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Otonomy Introduces Scientific Advisory Board

Company Assembles Physicians and Researchers Specializing in Ear Diseases to Guide Novel Treatments to Clinic

SAN DIEGO, March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Otonomy Inc. today introduced its scientific advisory board comprised of physicians and research scientists specializing in diseases and disorders of the ear.

The advisory board includes three of the company's founders: Rick Friedman, M.D., Ph.D.; Jeffrey Harris, M.D., Ph.D.; and Allen Ryan, Ph.D. Joining the founders on the advisory board are Stephan Heller, Ph.D.; Charles Liberman, Ph.D.; Christopher Post, M.D., Ph.D.; and Alec Salt, Ph.D.

"We are honored that this prestigious group of internationally recognized experts in the field of otology will guide the clinical development of Otonomy's proprietary drug products," said Jay Lichter, Ph.D., Otonomy's president and CEO and one of the company's founders. "The scientific guidance of this panel will be integral to the development of new therapies for diseases that are currently untreatable, such as Meniere's disease and sensorineural, age-related and noise-induced hearing loss."

About the Scientific Advisory Board Members:

Rick Friedman, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Friedman is the research section chief of hereditary ear disorders in the department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the House Ear Institute in Los Angeles. Dr. Friedman is currently Chief of Skull Base Surgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and is actively caring for patients with Skull Base Tumors at Cedars Sinai and St. Vincent Medical Center. His area of expertise is the study of hereditary deafness. Dr. Friedman served as a resident in the division of Otolaryngology at the UCSD Medical Center while earning his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He also earned his M.D. at UCSD. Dr. Friedman belongs to a the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, the American Otological Society, the Acoustic Neuroma Association, the American Neurotology Society, the North American Skull Base Society, the Triological Society and the NIH/National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) where he serves as an Ad Hoc Reviewer. He was recently inducted into the elite Collegium Oto-Rhino-Laryngologicum Amicitiae Sacrum.

Jeffrey Harris, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Harris is professor and chief of the division of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at UCSD. He is a neuro-otologic surgeon specializing in disorders of the ear, hearing and balance, and tumors of the skull base. Dr. Harris is investigating the causes of deafness and other disorders such as acoustic neuromas, Meniere's disease, autoimmune inner ear disease and the effect of inflammation on inner ear structures. He did advanced fellowship training in neurotology and skull base surgery at the University of Zurich. Dr. Harris performed his otolaryngology residency training at Harvard after earning both his M.D. and Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. He has published 4 textbooks and over 200 peer-reviewed articles. He has been an advisor at NIH serving as the co-chair of the Strategic Plan for Research in Hearing and as a member of the Communications Disorders Study Section. Dr. Harris is past president of both the American Otological Society and the Association for Research in Otolarygology and is a member of the Collegium Oto-Rhino-Laryngologicum Amicitiae Sacrum.

Allen F. Ryan, Ph.D.

Dr. Ryan is a professor and director of research in the Division of Otolaryngology at UCSD and director of otolaryngology research at the San Diego Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He also serves on the executive committees for the UCSD Neurosciences and the UCSD/SDSU audiology doctoral programs. His research focuses on the development, damage, survival and regeneration of hair cells, regulation of survival and neurite extension in cochlear neurons, as well as the biology of middle ear inflammation, tissue growth and recovery during otitis media. Dr. Ryan completed postdoctoral training at Northwestern University after receiving a joint Ph.D. in physiology/biophysics and psychology from the University of Washington. Dr. Ryan is a past president of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology and a member of the Advisory Council for the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at the NIH, the Tinnitus Research Consortium and the Council of Scientific Trustees of the Deafness Research Foundation. He is a member of the Collegium Oto-Rhino-Laryngologicum Amicitiae Sacrum and chairs the Jury for this international otolaryngology research society.

Stefan Heller, Ph.D.

Dr. Heller is associate professor in the departments of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery and Molecular & Cellular Physiology at Stanford University School of Medicine. He is an associate member of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and an affiliate of the Stanford Center on Longevity. Dr. Heller is researching the molecular basis of hearing and balance as well as developing therapies to reverse sensory hair cell loss in the cochlea. He joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School after completing his postdoctoral work in sensory neuroscience at The Rockefeller University. Dr. Heller earned a Ph.D. from Johannes Gutenberg University and conducted doctoral research at the Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research.

Charles Liberman, Ph.D.

Dr. Liberman is the Schuknecht Professor of Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Eaton-Peabody Laboratory at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, one of the largest laboratories in the world devoted to the study of hearing and deafness. Research in his laboratory includes studies of sound transmission in the middle ear, signal transduction in the inner ear, neural processing in the central nervous system and applications of cell-based therapies to repair inner ear damage. Dr. Liberman received his Ph.D. in physiology from Harvard Medical School. He is a member of the Collegium Oto-Rhino-Laryngologicum Amicitiae Sacrum.

Christopher Post, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Post is the director of Allegheny Pediatric ENT Associates at Allegheny General Hospital, medical director of the Center for Genomic Sciences, and president and scientific director of the Allegheny-Singer Research Institute in Pittsburgh. He is a professor of otolaryngology and microbiology and immunology at Drexel University College of Medicine and the Army Reserve otolaryngology consultant to the Army Surgeon General. Dr. Post's research interests include the role of bacterial biofilms in otitis media, human gene discovery, the genetics of human performance, and scarless wound healing. He has completed a pediatric otolaryngology fellowship at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh as well as residencies at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and University of Florida He received his M.D. from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. in human genetics from the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Post is the recipient of the Fowler Award from the Triological Society, Best Doctors in America, the Bronze Star and a Combat Medic Badge. He is a member of the Collegium Oto-Rhino-Laryngologicum Amicitiae Sacrum.

Alec Salt, Ph.D.

Dr. Salt is a professor in the department of Otolaryngology at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the leading expert in inner ear fluid physiology with research focused on the study of drug delivery to the inner ear, the interpretation of distortions generated by the ear for diagnostic purposes and the 3D anatomy of the inner ear. He was a clinical physiologist at the Institute for Sound and Vibrations Research, University of Southampton, England and did postdoctoral training at the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina. Dr. Salt received his Ph.D. in cochlear physiology from the University of Birmingham, England, where he also earned his M.S. in neurocommunications. He was the winner of the 2008 Gold Medal Award from the Prosper Meniere Society and the 1999 Guyot Prize from the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, for "important work of great merits in the field of otological and biological research".

About Otonomy

Otonomy is an emerging biopharmaceutical company based in San Diego that is focused on the development and commercialization of novel treatments for diseases of the inner and middle ear. This field represents a large untapped opportunity with nearly 30 million Americans facing debilitating hearing and balance disorders. Currently, no approved drug treatments exist for these conditions. In addition, more than 5 million annual cases of ear infection are still treated with resistance-causing oral antibiotics or locally administered drugs that require surgical perforation of the ear drum. Otonomy is working in partnership with leading experts in the field to bring new drug therapies to these unserved patients. For more information, visit

Editor's Note: Photographs available on request

    Media Contact
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    Russo Partners
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SOURCE Otonomy Inc.
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