MALVERN, PA — Ocugen, Inc. (NASDAQ: OCGN) announced the recent appointment of Robert J. Hopkins, MD, MPH & TM, FACP, FIDSA, as Chief Medical Officer. Arun Upadhyay, PhD, previously Senior Vice President, Research & Development, will now serve as the Company’s Chief Scientific Officer, overseeing the development and manufacturing of Ocugen’s clinical and commercial product portfolio and evaluating new technologies.
“We are extremely pleased to have Dr. Hopkins driving our clinical programs as his expertise across the industry along with his work at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority will provide us with tremendous insights in bringing innovative solutions to patients,” said Dr. Shankar Musunuri, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Co-Founder of Ocugen.
“Dr. Upadhyay has been invaluable in establishing Ocugen’s unique modifier gene delivery platform and collaborating with our partner Bharat Biotech in the development of COVAXIN™,” said Dr. Musunuri. “It’s truly been a pleasure working alongside him for the past several years, and we look to his scientific leadership to deliver new breakthroughs in medicine.”
Dr. Hopkins has more than 25 years of experience as a physician and clinical researcher. In addition to his work in government organizations, he has held senior-level positions at Merck Research Labs, DynPort Vaccine Company, Emergent BioSolutions, and Aeras. He has developed and commercialized multiple vaccine and therapeutic products, Phases 1 through 4. Prior to joining Ocugen, he was the Chief Medical Officer at Adaptive Phage Therapeutics where he oversaw regulatory affairs, clinical development, and clinical operations.
“I look forward to bringing my vaccines and therapeutics experience to Ocugen,” said Dr. Hopkins. “It’s imperative that we provide additional options in the fight against COVID-19, as well as deliver new gene and cell therapies to address unmet medical need.”
Dr. Upadhyay has spent more than 20 years in discovery research and innovation developing novel therapeutic modalities and drug-delivery technologies. He has been leading nonclinical, early-to-late-stage global product development and manufacturing, bioanalyses, and clinical trial supply management. Dr. Upadhyay has led multiple successful regulatory submissions in the U.S. He has worked extensively in drug development—ranging from small molecules to biologics, and advanced cell and gene therapy modalities.
Prior to joining Ocugen, he led ophthalmic drug development and delivery research at the University of Colorado Denver in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. There, Dr. Upadhyay was instrumental in developing novel approaches for sustained and targeted drug delivery of peptides, proteins, RNA, and DNA to cells and tissues. Dr. Upadhyay also led the engineering of polymeric micro and nano carriers’ system of vaccine antigens to enhance immunogenicity and protective immunity.
“I’m excited to expand my role at Ocugen and lead our R&D and manufacturing teams to advance our product pipeline and evolve the Company in gene therapy and regenerative medicine,” said Dr. Upadhyay.
Dr. Hopkins and Dr. Upadhyay are part of Ocugen’s leadership team, reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer.
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