About Us

Management Team

  • George Lasezkay, Pharm.D., J.D.

    George Lasezkay, Pharm.D., J.D.

    President and Chief Executive Officer

    Close
    Dr. Lasezkay has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Clearside since March 2020, as Interim CEO from April 2019-March 2020, and has been a member of the board of directors since August 2018. Dr. Lasezkay has an accomplished history of success in the life sciences industry. For the past 15 years, he has served as an independent director on the boards of a number of domestic and foreign emerging biopharmaceutical companies, both public and private. Dr. Lasezkay currently serves on the board of directors of TheraVida, Inc., a clinical stage drug development company. Previously, Dr. Lasezkay served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel at Acucela Inc., a development stage company that specializes in identifying and developing novel ophthalmic therapeutics. For the 12 years prior to joining Acucela, he was President of Horizon Pharma Group, a private life sciences consultancy practice. Prior to his private consultancy practice, Dr. Lasezkay was Corporate Vice President for Corporate Development at Allergan, Inc., the global pharmaceutical and medical aesthetics company. His 13 years of progressive experience at Allergan includes a number of executive leadership positions, including being a member of the company’s Executive Committee, Assistant General Counsel for Commercial Affairs, and General Counsel for the Asia-Pacific Region. In these positions, he played a critical role in developing corporate strategy and was responsible for a wide variety of licensing, R&D collaboration and acquisition transactions involving new technologies, products and companies. Earning B.S. Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and a J.D. degree from the Southern California Gould School of Law, Dr. Lasezkay also has a multi-disciplinary background in private firm and in-house legal practice, hospital pharmacy practice, clinical pharmacokinetics consultation and clinical drug research.
    • Ciulla

      Thomas A. Ciulla, M.D., MBA

      Chief Medical Officer and Chief Development Officer

      Close

      Dr. Ciulla has served as our Chief Medical Officer and Chief Development Officer since March 2020. He joined Clearside as Chief Medical Officer in October 2018. Prior to joining Clearside, Dr. Ciulla served a VP role, as Medical Strategy Lead-Ophthalmology at Spark Therapeutics, where he defined and led medical strategy to support development and commercialization of Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl), the first FDA-approved gene therapy for a genetic disease. He previously served a VP role, in Clinical Strategy at Ophthotech Corporation.

      Before launching his executive management career, Dr. Ciulla co-directed the retina service and ocular angiogenesis research lab at Indiana University School of Medicine, the largest U.S. med school. He remains a volunteer Clinical Professor at the university and serves on the Board of Directors of Midwest Eye Institute. He is an active member of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, Macula Society, Retina Society, American Society of Retina Specialists, and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

      Dr. Ciulla has held numerous leadership roles in clinical research, including principal investigator, medical monitor, and member of scientific advisory, data safety monitoring or writing committees in over 100 national clinical trials, including CATT and registration trials for nearly all retinal therapeutics approved by the FDA. He has served on journal editorial boards, edited several textbooks, presented at over 200 conferences, and co-authored over 200 publications, including the first published U.S.-based randomized clinical trial on any intravitreal therapy in neovascular AMD. Dr. Ciulla graduated from Harvard College and UCSF Med School, followed by an internship and residency at Harvard Med School, and a fellowship at Tufts Med School. He also earned an MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, specializing in the business of medicine.

      • Charles Deignan

        Charles A. Deignan

        Chief Financial Officer

        Close

        Mr. Deignan has served as our Chief Financial Officer since 2012. He is responsible for all financial and administrative aspects of the company including financing, business planning and analysis, investor relations, tax, accounting, treasury, human resources, and information technology. Mr. Deignan has overseen multiple partnering agreements, private financings and public equity fundraising, including Clearside’s initial public offering and subsequent completion of various equity transactions and debt facilities. From 2009 to 2011, Mr. Deignan was Vice President of Finance and Administration for Salutria Pharmaceuticals. Previously, from 1999 to 2009, Mr. Deignan served in a number of roles with AtheroGenics, Inc., a publicly held biopharmaceutical company, including as its Vice President of Finance and Administration. Prior to that, he held management positions at AAIPharma, Inc. and Schering-Plough. Mr. Deignan received his B.S. degree in Business Administration from Boston University.

