2018, Dr. Manuso served as President, CEO and Vice Chairman of RespireRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (OTC:QB:RSPI), a Phase 3-ready, clinical-stage respiratory and neurological pharmaceutical company. Since 2018, Dr. Manuso has served as managing member of Laurelside LLC, a family office, which he founded. Dr. Manuso has served as board chairman and chairman of the audit, governance and nominating, pricing and compensation committees of multiple companies’ boards, including Biotechnology Industry Organization, Novelos Therapeutics, Inc., Merrion Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (MERR:IEX; Dublin, Ireland), Inflazyme Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IZP-TSE; Vancouver, Canada), Symbiontics, Inc., which he co-founded (sold to BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. as ZyStor, Inc.), Montigen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Galenica Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Supratek Pharma, Inc., EuroGen, Ltd. (London, UK), where he was chairman, and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, where he also served as vice president. Dr. Manuso holds a B.A. with honors in Economics and Chemistry from New York University, a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology and Genetics from the New School University, and an Executive MBA from Columbia Business School. Ocuphire believes that Dr. Manuso is qualified to serve on the board of directors of the Company due to his over 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry in finance, business development and management, and his experience as a member of the boards of directors of multiple pharmaceutical companies, both domestic and foreign.
Richard Rodgers, MBA, has served on our Board and as chair of the Audit Committee and member of the compensation committee since November 2020. Mr. Rodgers previously served as a member of the board of Rexahn from 2014 until November 2020. Mr. Rodgers currently serves on the board of directors of Ardelyx, Inc. (Nasdaq: ARDX), a publicly traded pharmaceutical company, and the board of directors of Sagimet Biosciences, Inc., a privately held clinical stage pharmaceutical company. Mr. Rodgers was co-founder, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Secretary and Treasurer of TESARO, Inc., which was acquired GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE/NYSE: GSK) in January 2019, from March 2010 until August 2013. He served as the Chief Financial Officer from June 2009 to February 2010 of Abraxis BioScience, Inc. which was subsequently acquired by Celgene Corporation (Nasdaq: CELG). Prior to that, Mr. Rodgers served as Senior Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer of MGI PHARMA, INC., from 2004 until its acquisition by Eisai Co., Ltd. in January 2008. He has held finance and accounting positions at several private and public companies, including Arthur Anderson. Mr. Rodgers received a B.S. in Financial Accounting from St. Cloud State University and his MBA in Finance from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Business. Ocuphire believes that Mr. Rodgers is qualified to serve on the Board because of his extensive financial background, industry experience and service on other boards of directors of publicly traded companies.
Susan K. Benton
Susan K. Benton, MBA, has served on our Board since November 2020, as a member of the nominating and corporate governance committee since November 2020, and as a member of the compensation committee since April 2021. Ms. Benton serves as the General Manager and Head of the U.S. for Thea Pharma, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Laboratories Thea, a leading independent ophthalmic pharmaceutical company, since August 2019. Ms. Benton also serves on the boards of two privately held ophthalmic companies, Tarsius Pharma Ltd, since March 2019, and Translatum Medicus, Inc., since July 2019. From April 2015 through July 2019, she served in a number of key leadership positions at Shire, Inc. (“Shire”) and played an instrumental role in the expansion of its ophthalmic pipeline. As the Head of New Products at Shire, she led the Ophthalmic Innovation Committee that shaped and executed the growth strategy for the franchise. Before joining Shire, Ms. Benton served in a leadership capacity in Global Business Development for Bausch + Lomb Pharmaceuticals (“B+L”) from September 2011 through September 2013, where she and the Corporate Development team transacted over ten deals in three years. She was a co-Founder and CCO for an ophthalmic start-up, Sirion Therapeutics, Inc., where she launched and oversaw the commercialization of Durezol® and Zirgan® before they were sold to Alcon and B+L, respectively. Ms. Benton began her ophthalmic career at B+L in March 1995, where she assumed leadership roles as the Head of Diversified Products and the VP of Professional Sales. During her tenure, she launched B+L’s first ever branded products, Lotemax® and Alrex®, in addition to Optivar® through a co-promote with Muro Pharmaceutical. She has also served as a strategic consultant for more than a dozen start-up ophthalmic companies. Her experience outside of ophthalmology includes roles as the VP of Consumer and Professional Sales for Johnson & Johnson’s diabetes franchise, LifeScan, and senior manager roles in Sanofi Pasteur’s vaccine business. Ms. Benton earned her MBA from the University of South Florida and a BS in Biology from Muhlenberg College. Ocuphire believes that Ms. Benton is qualified to serve on the Board given her 30 years’ experience in life sciences with over 20 years focused in ophthalmology.