Experienced Industry Executive to Lead Global Regulatory Initiatives
August 10, 2021 – Seattle, Boston and Tokyo – Aurion Biotech, whose mission is to cure blindness by developing a differentiated platform of advanced therapies to treat ocular diseases, today announced it has appointed Daniela Drago, MS, PhD, RAC as chief regulatory officer. Dr. Drago will be based in Boston and direct the company’s global regulatory strategies.
“A natural-born leader, Daniela brings to Aurion Biotech both broad and deep insights – not only in ophthalmology, but also cell therapies, gene therapies and biologics,” said Greg Kunst, chief executive officer of Aurion Biotech. “She shares our vision, our values of grit, stewardship and transformation, and our sense of urgency. We are fortunate that she will be driving our global regulatory strategy as we fulfill our mission to cure blindness by developing a platform of advanced therapies.”
The company’s first candidate is a cell therapy for the treatment of corneal endothelial dysfunction, invented by world-renowned ophthalmic surgeon and research scientist Professor Shigeru Kinoshita and his distinguished colleagues at Kyoto Prefecture University of Medicine (KPUM) in Japan.
“Throughout my career, I have developed a passion for being in the trenches of drug development. Regenerative medicine is evolving rapidly, which offers challenges, but also invites opportunities,” said Dr. Drago. “Bringing life-changing treatments to patients in need is extremely fulfilling; it’s also the cornerstone objective of Aurion Biotech’s strategy. I am excited to join a mission-based team with the determination to not only treat, but potentially cure, ocular diseases.”
Daniela Drago’s career includes leadership roles in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, consulting organizations, and academic institutions. She brings to Aurion Biotech nearly 20 years of experience and a strong track record of achievements and leadership in global regulatory affairs and drug development. Dr. Drago joins Aurion Biotech from Biogen, where she led the regulatory team responsible for development products in the United States. During her time at Biogen, she was also selected as a member of Biogen’s Gene Therapy R&D Steering Committee. Prior to Biogen, Dr. Drago spent six years at George Washington University’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences (GWU), where she held the concurrent roles of associate professor of clinical research and leadership, and director of regulatory affairs. Before GWU, Dr. Drago held positions of increasing responsibility at several companies, including Bausch & Lomb, Hoffmann-La Roche, and Vifor Pharma.
Dr. Drago is a member of the Regulatory Affairs Committee of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT). She holds a PhD in Chemistry from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), and a masters degree in Chemistry from the University of Messina, Italy.
About Aurion Biotech
Based in Seattle, Boston and Tokyo, Aurion Biotech is a clinical-stage biotech company. Our mission is to cure leading forms of blindness and transform the lives of millions of patients, by developing a platform of advanced therapies to treat ocular diseases. Our first candidate is for the treatment of corneal edema, and one of the first clinically validated cell therapies for corneal care. Healthy cells from a donor cornea are cultured in a novel, multi-step, proprietary and patented process. Cells from a single donor can be used to treat more than 100 recipient eyes. In clinical trials in Japan, patients have experienced significant and durable improvements in key measures of corneal health: visual acuity, corneal endothelial cell density and corneal thickness. The Aurion Biotech team is preparing for clinical trials in the U.S. To learn more about Aurion Biotech, a division of CorneaGen Inc., visit www.aurionbiotech.com