Oculis S.A., (Oculis) a late-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing transformative ophthalmic treatments to improve the sight and lives of patients, announces the appointment of Dr. Joanne Chang, M.D., Ph.D., as Chief Medical Officer and Head of Portfolio Management. Dr. Chang brings unique R&D and medical affairs expertise given her experience in multiple geographies (U.S., China and globally), as well as a deep portfolio expertise in Ophthalmology covering all key areas such as cornea, retina, and gene therapy.
Oculis also announces the opening of a new office in Hong Kong to broaden the company’s development and commercial capabilities in Greater China and Asia, a strategically important region. Oculis already has well-established links to China, having received strong backing from Chinese Investors BVCF Management and Hyfinity Investment in its most recent oversubscribed $57 million Series C fund raising. Dr. Chang will be based in the Hong Kong office and will have global responsibility for Medical Affairs and Corporate Portfolio Management. She will play a crucial role in the executive management team as the company continues to scale internationally, strengthening its existing presence in China, Europe, and the U.S..
“We are delighted to welcome Joanne at a time of significant development and growth for Oculis. Joanne brings global industry and operational expertise as well as strong leadership, which will be key as our late-stage product candidates start their Phase 3 trials. She is a critical addition to our team as we continue to strengthen our pipeline to addresss the whole continuum of care in key areas of ophthamology,” said Riad Sherif, M.D., CEO of Oculis. “Joanne will be the first Oculis Global Officer based in the newly opened Hong Kong office, an important milestone as we move towards becoming a global ophthalmic company providing transformative treatments to patients with eye disease worldwide.”
“I am thrilled to be joining Oculis, a company who has the potential to transform the lives of patients who are impacted by major eye disease.” added Dr. Chang. “It is remarkable that Oculis has developed two first in class products, OCS-01 the first and only eye drop with proven efficacy and safety in Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) and OCS-02 the first topical eye drop Anti-TNF alpha antibody fragment validated in severe Dry Eye and Uveitis. I look forward to progressing OCS-01 and OCS-02 into Phase 3 clinical trials and working with the medical community to leverage their transformational potential in DME as well as Dry Eye and Uveitis, respectively.”
Dr. Chang brings to Oculis more than 20 years of global experience in medical and regulatory affairs, clinical development, health economics and market access. She joins Oculis from Novartis where she spent the last 13 years in various senior leadership roles in China, U.S., and global functions. At Novartis, Dr. Chang led the Global Medical Affairs team where she provided strategic oversight for the ophthalmology portfolio, including retinal, gene therapy and ocular surface disease. Before that, Dr. Chang served as Head of Clinical Development & Medical Regulatory Affairs in North America at Alcon where she oversaw all strategic, medical, and scientific aspects of clinical development. She was also Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Medical Affairs in Greater China at Novartis, where she established the medical organization for which she provided strong and strategic leadership to capture growth opportunities in China.
Prior to Novartis, Dr. Chang held various senior roles in health economics, strategic marketing and clinical development at key global pharmaceutical companies including Bayer, Aventis, Johnson & Johnson, and Abbott Laboratories.
Dr. Chang gained her Doctor of Medicine from Wuhan University and has further completed the post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. at the University of Maryland Baltimore.