Mark E. Hooper
Chairman of the Board
Mark Hooper has served as the chairman of our board of directors since November 2018. Mark has nearly 40 years of experience in public accounting, including 17 years as a partner with Ernst & Young. Currently, he serves as a founding member of Andrews, Hooper, Pavlik PLC, a regional CPA firm in the state of Michigan. During his career, Mark has accumulated broad professional expertise which ranges from advanced tax matters for business and publicly traded corporations to estate and individual tax planning.
An active member of the business community, Mark serves on the board of directors of the Auto Owners Insurance Group and Capital Community Angels, in addition to ONL Therapeutics. He also holds the position of treasurer of the Capital Community Angels and has served as chair of a number of community boards, providing guidance to groups ranging from the Capital Region Community Foundation to the Broad College of Business Alumni Board at Michigan State University.
President and Chief Executive Officer
David Esposito is an experienced healthcare executive who has built and scaled multiple companies that resulted in successful exits to strategic buyers.
David is the former CEO of Armune BioScience where he led the development and commercialization of blood-based diagnostics to improve the early detection of cancer. The Company successfully launched the only non-PSA blood test to improve the detection of prostate cancer. Armune BioScience was sold to Exact Sciences (EXAS) in 2017.
He was President of Phadia US Inc. (allergy and autoimmune diagnostics) and played a pivotal role in the sale of the business to Thermo Fisher Scientific (TMO) for in 2011. David began his career as a sales representative with Merck & Co. Inc. and rose through the ranks of sales, marketing and commercial strategy for the US Division.
David is a combat veteran, led an infantry platoon with the 101st Airborne Division through several combat operations, and was recognized with a Bronze Star for combat action in Iraq in 1991. David earned his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and his MBA from Syracuse University.
David Zacks, M.D., Ph.D.
Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer
Dr. Zacks is a professor of ophthalmology and a clinician-scientist at the University of Michigan, Kellogg Eye Center. For over the past 15 years his research has focused on the molecular regulatory mechanisms controlling photoreceptor death or survival in retinal disease. Dr. Zacks is a pioneer and recognized thought leader in the field of retinal neuroprotection and photoreceptor cells physiology. He has demonstrated that the Fas pathway is largely responsible for cell death and has discovered unique molecules that block the Fas receptor and preserve photoreceptors.
A recognized expert in the study of retinal detachment, Dr. Zacks has received numerous honors for his work, including the Macula Society’s W. Richard Green Lecture and Award in 2011. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed his residency in ophthalmology and fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary of Harvard Medical School.
Stella M. Robertson, Ph.D.
Dr. Robertson, Co-Founder and Partner of Bios Partners, has over 35 years of experience in pharmaceutical research and development, including R&D strategies, project management, clinical trials, regulatory filings, product launch, market support, translational medicine and medical communication.
Dr. Robertson is a member and investor with Cowtown Angels and the owner of Arrochar Consulting LLC. She formerly was a Vice President in Research and Development at Alcon Laboratories, Inc., where she grew and led organizations that were responsible for the ophthalmic pipeline, otic pharmaceuticals, and medical devices. During her tenure at Alcon, she and her colleagues successfully developed, registered, and globally launched sixteen ophthalmic medications, as well as treatments for otitis media and nasal allergy.
Dr. Robertson received a Ph.D. in Biology-Immunology from Johns Hopkins University, was an Arthritis Foundation post-doctoral research fellow at UTHSC Dallas, and completed the Program for Management Development at Harvard Business School. She volunteers with the University of North Texas Health Science Center entrepreneurial program and as an adjunct for the Ophthalmology Department of UT Southwestern Medical School. She currently serves on the boards of early stage companies Azitra, Trefoil Therapeutics, and AyuVis Research, as well as the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Foundation and the non-profit incubator TECH Fort Worth.
Bill Burns is former President, CEO and Board member of Encore Vision, Inc., which he sold to Novartis in January 2017 for $375 Million in upfront payments plus undisclosed future milestone payments. Bill continues to guide integration of Encore Vision technology into the Novartis organization.
Prior to his time at Encore Vision, Bill spent 20 years at Alcon Laboratories, holding a number of executive positions, including Vice President Worldwide Marketing for Pharmaceutical and Consumer Products. In this role, he was responsible for strategic marketing direction and input to clinical product development. Bill also held the position of Director of Business Development at Bristol Myers Squibb and worked at Norwich-Eaton Laboratories.
Bill has a B.A. degree in Biology and Biochemistry from Slippery Rock University and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development.
Marian Nakada, Ph.D.
Dr. Nakada, VP Venture Investments for Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, has almost 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, starting her career at the laboratory bench at Centocor and moving to a research leadership role before Centocor’s acquisition by Johnson & Johnson in 1999. She transitioned to Janssen Business Development where she executed deals to support the expansion of the Biologics portfolio, and joined JJDC, Johnson & Johnson’s corporate venture group in 2013. She is passionate about leveraging Johnson & Johnson’s capabilities to help her portfolio companies succeed.
Dr. Nakada has a A.B. in Biology from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently on the Boards of Navitor Pharmaceuticals, Twenty-eight Seven Therapeutics, Ribon Therapeutics, as well as the New England Venture Capital Association where she is working to champion change as an active contributor to its Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
Cynthia L. Grosskreutz, MD, Ph.D.
Dr. Grosskreutz is Vice President and Global Head of Ophthalmology at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). In this role, she leads a group of talented scientists to develop pioneering ophthalmic medicines with the goal of producing therapeutic breakthroughs for patients with eye disease — using gene therapy, biologics and innovative small molecule approaches. From 2010 -2017, she was the Global Translational Medicine (TM) Head for Ophthalmology at NIBR and her group led all of the first-in-human and proof-of-concept clinical trials for ophthalmic indications at Novartis.
Prior to joining Novartis, Dr. Grosskreutz was the co-Director of the Glaucoma Service and headed a glaucoma research laboratory at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Harvard Medical School. She is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and has been on the Harvard Medical School faculty since 1994. Dr. Grosskreutz received her MD and PhD from University of Iowa College of Medicine and did her Ophthalmology Residency and Glaucoma Fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Harvard Medical School. Dr. Grosskreutz is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, as well as several other professional associations.