Benjamin Yerxa Named Foundation Fighting Blindness CEO

Yerxa brings more than 20 years’ experience in ocular drug development to his new role

COLUMBIA, MD – October 17, 2017 – The Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) today announced that it has selected Benjamin Yerxa, a biotechnology and drug development executive, as its Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is the world’s leading private funder and strategic champion of research on preventions, treatments and cures for inherited retinal diseases.  It currently funds over 150 researchers at 61 locations worldwide.

“We are very excited to have Ben Yerxa as the Foundation’s new CEO,” says FFB chairman David Brint.  “Research on cures for inherited retinal diseases has enjoyed significant breakthroughs in the last decade but there is more work to do.  Ben has the skills and experience, particularly in the areas of drug development and partnerships between researchers, industry and venture capital, to help FFB complete its mission of eradicating blindness caused by gene mutations.” 

Yerxa brings broad experience in translating research discoveries into clinical milestones and commercial products.  In his most recent role as President and co-founder of Envisia Therapeutics, he led an organization focused on the development of novel ocular sustained delivery therapies for the front and back of the eye.  He also has extensive pharmaceutical and scientific management experience having served as a co-founder and in other senior executive positions in several ophthalmology-based R&D organizations, including Liquidia Technologies, Clearside Biomedical, Parion Sciences and Inspire Pharmaceuticals.

Yerxa holds 60 U.S. patents and has worked in multiple other disease areas including pulmonary, cardiovascular and HIV.

“This is a really exciting time to be joining FFB, as the basic science around the mechanisms causing inherited retinal diseases is now ready for translation into new therapies,” says Yerxa. “I look forward to working with this tremendous community of supporters and researchers to help make breakthrough, sight saving therapies a reality.”

Yerxa was selected after an extensive national search.  “FFB and its scientific advisors are excited to work with Dr. Yerxa as the new CEO,” says chair of the FFB Scientific Advisory Board Jacque Duncan, MD. “He brings a strong scientific understanding of pressing, unmet needs in medicine, along with a wealth of experience in drug development and management of biomedical enterprises. His innovative, entrepreneurial expertise will significantly strengthen FFB as we work to support research that will lead to therapies for patients affected with inherited retinal degenerations.”

FFB has been the unparalleled leader in supporting research on inherited retinal diseases for over 46 years.  The Foundation’s Clinical Research Institute (CRI) is focused on accelerating the clinical development of new potential treatments.

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Since the Foundation Fighting Blindness was established in 1971 it has raised more than $700 million toward its mission to prevent, treat and cure blindness caused by inherited retinal diseases. In excess of 10 million Americans, and millions more worldwide, experience vision loss due to retinal degenerations. Through its support of focused and innovative science, and by teaming with industry, the Foundation drives the research that has and will continue to provide treatments and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome and other inherited retinal diseases.  Our goal is to advance the most promising retinal disease research in the world and across the spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases.  You can help.  Every donation moves us closer to a cure.


Original Date: 
Tuesday, October 17, 2017