        • Rafael Andino

          Rafael V. Andino

          Vice President, Engineering & Manufacturing

          Close

          Mr. Andino has served as our Vice President, Engineering & Manufacturing since February 2013. Since June 2013, Mr. Andino has also served as an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. From January 2009 to February 2013, he served as Director of Research and Development for Bard Medical, a division of C.R. Bard, Inc., a publicly traded company. In 1999, Mr. Andino founded, and until 2008 served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Biofisica, Inc., a biotechnology company that developed technology to expedite wound healing and regeneration of connective tissue in humans. Prior to founding Biofisica, from 1995 to 2005 Mr. Andino was a mechanical engineer, research and development director and senior project manager for CIBA Vision, a Novartis company. He has also worked for the global technology companies E.I. Dupont de Nemours, General Electric and IBM. Mr. Andino received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and an M.B.A. from Mercer University.

          • Rick McElheny

            Rick McElheny

            Vice President, Business Development

            Close

            Mr. McElheny has served as our Vice President, Business Development since November 2016. From 2011 to 2015, Mr. McElheny Founded and served as Vice President Corporate Development and Supply Chain for Vidara Therapeutics, a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and marketing orphan drugs. From 2005 to 2011, he worked in various roles at Meda Pharmaceuticals including business development, market research, and supply chain management. Prior to Meda Pharmaceuticals he worked in various supply chain roles at Johnson and Johnson and Schering Plough. Mr. McElheny holds an M.B.A. degree from New York University and B.S. degrees in Environmental Resource Management and Business Management from Penn State University.

            • Leslie Zacks

              Leslie Zacks

              General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer

              Close

              Mr. Zacks has served as our General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer since September 2018. In a distinguished career, Mr. Zacks most recently served as Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Arbor Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he provided strategic counsel on legal, intellectual property and compliance issues. Prior to joining Arbor, Mr. Zacks was Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer at Shionogi Pharma, Inc. from 2004 to 2010. From 2002 to 2004, he worked at Hunton & Williams, LLP, where he was a partner in the Intellectual Property Litigation department. Mr. Zacks is a registered patent attorney who has held associate positions at Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy, LLP and at Webb, Carlock, Copeland, Semler and Stair, LLP. Mr. Zacks holds a J.D. and a B.A. in English from the University of Florida. Mr. Zacks serves on the Advisory Board for CURE Childhood Cancer and is on the Board of Directors for the Atlanta Track Club.

              Vice Presidents

              Barbara H. Bauschka

              Vice President, Regulatory

              Thomas Crawford

              Vice President, Supply Chain

              Colette Hall, MD

              Vice President, Safety

              Viral Kansara, Ph.D.

              Vice President, Discovery

              Lester Rodriguez

              Vice President, Quality

              Board of Directors

              • W. Humphries

                William D. Humphries

                Chairman of the Board

                Close

                Mr. Humphries has served as a director of our company since 2012 and as the chairman of our board of directors since February 2018. Mr. Humphries joined Isosceles Pharmaceuticals Inc., a biotechnology company, in May 2021, and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. From August 2018 until December 2020, he served as President and Group Company Chairman, Ortho Dermatologics of Bausch Health Companies Inc., where he previously served as Executive Vice President, Company Group Chairman, Dermatology from January 2017 to August 2018. From 2012 to December 2016, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the North American business of Merz, Inc., an affiliate of Merz Pharma Group, a specialty healthcare company. From 2006 to 2012, he served in a number of leadership positions with Stiefel Laboratories, Inc., a dermatology pharmaceutical company, including as its Chief Commercial Officer and then as its President beginning in 2008. Stiefel was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in 2009. After the acquisition, Mr. Humphries served as the President of Dermatology for Stiefel from 2009 until 2012. Before Stiefel, Mr. Humphries served in executive roles in sales and marketing, business development, and international marketing for Allergan, Inc., concluding as vice president of its U.S. skincare business. Mr. Humphries currently serves on the boards of directors of Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc., a publicly traded pharmaceutical company, and Strata Skin Sciences, Inc., a publicly traded medical device company. Mr. Humphries received his M.B.A. degree from Pepperdine University and a B.A. degree from Bucknell University. Our board of directors believes that Mr. Humphries’ experience as a pharmaceutical company executive provides him with the qualifications and skills to serve as a director of our company.

