YARDLEY, Pa., Oct. 30, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Optinose (NASDAQ:OPTN), a pharmaceutical company focused on patients treated by ENT and allergy specialists, today announced the addition of five key members to the leadership team to drive the commercialization of XHANCETM (fluticasone propionate) nasal spray. The Company has appointed Ricci Whitlow as Vice President of Technical Operations; Harry Sacks, MD, as Vice President of Medical Affairs and Corporate Medical Officer; John Peterkins as Vice President of Market Access; David Fabbri, Vice President of Sales; and Andrew Muzsi as Vice President of Marketing.
“Our success depends on our people and our culture,” said Peter Miller, Chief Executive Officer of Optinose. “Adding these leaders to our organization will strengthen our ability to execute as we prepare for the planned second quarter 2018 launch of XHANCE.”
“We’re pleased to have such talented and successful people joining us,” added Ramy Mahmoud, MD, President of Optinose. “These professionals bring an extraordinary depth of experience to our team, and together we will be better prepared than ever to grow our company and improve lives for millions of people.”
Ricci Whitlow joined Optinose as Vice President, Technical Operations. With over 20 years of manufacturing, supply chain and product development related experience, Ms. Whitlow will drive all activities associated with the commercial supply chain; clinical supplies; chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC); and device development of the product portfolio. She was most recently responsible for management of nine pharmaceutical manufacturing sites as part of Catalent, a large contract pharmaceutical manufacturer, and has extensive prior technical operations experience at companies including Johnson & Johnson and LifeCell.
Harry Sacks, MD, FAAP, will serve as Vice President, Medical Affairs and Corporate Medical Officer, bringing over 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical clinical development and medical affairs and deep expertise in the respiratory therapeutic category. Dr. Sacks was recently Vice President and Head of Respiratory, US Clinical Development and Medical Affairs at Novartis. Dr. Sacks also held leadership roles in medical and scientific affairs and clinical development with a strong focus on respiratory at companies including Forest Research Institute, Meda Pharmaceuticals and Schering-Plough Corporation.
John Peterkins joined Optinose as the Vice President, Market Access, assuming leadership of all components of market access including pricing strategy, contracting, patient access and health plan coverage. Mr. Peterkins has more than 20 years of relevant experience in the pharmaceutical industry, having recently established a market access team for the launch of the branded business unit and helping lead Sun Pharmaceuticals through three launches in two years. Prior to Sun, Mr. Peterkins spent more than 18 years at Johnson & Johnson in various leadership roles in the pharma/biologics business including leading the managed markets team for Immunology, Oncology and Virology for the Janssen Biotech and Janssen Therapeutics businesses.
Assuming the new role of Vice President of Sales is David Fabbri. Mr. Fabbri is a seasoned business leader with more than 20 years of pharmaceutical commercial experience in sales, marketing and commercial operations roles. At Optinose, Mr. Fabbri is responsible for building, training and leading a performance-driven sales team and supporting sale force infrastructure. Mr. Fabbri’s prior commercial experience includes leadership roles at Johnson & Johnson and at Sun Pharmaceuticals where he led numerous marketing and field sales teams and executed multiple product launches.
Andrew Muzsi takes on the role of Vice President of Marketing and will lead the development and implementation of the marketing strategy and plans. Mr. Muzsi brings 20 years of broad marketing experience to Optinose including U.S. marketing, global marketing and payer marketing. Mr. Muzsi has prior experience at Johnson & Johnson and Bayer and most recently worked at Bristol-Myers Squibb where he held several marketing roles within the US and global organizations including key leadership positions launching market leading products including Eliquis.
Optinose is a specialty pharmaceutical company on a mission to improve lives with a focus on patients cared for by ear, nose and throat (ENT) and allergy specialists. The Company’s first two products rely on our patented Exhalation Delivery Systems (EDS), which is capable of deep intranasal deposition of medication. These exhalation delivery systems enable the creation of products with potential for meaningful new clinical benefits. Optinose developed its first product, Onzetra® Xsail® (sumatriptan nasal powder), through the completion of Phase 3 and subsequently out-licensed the product to Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Onzetra Xsail received FDA approval and was launched in the U.S. in 2016. The Company’s second product, XHANCE (fluticasone propionate) nasal spray, is approved for the treatment of nasal polyps in patients 18 years of age and older and is in development for the treatment of chronic sinusitis. Subsequent Optinose pipeline products will aim to serve the needs of patients treated by ENT and allergy specialists and are expected to include products using EDS as well as other technologies. The Company is also currently engaged in the early development of products for neurologic orphan diseases for which the “nose-to-brain” application of an EDS may enable improved treatment. This includes OPN-300 (Prader-Willi Syndrome, autism, and others) and OPN-21 (narcolepsy and others). Optinose has corporate offices in the U.S., U.K. and Norway. To learn more, please visit www.optinose.com.
Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements that are not historical facts are hereby identified as forward-looking statements for this purpose and include, among others, statements relating to: the planned launch of XHANCE in the second quarter of 2018; development plans and potential advantages of XHANCE and our product candidates; and other statements regarding our future operations, financial performance, prospects, intentions, objectives and other future events. Forward-looking statements are based upon management’s current expectations and assumptions and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results and events to differ materially and adversely from those indicated by such forward-looking statements including, among others: our ability to establish supply chain and commercial infrastructure and capabilities to launch XHANCE; uncertainties relating to the initiation, completion and results of pre-clinical and clinical trials; and the risks, uncertainties and other factors discussed in the “Risk Factors” section and elsewhere in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission - which are available at www.sec.gov. As a result, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statements made in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release, and we undertake no obligation to update such forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
Optinose Media Contact
Kate Traynor, Sloane & Company