Industry Veteran to Accelerate Development of Advanced Therapy Platform for Ocular Diseases
June 8, 2021
Greg Kunst has been named chief executive officer of newly-launched Aurion Biotech, whose mission is to cure blindness by developing a differentiated platform of advanced therapies to treat ocular diseases. The company’s first candidate is a cell therapy for the treatment of corneal endothelial disease, which affects millions of people worldwide, with symptoms that include blurred vision, glare, discomfort and pain. Invented by world-renowned ophthalmic surgeon and research scientist Professor Shigeru Kinoshita and his distinguished colleagues at Kyoto Prefecture University of Medicine (KPUM) in Japan, corneal endothelial cell therapy has demonstrated long-term efficacy in Phase 2 and Phase 3 studies in Japan.
“I am delighted to join Aurion Biotech because we have all the key ingredients for success—the best science, the best scientists and medical advisors, and the best backers,” said Greg Kunst. “Our lead candidate, in early research and Phase 2 and Phase 3 studies in Japan, has already demonstrated long-term, significant improvements in patients’ vision. I look forward to scaling up our team to pursue clinical development in the US and around the world, and to build a platform of transformational biotechnologies with the aim of restoring vision to all patients who need it.”
Greg has deep and varied experience in ophthalmic medical devices, drug delivery systems, diagnostics, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical products. His expertise spans global corporate development, strategy, health policy, marketing, commercialization, business development, market access and medical affairs. Before Aurion Biotech, Greg spent six years at Glaukos Corporation (NYSE: GKOS), where he led the worldwide marketing, market access, reimbursement, health economics and outcomes research, government affairs, and business development teams. During his tenure at Glaukos, Greg launched four new products and led the development for multiple ophthalmology device, pharmaceuticals and biologics candidates targeting corneal, glaucoma, and retinal diseases. Before Glaukos, Greg was global franchise director over the glaucoma surgery and retina pharmaceutical businesses at Alcon, a Novartis company. Before joining Alcon, Greg was the global head of market access at Kinetic Concepts, Inc. (Acelity Inc.) Greg is a member of the steering committee for the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at the University of California, Irvine. Greg holds an MBA from Vanderbilt University and a BS in Economics from Brigham Young University.
“Greg’s achievements and experience have prepared him well for the opportunity at Aurion Biotech,” said Tom Frinzi, board chair. “I quickly realized he is the right person at the right time to lead this team, and I couldn’t be more pleased to have him accelerate the company’s growth and success.”
“Having backed numerous successful technologies in ophthalmology, I know that great people are every bit as important as are great products,” said Bill Link, general partner at Flying L Ventures, and board member. “With Greg at the helm, I’m excited for Aurion Biotech and its very bright future.”
About Aurion Biotech
Based in Seattle and Boston, Aurion Biotech is a clinical stage biotech company. Our mission is to cure leading forms of blindness and transform the lives of millions of patients, by developing a platform of advanced therapies. Our first candidate is for the treatment of corneal endothelial disease, and one of the first clinically validated cell therapies for corneal care. Healthy cells from a donor cornea are cultured in a novel, multi-step, proprietary and patented process. Cell lots manufactured from a single donor may be used to treat more than 100 recipient eyes. In early research and Phase 2 & Phase 3 clinical trials in Japan, patients have experienced long-term, significant improvements in key measures of corneal health: visual acuity, corneal endothelial cell density and corneal thickness. The Aurion Biotech team is preparing for clinical trials in the U.S. To learn more about Aurion Biotech, a division of CorneaGen Inc., visit www.aurionbiotech.com
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