              • Richard Croarkin

                Richard Croarkin

                Close

                Mr. Croarkin has served as a director of our company since February 2016. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Croarkin was the Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and Corporate Strategy Officer of Alcon, Inc., a public ophthalmic pharmaceutical and medical device company. From 2011 through early 2013, Mr. Croarkin served as the Chief Financial Officer of Nestlé Health Science, S.A., a division of Nestlé focused on medicalized nutrition solutions for chronic medical conditions. Mr. Croarkin retired in early 2013. Mr. Croarkin currently serves on the board of directors and audit committee of Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a public commercial stage pharmaceutical company. Mr. Croarkin also occasionally serves as a panelist on the NASDAQ Listing Qualifications Panel, a panel that adjudicates appeals by companies that have received notification of delisting by the NASDAQ. In 2008 and 2009, Mr. Croarkin served as a director on the supervisory board of the German publicly traded company, Wave Light, A.G., which manufactures and globally markets laser and diagnostic systems for refractive eye surgery. Mr. Croarkin received his B.A. in economics from Georgetown University and his M.B.A. degree in finance from the University of Connecticut.

                Financial Expert
              • Jeffrey L. Edwards

                Jeffrey L. Edwards

                Close

                Mr. Edwards has served as a director of our company since September 2018. Mr. Edwards retired from Allergan, Inc. in February 2015 after nearly 22 years at the Company. Mr. Edwards served as Executive Vice President, Finance and Business Development, Chief Financial Officer of Allergan, Inc. from September 2005 to August 2014. From 2003 to 2005, Mr. Edwards served as Allergan’s Corporate Vice President, Corporate Development and previously served as Senior Vice President, Treasury, Tax and Investor Relations. Prior to joining Allergan, Mr. Edwards was with Banque Paribas and Security Pacific National Bank, where he held various senior-level positions in the credit and business development functions. Mr. Edwards currently serves on the board of directors and Compensation Committee chairman of Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., a publicly traded medical device company, as well as on the board of directors and as Audit Committee chairman of both FibroGen, Inc, a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company. Mr. Edwards received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Muhlenberg College and completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.

              • Nancy Hutson Photo.jpg

                Nancy J. Hutson, Ph.D.

                Close
                Nancy J. Hutson, Ph.D. has served as a director of Clearside since April 2020. Dr. Hutson is a highly accomplished healthcare executive with more than 30 years of experience as a seasoned research and development expert and leader within the biopharmaceutical industry. Dr. Hutson retired from Pfizer, Inc. in 2006 after spending 25 years in various research and leadership positions, serving as Senior Vice President, Pfizer Global Research and Development and Director of Pfizer's pharmaceutical R&D site, known as Groton/New London Laboratories. At Pfizer, she led 4,500 colleagues and managed a budget in excess of $1 billion. Dr. Hutson is currently a board member of Endo International, plc (ENDP), BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BCRX) and PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals, Inc (PHAS). She serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees at Illinois Wesleyan University. Dr. Hutson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. degree from Vanderbilt University. She completed a Postdoctoral fellowship in Biochemistry at University of Oxford.
              • Lasezkay

                George Lasezkay, Pharm.D., J.D.

