Foundation Fighting Blindness gets new CEO

The Foundation Fighting Blindness announced Wednesday that it has named Benjamin Yerxa as its new CEO, effective immediately.

The Columbia-based foundation funds research for treatments and cures for inherited retinal diseases. It currently funds more than 150 researchers across the globe.

Officials with the group cited Yerxa’s 20 years of pharmaceutical and scientific experience in naming him to the post.

He previously served as president and co-founder of Envisia Therapeutics, a privately held biotechnology company that works on ocular therapies. He also served in posts at several ophthalmology-based R&D organizations, including Liquidia Technologies, Clearside Biomedical, Parion Sciences and Inspire Pharmaceuticals. Yerxa holds 60 U.S. patents.

David Brint, the foundation’s chairman, said there have been significant breakthroughs in the past decade but there is more work to be done and Yerxa could help particularly with drug development.

In a statement, Yerxa said it was an exciting time to join the foundation, “as the basic science around the mechanisms causing inherited retinal diseases is now ready for translation into new therapies. I look forward to working with this tremendous community of supporters and researchers to help make breakthrough, sight saving therapies a reality.”

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