ViaLase announces appointments to executive team

Company officials will drive global commercialization strategy for the company’s novel, non-invasive micron-accurate, OCT-guided femtosecond laser procedure for the treatment of glaucoma.

ViaLase Inc. this week announced the appointment of several key officials who will play key roles in the company’s efforts to develop its novel, non-invasive, femtosecond laser with integrated OCT imaging that is accurate to the micron level.

According to a news release, ViaLase has named Tom Frinzi as executive chairman of the Board, Richard Lewis, M.D., as chief medical officer, Shawn O’Neil as chief commercial officer, and Brendan O’Herlihy as vice president, Global Commercial Operations.

The company’s OCT-guided femtosecond laser technology is designed to perform the first femtosecond laser, image-guided, high-precision trabeculotomy (FLigHT) procedure for the treatment of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG).

“I am thrilled to welcome Tom, Rick, Shawn, and Brendan to ViaLase,” said Tibor Juhasz, PhD, founder and CEO of ViaLase. “Their significant industry and commercialization experience compliments the level of optical and laser engineering experience we have in the foundational team. This puts ViaLase in a position of strength as we prepare for CE Mark and FDA 510k clearance. As we transition from an internally-focused development stage company to an externally-focused commercial organization, I am confident that ViaLase has the talent in place to bring a novel technology to glaucoma patients with a best-in-class global strategy.”

Frinzi has nearly 40 years of experience leading Fortune 500 corporations as well as small- to mid-size private equity enterprises in their transition to next-level growth organizations. Frinzi believes that people are a company’s greatest asset galvanizing organizations around clear goals, building strong operating cultures and high-performance management teams that are committed to customers, employees, and shareholder success. In addition to ViaLase, Mr. Frinzi serves on the boards of Aurion Biotech, CorneaGen, Neurolens, and Staar Surgical, and is past president of several organizations, including Abbott Medical Optics, Johnson & Johnson Surgical Vision, and WaveTec Vision.

“What excites me about joining ViaLase is that the company has the potential to truly change the way that glaucoma is managed with this transformative technology,” Frinzi said in the news release. “Our goal at ViaLase is to build on the legacy of femtosecond lasers, which have historically demonstrated value creation in both refractive and cataract markets with the introduction of the first micron-accurate, OCT-guided femtosecond laser designed specifically for the treatment of glaucoma. It’s an exciting time in the evolution of the company, and I’m proud to be a part of this journey.”

Lewis is an ophthalmologist, glaucoma specialist, and researcher. The practice he co-founded, Sacramento Eye Consultants of Sacramento California, was one of the first to offer LASIK surgery and is one of the leading clinical research practices in the United States, having participated in more than 100 cataract and glaucoma clinical trials. Lewis is a former president of the American Glaucoma Society and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and the former chief medical officer of Aerie Pharmaceuticals.

“ViaLase has the opportunity to address several unmet needs in the current treatment of glaucoma,” Lewis said in the release. “The ability to visualize the conventional outflow pathway at a micron level and then precisely deliver a femtosecond laser to create a channel in the trabecular meshwork to promote aqueous outflow, all within a non-invasive procedure, presents a real advancement for patient care.”