                President and Chief Executive Officer

                Close

                Dr. Lasezkay has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Clearside since March 2020, as Interim CEO from April 2019-March 2020, and has been a member of the board of directors since August 2018. Dr. Lasezkay has an accomplished history of success in the life sciences industry. For the past 15 years, he has served as an independent director on the boards of a number of domestic and foreign emerging biopharmaceutical companies, both public and private. Dr. Lasezkay currently serves on the board of directors of TheraVida, Inc., a clinical stage drug development company. Previously, Dr. Lasezkay served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel at Acucela Inc., a development stage company that specializes in identifying and developing novel ophthalmic therapeutics. For the 12 years prior to joining Acucela, he was President of Horizon Pharma Group, a private life sciences consultancy practice. Prior to his private consultancy practice, Dr. Lasezkay was Corporate Vice President for Corporate Development at Allergan, Inc., the global pharmaceutical and medical aesthetics company. His 13 years of progressive experience at Allergan includes a number of executive leadership positions, including being a member of the company’s Executive Committee, Assistant General Counsel for Commercial Affairs, and General Counsel for the Asia-Pacific Region. In these positions, he played a critical role in developing corporate strategy and was responsible for a wide variety of licensing, R&D collaboration and acquisition transactions involving new technologies, products and companies. Earning B.S. Pharmacy and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and a J.D. degree from the Southern California Gould School of Law, Dr. Lasezkay also has a multi-disciplinary background in private firm and in-house legal practice, hospital pharmacy practice, clinical pharmacokinetics consultation and clinical drug research.

                • Christy Shaffer, Ph.D.

                  Christy Shaffer, Ph.D.

                  Venture Partner and Managing Director of Hatteras Discovery

                  Close

                  Dr. Shaffer has served as a director of Clearside since 2012 and as the chairman of our board of directors from 2012 to February 2018. Since 2011, Dr. Shaffer has served as a Venture Partner with Hatteras Venture Partners, an investment firm, and as Managing Director of Hatteras Discovery, which invests in early-stage companies in the life sciences industry sector. From 1995 to 2010, Dr. Shaffer served in increasing leadership positions at Inspire Pharmaceuticals, a publicly held biopharmaceutical company, beginning as the company’s first full-time employee and Director of Clinical Operations and eventually being appointed as Chief Executive Officer and a director of the company in 1999, as its President in 2005 and a member of its Development Committee in 2009. Prior to Inspire, she was a clinical research scientist, international project leader and Associate Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Burroughs Wellcome Co. Dr. Shaffer currently serves as a board member of the Chordoma Foundation and has served in leadership roles on several non-profit boards, including as chair of the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s advisory board, on the Board of Trustees for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and as chair of the board of CFF Therapeutic, Inc. Dr. Shaffer served on the board of G1 Therapeutics, Inc., a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company, from 2012 to June 2018. Dr. Shaffer is a receptor pharmacologist by training, earning her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Tennessee’s Health Science Center in Memphis, Tennessee. She completed post-doctoral training at The Chicago Medical School as well as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

                • Clay Thorp

                  Clay B. Thorp

                  General Partner with Hatteras Venture Partners

                  Close

                  Mr. Thorp has served as a director of our company since January 2012. Since 1995, he has co-founded eight companies in the life science arena and in 2000 co-founded Hatteras Venture Partners, a venture capital partnership that manages over $700 million across six vintages. Mr. Thorp has led investments and numerous strategic transaction processes in a range of life science companies, including biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics, and research informatics. Some of these companies include: G1 Therapeutics (Nasdaq: GTHX), Clearside Biomedical (Nasdaq: CLSD), Lysosomal Therapeutics, Inc., Asthmatx, Inc., PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: PHAS), ArtusLabs, Embrella, Kymera Therapeutics (Nasdaq: KYMR), and Synthematix, Inc. Mr. Thorp currently serves as Chairman of PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: PHAS), and as a member of the board of directors of Clearside Biomedical, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLSD), StrideBio, Inc., Vigil Neuroscience, Inc., GeneCentric Therapeutics, Inc., and Seaport Diagnostics, Inc. He is also on the Strategic and Scientific Advisory Board of Brii Biosciences. Mr. Thorp serves on the Chancellor’s Philanthropic Committee at University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, the Board of Visitors of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC-Chapel Hill and on the board of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Foundation. He holds a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from Harvard University and a B.A. in mathematics and art history from UNC-Chapel Hill.

                Investor Menu