GrayBug Announces Leadership Transition

  • Jeffrey L. Cleland, Ph.D., co-founder and former CEO of Versartis, to assume interim CEO position
  • Christy Shaffer, Ph.D., Managing Director of Hatteras Discovery, named Executive Chair of the board

BALTIMORE, May 21, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- GrayBug, Inc., a privately held pharmaceutical company developing drug delivery therapies and sustained-release compounds for the treatment of eye diseases, announced today that Jeffrey L. Cleland, Ph.D., will assume the role of interim Chief Executive Officer. Christy Shaffer, Ph.D., Managing Director of Hatteras Discovery at Hatteras Venture Partners, has been named Executive Chair of GrayBug's board of directors. Drs. Cleland and Shaffer will work together to accelerate GrayBug's programs and advance potential collaborations. President and CEO Michael O'Rourke will transition into a strategic advisory role.

Dr. Cleland led Versartis from inception through a successful IPO in 2014 and continues to serve as a Senior Scientific Advisor. Dr. Cleland joined GrayBug's board in 2014 and has extensive experience in advancing novel technology through clinical development. Dr. Shaffer has more than 20 years of biopharmaceutical leadership experience. She joined Inspire Pharmaceuticals as its first full-time employee in 1995, and presided over the company's growth to over $100 million in annual revenue prior to retiring in 2010. Dr. Shaffer joined GrayBug's board in 2015. She also serves as Chair of the board of Clearside Biomedical, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing first-in-class drug therapies to treat blinding diseases of the eye.

"We're thrilled that we'll be able to leverage Jeff's deep clinical and business expertise as GrayBug enters a new and rapid phase of growth highlighted by the advancement of our lead program, GB-102 for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), to the clinic," said Dr. Shaffer.

She added, "The board of directors is grateful to Michael for his significant contributions and leadership over the past three years. As GrayBug's CEO, he played a critical role in creating and implementing the company's business and financing strategy, which generated strong interest from investors and potential partners. We look forward to his continued contributions in an advisory capacity as he resumes his activities as President of Scotia Vision Consultants."

"GrayBug's technology has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of ocular diseases for the benefit of patients," said Dr. Cleland. "I look forward to working with Christy and the entire GrayBug team to rapidly move GB-102 into clinical development to bring this important therapy to AMD patients."

About GrayBug

GrayBug is a Baltimore, Maryland-based privately held preclinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing breakthrough products for serious ocular diseases. The company is developing a continuum of therapeutic products for major ocular disease indications utilizing proprietary micro- and nanoparticle controlled-release technologies. The broad platform has applicability for potential strategic partnerships. GrayBug's technologies were co-developed by several of the founders, including Justin Hanes, Ph.D, Lewis J. Ort Professor of Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in collaboration with Dr. Peter J. McDonnell and Dr. Peter Campochiaro, leading ophthalmology clinician-scientists from the Wilmer Eye Institute.

The technologies were licensed from Johns Hopkins University. For more information, please visit

CONTACT: Lindsay Edwards 443-445-0426

Source:GrayBug, Inc.