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Neurotech Pharmaceuticals Adds Ophthalmic Leaders to Advance Groundbreaking Sight-Saving Therapies

CUMBERLAND, R.I., Sept. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Neurotech Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company developing sight-saving therapies for chronic retinal disease, announced today that renowned ophthalmology experts Eugene de Juan, Jr., M.D., and Lester Kaplan, Ph.D., have joined the company's board of directors.  In addition, former Allergan Vice President and Therapeutic Area Head for ophthalmology, Rhett Schiffman, M.D., M.S., M.H.SA. has joined the company as its Chief Medical Officer.


Along with the Neurotech team, Drs. de Juan and Kaplan will help advance the company's technology platform through the clinical development stage toward market availability.  As CMO, Dr. Schiffman will lead the overall clinical development strategy as well as the design and execution of the various clinical programs at Neurotech.

"In our mission to develop therapies for retinal disease, we are incredibly fortunate to count such respected leaders as our own," said Neurotech President and CEO Ted Danse.  "Because of their extensive and exhaustive experience in the field of ophthalmology, all three play an integral part in our effort to establish Neurotech as the leader in the fight against blindness."

Jim Mazzo, Neurotech Board of Directors Executive Chairman, remarked, "As we build Neurotech, we searched for the selected few Board members who could make the greatest contribution to the development of our company.  That Drs. de Juan and Kaplan have chosen to join us is an immense validation of our cause and our efforts."

Eugene de Juan is a retinal surgeon, inventor and entrepreneur.  He has participated in the development of a number of ophthalmology's most exciting new technologies involving over 100 products and has founded nine venture-funded companies.  He serves as Vice-Chairman of ForSight Labs, where he participates as an advisor to early-stage ophthalmic device opportunities. Dr. de Juan splits his time between ForSight Labs and University of California, San Francisco. He holds the "Jean Kelly Stock Distinguished Chair" in Ophthalmology at UCSF. Dr. de Juan was a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Southern California and CEO of the Doheny Eye Institute, focusing on innovative techniques for treating retinal disorders.  He has also served at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and was a member of the medical staff of the Duke University Eye Center.  He completed his medical degree and internship training at the University of Southern Alabama College of Medicine.  He served an internship at University of South Alabama Medical Center followed by a residency at the Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, and a fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery at Duke University.

Lester Kaplan was Executive Vice President and President, Research & Development, and a board member of Allergan, Inc., where during his 20-plus years at the company he led the evolution of Allergan's R&D organization with approvals from the FDA, The European Union, Japan and major global ministries of health of more than 20 major pharmaceutical products and indications, including the initial and various follow-on approvals of Botox® (Blephrospasm, Cervical Dystonia, Hyperhidrosis, Juvenile Cerebral Palsy.and Spasticity), Botox Cosmetic®, Lumigan®, Alphagan® and Alphagan P®, Zymar®, Oxuflox®, Tazorac® ( Acne and Psorasis) and Restasis®.  In addition to leading the R&D organization, he was responsible for the worldwide strategic marketing of Botox®, and grew the brand from $125M to over half a billion dollars in annual global sales.  Prior to joining Allergan, Dr. Kaplan held research positions at the Upjohn Company and at the University of California, Los Angeles, and instructed in chemistry at both Temple University and UCLA.  He holds a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Illinois, Urbana and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from UCLA.

Rhett Schiffman was most recently Vice President of Global Drug Development and Therapeutic Area Head of Ophthalmology at Allergan, where since 2001 he was instrumental in the global development and approval of many of ophthalmology's most successful products including Restasis®, Combigan®, Lumigan®, Acuvail® and Acular®, Zymaxid® and Zymar® and most recently, the Lumigan® and Ganfort® unit dose products.  He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Glaucoma Research Foundation and is Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of California at Irvine.  Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. in Bioengineering from Columbia University, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and his M.D. from the University of Juarez, Mexico.  He also received Master's degrees from the University of Michigan in Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis and in Health Services Administration.  He completed residencies in both Internal Medicine and Ophthalmology at Henry Ford Hospital, is Board Certified in both and completed a Uveitis fellowship at the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health. 

About Neurotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Neurotech is developing sight-saving therapeutics for the treatment of chronic retinal diseases.  Utilizing its transformational technology, Encapsulated Cell Technology (ECT), Neurotech is developing intraocular implants that provide controlled, sustained and long-term delivery of therapeutic proteins to the back of the eye, thereby overcoming a major obstacle in the treatment of retinal disease. The Company's lead ECT-based product candidates include NT-503 for the treatment of wet AMD (Phase 2), and Renexus® (NT-501) for the treatment of Macular Telangiectasia (pre-Phase 2).  To learn more, please visit

SOURCE Neurotech USA
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