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Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Tsontcho Ianchulev, MD MPH
Chief Executive Officer, Chief Medical Officer, Director
Dr. Ianchulev has been serving as our Chief Executive Officer, Chief Medical Officer and a member of our Board of Directors since March 2014. From 2009 to 2016, he was the chief medical officer and the head of technology and business development for Transcend Medical, Inc. (acquired by Novartis International AG/Alcon, Inc. (NYSE: NVS)). Prior to that, while at Genentech, Inc. (NYSE: DNA, before going private in 2009), Dr. Ianchulev headed the ophthalmology research group and directed the development and the FDA approval of Lucentis. Dr. Ianchulev currently serves as a director of the ASCRS Foundation, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Iantrek, Inc. and AEye, Inc. He was formerly chairman of the board of directors of ianTECH from 2014 until its acquisition by Carl Zeiss Meditec AG (ETR: AFX) in 2019. Dr. Ianchulev received his B.S. from the University of Rochester. He received both his M.D. and an M.P.H. from Harvard University and completed his specialty training at the Doheny Eye Institute. Currently, Dr. Ianchulev serves as a professor in the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai.
 
Stephen Benjamin
Director
Stephen Benjamin is an attorney with a track record of leadership in government and the public sector. He was elected Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina in April of 2010. He served three successful terms as Mayor concluding in December of 2021. Prior to his service as mayor, Mr. Benjamin: served in South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges’ Cabinet as the Chief Executive of a 950 employee state agency; served as special counsel at a national law firm; served on the Board of Directors, Audit & CRA Committees of a financial institution; served on the Board of Directors of a NYSE traded financial services company; and served on the Board of Trustees of a not for profit hospital. Mr. Benjamin has served as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (2018-2019), President of the African American Mayors Association, Vice Chairman of the Global Parliament of Mayors, Executive Chairman of Municipal Bonds for America, and as a Member of the Federal Communications Commission’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee. Mr. Benjamin is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina School of Law. Mr. Benjamin is a Principal in The Benjamin Firm, LLC and Of Counsel at The Charleston Group, where he co-chairs the firm’s Public Finance & Affordable Housing Practices.
Julia A. Haller
Director
Julia A. Haller, MD, Ophthalmologist-in-Chief at Wills Eye Hospital, is a trailblazing retina surgeon-scientist and leader who has innovated translational advances against blindness on many fronts.

Dr. Haller was educated at the Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Princeton University and Harvard Medical School. After her Halsted internship in surgery at Johns Hopkins, residency in ophthalmology and retina fellowship at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins, she served as Wilmer’s first female Chief Resident. Recruited to the Hopkins faculty thereafter, Haller directed the retina fellowship, was named to the inaugural Katharine Graham Chair in Ophthalmology, and subsequently to the inaugural Robert Bond Welch, M.D. Professorship. In 2007 she was appointed Ophthalmologist-in-Chief and William Tasman, MD Endowed Chair at Wills Eye Hospital, and Professor and Chair of Ophthalmology at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals. She is a Consultant at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. One of the world’s most renowned retina surgeons, Dr. Haller has published over 400 scientific articles and book chapters, with research interests in retinal pharmacology, macular surgery, venous occlusive disease, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, complicated retinal detachments, health care disparities, and gender equity.

Elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2019, Dr. Haller’s honors include the Rolex Achievement Award (to a past NCAA lacrosse player), the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Honor Award, the AAO Senior Achievement Award, the Vitreous Society Senior Honor Award, the Crystal Apple Award (for mentorship) of the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS), the Kreissig Award from EURETINA, the President’s Award from Women in Ophthalmology (WIO), a Secretariat Award from the AAO, the Gertrude Pyron Award from the Retina Research Foundation/ASRS, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the AAO, the Louis Braille Award from Associated Services for the Blind, the Heed Award from the Society of Heed Fellows, the Donald Gass Medal from the Macula Society, the Strittmatter Award from the Philadelphia Medical Society (their highest honor), the AAO EnergEYES Award, the WIO Suzanne Véronneau-Troutman Award, the Charles L. Schepens, MD, Keynote Lecture Award from the Retina Research Foundation/AAO, and election to the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars. She holds Chair XVI of the Academia Ophthalmologica Internationalis. She is president of the Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation, Chairs the Board of the Society of Heed Fellows, serves on the Council of the American Ophthalmological Society, the Board of the Heed Ophthalmic Foundation, and the AAO Foundation Board of Advisors. She is past president of the Retina Society, the American Society of Retina Specialists, and the Board of Trustees of the Association of University Professors of Ophthalmology, as well as a founding member of Women in Retina. Her editorial board service includes RETINA, Retinal Physician, Retina Times, Ocular Surgery News, Retina Today, and Ophthalmology Times.

