About Us

Our Mission

Nacuity Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to develop a breakthrough treatment for retinitis pigmentosa (“RP”) and other ophthalmological indications. Our lead technology is based on studies from the laboratory of Dr. Peter Campochiaro at the Wilmer Eye Institute involving oxidative stress in the retina.

Nacuity has assembled an accomplished team and has received significant financial and technical support from the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB), as well as substantial financial support from private investors. The mission of FFB is to drive research providing prevention, treatments and cures for people affected by blinding retinal diseases. Over the last nearly 50 years, FFB has invested over $700 million in this effort. FFB is a supporter of Dr. Campochiaro’s research and of Nacuity’s trials through a matching program grant to, and direct investment in, Nacuity.


Halden Conner

Chairman, CEO, Co-Founder
  • Former Alcon Laboratories Board Member
  • Former Wilmer Advisory Council Member
  • Co-founder, Protom International

G. Michael Wall, Ph.D.

  • 22 years at Alcon Laboratories, directing all phases of ophthalmic, otic, nasal drug development, numerous products
  • 25 patents, >100 pubs, 2 books, 3 chapters,
  • Directed more than 40 clinical trials
  • PhD, Med Chem, Univ Miss Sch Pharm
  • Harvard Business School AMP

Jami R. Kern, M.B.A., Ph.D.

VP of Clinical Affairs
  • Extensive experience, pharmaceutical and medical device industries
  • Led clinical development and medical affairs at Alcon Research for 15 years
  • M.B.A., Neeley School of Business at TCU, Ph.D. in Biomedical Science, Molecular Bio & Biochem, UNT Health Science Center

Lee Anderson, M.D.

Ophthalmologist in Residence
  • Over 20 years in practice specializing in Ophthalmology and Retinal Disease
  • M.D., University of Texas Medical Branch
  • Fellowship Bascom Palmer Eye Institute

Charles Lieser, J.D.,CPA

  • Owner, Weaver, LLP, 32 yrs
  • 40 plus years experience public accounting
  • Principal and advisor to numerous companies

Board of Directors

Halden Conner

  • Chairman, CEO, Co-Founder, Nacuity Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Former Alcon Laboratories Board Member
  • Former Wilmer Advisory Council Member
  • Co-founder, Protom International

David Wohlberg, Esq.

  • Vice-Chairman, Co-Founder, Nacuity Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Former President, ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Inc.
  • Of Counsel, TroyGould PC

Gerald D. Cagle, Ph.D.

  • 31 years at Alcon Laboratories, including serving as Global Head R&D, Chief Scientific Officer and VP Regulatory Affairs
  • Holds more than 20 issued patents and has authored numerous peer reviewed scientific articles
  • Director, Aerie, Clearside Biomedical, GrayBug Drug Delivery and FFB-CRI

Robert Ruffolo, Ph.D., D.Sc., D.Eng., F.C.P.P.

  • Retired President of R&D, and former Corporate Senior VP, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (now Pfizer)
  • Former Senior VP/Director of Worldwide Research, and Senior VP/Director of Worldwide Biological Sciences, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals (now GlaxoSmithKline)
  • Former Chairman, Cardiovascular Research Committee, Lilly Research Laboratories

Robin Steele, J.D., LL.M.

  • Director, Daré Bioscience, Inc., Coagulant Therapeutics, Inc., and OcuTerra Therapeutics, Inc.
  • Former Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of InterMune, Inc.
  • Former Vice President of Legal Affairs for North America, Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Benjamin R. Yerxa, Ph.D.

  • CEO, Foundation Fighting Blindness and RD Fund
  • Former President and Chief Scientific Officer, Envisia Therapeutics
  • Former Chief Scientific Officer, Liquidia Technologies
  • Former Vice President for Research and Development, Clearside Biomedical

Scientific Advisory Board

David Birch, Ph.D.

  • Scientific Director, Retina Foundation of the Southwest
  • Director, Rose-Silverthorne Retinal Degenerations Laboratory
  • Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara

Jacque Duncan, M.D.

  • Professor, Clinical Ophthalmology and Academic Director, Retina Service, Department of Ophthalmology, University of California San Francisco
  • Chair, Foundation Fighting Blindness Scientific Advisory Board
  • M.D., University of California San Francisco

Nancy Holekamp, M.D.

  • Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine
  • Director of Retina Services, Pepose Vision Institute
  • M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Richard L. Lindstrom, M.D.

  • Founder and Attending surgeon, Minnesota Eye Consultants
  • Senior Lecturer and Trustee, University Foundation at the University of Minnesota
  • Executive Committee and Board of Directors, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
  • M.D., University of Minnesota

Mark Pennesi, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Associate Prof and Chief of Ophthalmic Genetics, Casey Eye Institute
  • Prevent Blindness and FFB development awards for transitional research in RP
  • M.D./Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine

Tim Stout, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.

  • Director, Cullen Eye Institute, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Chair, Department of Ophthalmology, Baylor College of Medicine
  • M.D./Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine
  • MBA University of Oregon


Joy Cavagnaro, Ph.D., DABT, ATS, RAC, FRAPS 

President, Access BIO
  • Areas of expertise include translation of novel therapeutic modalities: vaccines, cellular and gene therapies, animal-based and plant-based biotherapeutics, biotechnology-derived and tissue engineered products. Over 25 years of experience in biotech spanning academia, the CRO and biotech industries, and government (CBER/FDA) 
  • Serves as an SAB Member for several companies globally 
  • Education: Ph.D. in Biochemistry, UNC Chapel Hill; postgraduate work at Duke and Boston University Medical Centers 

James R. Herman, Ph.D., DABT

President and Partner, INDS, Inc.; Consultant, Preclinical Science
  • Previously, Drug Safety Research Site Lead at Pfizer Global Research and Development in Ann Arbor, MI, responsible for all personnel, resources, policies and procedures in General Toxicology, Pathology, and Investigative Toxicology (including Clinical Pathology labs)
  • Authored and/or critically reviewed nonclinical portions of over 100 IND and NDA submissions, including sections required for IBs and product labeling, and in addressing impurity issues
  • Education: Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison

Douglas G. Johnson, Ph.D.

President, OCAM Solutions, Inc.
  • Consultant, Chemistry and Manufacturing. Over 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Previously led chemistry and manufacturing for 10+ years at Allos Therapeutics where he was Vice President of Manufacturing and Vice President of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Education: B.A. in Philosophy, Wheaton College; Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, University of Minnesota

Frances Kane, Ph.D.

President of Apropos Pharmaceutical Consulting, LLC.; Consultant, Regulatory Affairs and Clinical Science
  • Extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry, with a wide range of experience in regulatory, project management, clinical and preclinical functions
  • Dissertation research examined the effects of diabetes mellitus on the retina. Led preparation of clinical portions of NDA for AMD at Alcon
  • Education: B.S. in Chemistry, University of Central Florida; M.S., Chemistry, University of South Carolina; Ph.D., Pharmacology, University of Rochester

Angela Kothe, O.D., Ph.D.

Clinical and Regulatory Affairs Consultant, Silver Pharma Consulting, Inc.
  • Previously, an 18-year tenure at Alcon Laboratories in clinical research and regulatory affairs, where she was responsible for development and implementation of global regulatory strategy and operations
  • Extensive experience in ophthalmic drug development, with over 18 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Education: B.Sc. Life Sciences, Queen’s University; O.D., Optometry and Ph.D., Visual Electrophysiology, University of Waterloo