ONL ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP CHANGES
ONL ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP CHANGES
October 29, 2013
Ann Arbor, Mich. (October 29, 2013) — ONL Therapeutics today announced the appointments of John Freshley as Chief Executive Officer and Anna Schwendeman as Vice President of Preclinical Development. These appointments follow the sad loss of Co-Founder and former CEO Raili Kerppola to adrenal cancer on June 19, 2013.
Mr. Freshley has spent nearly two decades in leadership roles of various start-up companies within both the software and life science fields. Most recently, John was Chief Business Officer of Compendia Bioscience, a cancer genomics company that was acquired by Life Technologies in 2012. John started the company in 2006 with co-founders from the University of Michigan and served as its first CEO, assembling the management team, securing initial funding and acquiring the company’s first 10 customers. Previously, John had been President and CEO of Genetics Squared, an Ann Arbor start-up focused on developing personalized oncology drugs and diagnostics.
On his new appointment Mr. Freshley said, “I was honored when Raili Kerppola reached out to me early this year to help her lead ONL and transition leadership responsibilities to me. She was a good friend for many years and an inspirational leader in our community as she launched multiple biotech companies while fighting a difficult and tenacious disease.”
“I am excited by this new challenge and look forward to working with our team to advance our important lead compound, ONL-101, into the clinic to benefit patients fighting blindness,” Mr. Freshley concluded.
ONL-101 is the first FAS inhibitor in development for the prevention of blindness in retinal diseases. The company has chosen retinal detachment as its lead indication, for which it has received orphan drug designation from the FDA.
Along with the appointment of Mr. Freshley, the company also announced the appointment of Anna Schwendeman, Ph.D., to lead the company’s preclinical development programs. Dr. Schwendeman has deep expertise in peptide drug manufacturing and regulatory affairs from her time at both Cerenis Therapeutics and Esperion Therapeutics . She has managed all aspects of preclinical product development, clinical trial material production, and has submitted multiple INDs to the FDA and global regulatory agencies. Dr. Schwendeman earned her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry.
“We are thrilled to welcome both Anna and John to the ONL team,” said Co-Founder, President and Chief Medical Officer David Zacks. “They bring a wealth of experience, both scientific and business, that will really drive our company and development programs forward. We are fortunate that Raili identified both John and Anna in the past year to help with the company’s next phase of development. I will be ever thankful for Raili’s effort and dedication. She was a good friend and will be missed by me and many, many others.”
About ONL Therapeutics, LLC.
ONL Therapeutics is dedicated to preventing blindness and improving visual outcomes. Our novel drug programs targeting the FAS apoptotic pathway provide protection for photoreceptors while the underlying disease can be addressed with surgery or concurrent therapies. Photoreceptor cell death is the primary cause of blindness and therapies to protect these cells are crucial if visual outcomes are to improve.