About Us

Management Team

  • George Lasezkay, Pharm.D., J.D.

    George Lasezkay Pharm.D., J.D.

    President and Chief Executive Officer

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    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. Our board of directors believes that Dr. Lasezkay’s unique combination of clinical, legal and executive expertise, and his diverse experience working with a number of emerging biopharmaceutical companies provides him with the qualifications and skills to serve as a director of our company.
    • Ciulla

      Thomas A. Ciulla, M.D., MBA

      Chief Medical Officer and Chief Development Officer

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      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

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        Mr. Deignan has served as our Chief Financial Officer since January 2012. From 2009 to December 2011, Mr. Deignan was Vice President of Finance and Administration for Salutria Pharmaceuticals. From 1999 to 2009, Mr. Deignan served in a number of roles with AtheroGenics, Inc., a publicly held biopharmaceutical company, including as Vice President of Finance and Administration. His career has included management positions at AAIPharma, Inc., and Schering-Plough. Mr. Deignan received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Boston University.

        • Rafael Andino

          Rafael V. Andino

          Vice President, Engineering & Manufacturing

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          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

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            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

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              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 President and Company Group Chairman, Ortho Dermatologics

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                Mr. Humphries has served as a director of our company since January 2012 and was appointed as the chairman of our board of directors in February 2018. Mr. Humphries joined Valeant Pharmaceuticals on January 2, 2017 as Executive Vice President, Company Group Chairman for Ortho Dermatologics and OraPharma. He is presently President and Company Group Chairman for the Ortho Dermatologics business, including the global Solta business. Mr. Humphries has more than 32 years of experience in the specialty pharmaceutical industry, with more than 29 of those years focused on the commercialization of dermatology specialty pharmaceutical products globally. Previously, Mr. Humphries was appointed CEO of Merz North America in March 2012, where he oversaw strategic direction and collaboration among three North American companies: Merz Pharmaceuticals, LLC, Merz Aesthetics, Inc. and Merz Pharma Canada, Ltd. Mr. Humphries also served on the Merz Pharma Board and was the Chairman of the Merz, Inc. Board of Directors. Prior to joining Merz, Mr. Humphries served as the President of Stiefel, a leader in global dermatology and skin health, where he spearheaded two major acquisitions, and led the global integration of Stiefel into GlaxoSmithKline. In August 2009, Mr. Humphries was appointed President of Stiefel, a GSK company, after GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) successfully acquired Stiefel Laboratories in July 2009 for $3.6 billion dollars. Mr. Humphries was a key leader in this transaction and the commercial lead for the global integration of Stiefel into GSK. From April 2008 to August 2009, Mr. Humphries served as President of Stiefel Laboratories. Previously, Mr. Humphries was Senior Vice President, US Commercial Operations and Chief Commercial Officer. Beginning in April 2006, he served as a member of the Company’s Board of Directors. Mr. Humphries was a key leader in two major acquisitions for Stiefel: Barrier Therapeutics, Inc., which completed in 2008, and Connetics Corporation, which completed in 2006. During his tenure at Stiefel, Mr. Humphries spearheaded the development of the company’s global commercial infrastructure, commercialization of its product portfolio, and managed worldwide operational initiatives. From 1996 to 2004, Mr. Humphries served in numerous executive roles in sales and marketing, business development, and international marketing for Allergan, Inc. He completed his tenure with Allergan, Inc. as Vice President US Skin Care, where he successfully led the Skin Care business back to profitable growth and was a key colleague in the launch of Botox Cosmetic to Dermatologists. Mr. Humphries currently serves on the Board and is the Chairman of the board of Clearside Biomedical, is the Chair of the North Carolina State University Global Luxury Management Board and serves on the Aclaris Therapeutics Board. Mr. Humphries received a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He completed his undergraduate studies at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree.

              • Richard Croarkin

                Richard Croarkin

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                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

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                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.

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                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

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                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. Our board of directors believes that Dr. Lasezkay’s unique combination of clinical, legal and executive expertise, and his diverse experience working with a number of emerging biopharmaceutical companies provides him with the qualifications and skills to serve as a director of our company.

                • Christy Shaffer, Ph.D.

                  Christy Shaffer, Ph.D.

                  Venture Partner and Managing Director of Hatteras Discovery

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                  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

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                  Mr. Thorp has served as a director of our company since January 2012. In 2001, Mr. Thorp co-founded and has since served as General Partner of Hatteras Venture Partners, an investment firm, where he leads investments in a range of life science companies in the biopharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostics and research informatics sectors. Previously, he was instrumental in the founding of several life sciences companies, including serving as co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Synthematix, Inc., a chemistry informatics company that was acquired by Symyx Technologies in 2005, co-founder and former Chairman of PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., co-founder and head of corporate development for Novalon Pharmaceutical Corporation, which was sold to Karo Bio in 2000, and co-founder and president of Xanthon, Inc., a bioinformatics company with electro-chemical detection technology for direct analysis of DNA, RNA and proteins. Mr. Thorp holds a Masters of Public Policy degree from Harvard University and a B.A. degree in Mathematics and History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Our board of directors believes that Mr. Thorp’s experience as an entrepreneur and an investor in life sciences companies provides him with the qualifications and skills to serve as a director of our company.

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