joining Santen, he had responsibility for business development at ISTA Pharmaceuticals, which was also focused on ophthalmic pharmaceuticals and was eventually acquired by Bausch & Lomb. Earlier in his career, he held other roles in business development at Watson Pharmaceuticals and Gilead Sciences. Mr. Skenes received his B.S. in Biochemistry and MBA in Finance from California State University, Fullerton.

John W. LaRocca, Esq
John W. LaRocca, Esq
General Counsel
John W. LaRocca, Esq
John W. LaRocca, Esq
General Counsel

John W. LaRocca, Esq. joined Aerie as our General Counsel in February of 2018. From March 2015 through January 2018, Mr. LaRocca served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Eagle Pharmaceuticals, Inc. From December 2005 through December 2012, Mr. LaRocca was Chief Legal Officer for the Americas for Actavis Inc. and from January 2013 through December 2014, he was Deputy General Counsel for Actavis plc. Prior to that, Mr. LaRocca served as Divisional Counsel-US Generics for both Purepac Pharmaceuticals and Alpharma Pharmaceuticals from September 2000 through December 2005. Previously Mr. LaRocca practiced corporate and commercial law in New York with Parker Duryee Rosoff & Haft; Christie & Viener; and Webster & Sheffield. Mr. LaRocca received his B.A. from Columbia College and his J.D. from Columbia Law School.

Ken Ruettimann, PhD
Ken Ruettimann, PhD
Head of Manufacturing
Ken Ruettimann, PhD
Ken Ruettimann, PhD
Head of Manufacturing

Ken Ruettimann, Ph.D., joined Aerie as Vice President, Manufacturing in 2015 and is responsible for late-stage development and manufacturing of Aerie’s topical products. Prior to Aerie, he was Vice President, Pharmaceutical Development and Manufacturing for Ocera Therapeutics and held similar roles at Tranzyme Pharma and Inspire Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that, he led various development and clinical manufacturing departments for Searle, Pharmacia, and Pfizer. Dr. Ruettimann received his B.S from Virginia Tech and his M.S and Ph.D. from Purdue University.

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