A Director of Bristol Myers Squibb, a former Director of Celgene Corporation, and past Trustee of both Princeton University and the Bryn Mawr School, Dr. Haller serves as Vice-President of the Johns Hopkins Medical and Surgical Association, Vice-Chair of the Board of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and on the Board of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association. She and her husband, John D. Gottsch, M.D, the Margaret C. Mosher Professor of Ophthalmology at Hopkins, have five children: John, Natalie, Will, Alex, and Clare.
Rachel Jacobson
Director
Rachel Jacobson brings to the Board significant expertise in business development and marketing, having spent 21 years with the National Basketball Association, where she oversaw business development, licensing, marketing, account management and event planning, among other roles. Currently she serves as the President of the Drone Racing League (DRL), where she spearheads global partnerships and media rights deals, and leads the marketing and business development teams, bringing to DRL her legacy of creating transformative partnerships with leading sports and technology brands. As the SVP of Global Partnerships at the National Basketball Association, she closed partnership sales and secured global partnerships with some of the world’s most prominent companies, including PepsiCo, ExxonMobil, Under Armour, Marriott, Harman, Kaiser Permanente and other Fortune 500 companies. Prior to DRL, she also served as the Chief Business Development Officer at Landit, the market leader in personalized career pathing technology to increase the success and engagement of women and diverse groups in the workplace. Ms. Jacobson is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel & Business Management.
Kenneth B. Lee, Jr.
Director
Mr. Lee has been a member of our Board of Directors since March 2018. Since January 2003, he has been a general partner of Hatteras Venture Partners, LLC, a venture capital fund focusing on life science companies. Previously he was president of Pappas Capital, LLC (formerly A. M. Pappas & Associates, LLC), following 29 years with Ernst & Young LLP, where he was most recently managing director of the firm’s health sciences corporate finance group. Mr. Lee currently serves on the board of directors of BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: BCRX). Previously, he served on the boards of several private and public companies, including Abgenix, Inc. (NASDAQ: ABGX, acquired by Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN)), CV Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CVTX, acquired by Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD)), Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ISPH, acquired by Merck & Co., Inc. NYSE: MRK), Maxygen, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAXY, dissolved), OSI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: OSIP, acquired by Astellas Pharma Inc. (OTC: ALPMY)), Old API Wind-down Ltd. (f/k/a Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARLZ), which began voluntary bankruptcy proceedings in Canada and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States in August 2018). Mr. Lee received a B.A. from Lenoir-Rhyne College and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
 
Charles E. Mather IV
Director
Mr. Mather has been a member of our Board of Directors since March 2018. Since October 2019, Mr. Mather has been Managing Director, Equity Capital Markets at Suntrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc. Prior to that, since March 2015, Mr. Mather has been Managing Director, Co-Head of Equity Capital Markets at BTIG, LLC. From December 2009 to February 2015, he was the Head of Private and Alternative Capital and Co-Head of Equity Capital Markets at Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC. Between May 2007 and September 2008, Mr. Mather was the head of the Structured Equity Group at Jefferies Group Inc. Prior to that, Mr. Mather held various senior investment banking positions at Cowen and Company, including as Co- Head of the Private Equity Group. Mr. Mather serves on the board Wentz LLC. Mr. Mather also served on the board of Tonix Pharmaceuticals Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: TNXP) until February 2019 and The Finance Company of Pennsylvania until August 2017. Mr. Mather received a B.A. in History from Brown University and an M.B.A. in Finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
 
Ellen Strahlman, MD, MS
Independent Board Member

Dr Strahlman brings to the Board C-suite executive experience at multiple global healthcare companies. She is passionate about innovation that transforms and democratizes technology into products that help people, with an accompanying track record of delivering value to business through her philosophy of Servant Leadership.

Dr. Strahlman served as Executive Vice President, Research & Development and Chief Medical Officer of Becton, Dickinson and Company (NYSE:BDX), a leading global medical technology company, from 2013 until her retirement in 2018. While at BD, the company was selected as the Outstanding Corporate Innovator in 2015 by the Product Development & Management Association. Before joining BD, she served as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for GlaxoSmithKline, plc (NYSE:GSK) from 2008 to 2013, spending her last year at GSK as Senior Advisor to the CEO, leading GSK’s Global Health Programs. Prior to 2008, Dr. Strahlman held senior executive leadership roles in global product development and commercialization and business development at Pfizer, Inc. (NYSE:PFE), Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS), Virogen Limited, and Merck & Co., Inc (NYSE: MRK). She was the Senior Vice President for Research & Development and Chief Medical Officer for Bausch & Lomb (NYSE:BLCO ) from 1995-2000.

Dr Strahlman was chosen to serve as Industry Representative on the FDA/CDER Dermatology and Ophthalmology Advisory Committee (DODAC), from 2008-2013. From 2016 to November 2020, Dr. Strahlman served as a director of Syncona Limited (NYSE: SYN.L), having previously served as a director of Syncona Partners, LLP. She is currently a director of Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE:MO). In addition to her corporate board service, Dr Strahlman serves as Visiting Professor, University of Turku, in Finland.

Dr Strahlman earned a BA from Harvard University in biochemistry and an MD from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She is an American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) board-certified ophthalmologist, having trained at the Wilmer Eye Institute from 1984-1987. She was awarded a Carnegie Mellon Public Health Fellowship in 1987, during which she earned an MHSc in Epidemiology from the Bloomberg School of Public Health (1987-1989).

Ram Palanki, Pharm. D.
Independent Board Member

Dr. Ram Palanki currently serves as Executive Vice President of Commercial Strategy & Operations at REGENXBIO (NASDQ: RGNX), a leader in AAV gene therapy, and is responsible for the planning, execution, and commercialization of their pipeline across the ophthalmology, central nervous system, and neuromuscular disease franchises.

Dr. Palanki has nearly 20 years of experience in the development and commercialization of biopharmaceuticals and medical devices. Before joining REGENXBIO, Dr. Palanki was Senior Vice President of Commercial for the Americas at Santen Inc. Previously, he served as the executive team member leading the strategy and operations for pre-launch and global commercialization of a first-in-class biologic at ThromboGenics (now known as Oxurion, NASDAQ: OXUR). Over the span of his career, Dr. Palanki has held roles of increasing responsibility at several small, mid-sized and large companies, including the launch of LUCENTIS® at Genentech. He is an active board member and strategic advisor to multiple biotech companies, technology start-ups and global non-profits.

Ram holds a PharmD from Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University, NY, and his post doctorate from Rutgers University, NJ.