James Mazzo Appointed Executive Chairman of Neurotech Pharmaceuticals


CUMBERLAND, R.I.— Neurotech Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company developing sight-saving therapies for chronic retinal disease, announced that James Mazzo was appointed the company's executive chairman.

Mazzo, a long time leader in the ophthalmic industry, is the former CEO of Abbott Medical Optics (AMO), is an operating partner at Versant Ventures and was recently named chairman and CEO of AcuFocus, a Versant portfolio company.

As executive chairman, Neurotech said, Mazzo will engage with the Neurotech team to advance the company's novel technology platform through the clinical development stage toward market availability. "Neurotech's technology is truly groundbreaking and I am confident it will bring improved therapy to serious retinal diseases such as wet and dry age-related macular degeneration, and macular telangiectasia—diseases that ultimately cause blindness," said Mazzo.

Neurotech's patented core technology platform, Encapsulated Cell Technology (ECT), is a genetically engineered implant that enables the continuous delivery of protein drugs directly into the vitreous of the eye. The company has demonstrated that a single living ECT implant can treat a diseased retina for two years or more, thereby eliminating the need for monthly injections, the conventional approach to treating retinal disease.

ECT systems can produce all classes of modern biotherapeutic drugs, including peptides, hormones, monoclonal antibodies, antibody fragments and next generation alternative scaffolds, the company said. As a robust technology platform, ECT can be adapted to also generate protein drugs targeting uveitis, glaucoma and other ophthalmic indications, it added.

"I admire Jim's commitment to and extensive accomplishments in the ophthalmic world. We are honored to have him help lead our company as we advance Neurotech into the next phase of growth," said Ted Danse, president and CEO of Neurotech.

Jim Mazzo's 35-year career in the health care industry includes seven years as chairman, president and CEO of Advanced Medical Optics (AMO), which was sold to Abbott Labs in 2009 for $2.8 billion. He was previously with Allergan for over 20 years in a variety of expanding roles, working and living in the U.S., England, Italy and Canada. He led the spinoff of AMO from Allergan in 2002, expanding the business into a $1 billion industry-leading, publicly-traded corporation. Most recently, he has served as senior vice president, Abbott Laboratories and president, Abbott Medical Products.