A specialist in the field of ophthalmology and gene therapy, Dr Girach’s appointment enhances SpliceBio’s leadership team as it accelerates lead program targeting Stargardt disease towards clinical development.
SpliceBio announced its appointment of Aniz Girach, MD, as chief medical officer.
An ophthalmologist with more than 25 years of industry experience in medical retina and gene therapy for inherited retinal diseases, Girach has been involved in the development and approval of four drugs in ophthalmology.
According to the company’s news release, Girach previously served as global head of ophthalmology at Merck & Co and vice president, Clinical Development at Alcon Laboratories. At Oxurion NV (formerly ThromboGenics) he was global head of ophthalmology and chief medical officer where he oversaw the development and approval of Ocriplasmin (Jetrea), a first-in-class biologic therapy for retinal disease.1
The company also noted in its news release Girach also served as chief medical officer at Nightstar Therapeutics where he led and oversaw the development of its gene therapy programs for inherited retinal diseases, before its acquisition by Biogen for $800 million. Before joining SpliceBio, he led the development of genetic therapies for inherited retinal diseases at ProQR Therapeutics NV as its Chief Medical Officer.
“Dr Girach joins SpliceBio at an important time of growth as we accelerate our lead program targeting Stargardt disease into clinical development,” Miquel Vila-Perelló, PhD, CEO and co-founder of SpliceBio, said in a news release. “Dr Girach’s unrivaled experience in the field of ophthalmology and genetic medicines will be instrumental as we further strengthen our leadership team and maximize the potential of our proprietary Protein Splicing platform.”
Girach noted in the news release inherited retinal diseases are a heterogenous group of rare diseases that can lead to severe visual disability and blindness, affecting approximately 5.5 million people worldwide.
“With its next generation Protein Splicing platform, SpliceBio is pioneering a new gene therapy modality that has the potential to transform the treatment paradigm for inherited retinal diseases and I am delighted to be joining the stellar leadership team at a pivotal time for the company,” he said in the news release.
Moreover, the company noted Girach spent 11 years in clinical practice and academia before joining the pharmaceutical industry with Eli Lilly as its senior global ophthalmologist and Medical Director where he specialized in retinal diseases.
According to the news release, Girach is currently a visiting and honorary professor at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is a reviewer for 5 peer-reviewed international ophthalmology journals.
During his career, Girach also has published 4 textbooks in ophthalmology and has more than 90 published abstracts and manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals in ophthalmology, with several invited lectures at national and international ophthalmology meetings. He currently holds Independent Board of Directorship positions for two biotechnology companies and is also the chairman of the R&D Committees for both companies.1
SpliceBio’s leadership team will be attending the upcoming 42nd Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, being held January 8-11 in San Francisco, California.