Restore vision in patients with retinitis pigmentosa and other degenerative retinal diseases with our novel optogenetics approach.

Investors & Partners

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Paul Bresge


Prior to co-founding Ray Therapeutics, Paul Bresge has been part of the regenerative medicine community for more than a decade, including CEO of jCyte, a cell therapy company for blinding diseases, where he played a critical role in the Company from its inception through a successful phase 2b study in patients with retinitis pigmentosa. He brings more than 30 years of experience and a proven track record of success in creating shareholder value. He has led cross-functional teams to execute and close highly complex transactions, including jCyte’s $252M licensing deal with Santen Pharmaceutical in 2020. Mr. Bresge is very passionate about bringing therapies to patients.

Peter Francis, BSc (Hons), BM, MD, PhD

Chief Medical & Scientific Officer

Peter Francis is a highly experienced biotechnology executive and an ophthalmologist clinician-scientist with expertise in ophthalmic genetics and retinal disease. He graduated from medical school in the U.K. and undertook residency in London. He obtained his PhD in ophthalmic genetics from University College, London and is fellowship trained in Retina. Peter has almost two decades of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries where he has led a number of gene therapy products from discovery to early-stage clinical development. Most recently he served as Chief Scientific Officer at 4D Molecular Therapeutics, a leader in AAV-based gene therapy and was prior, their first Chief Medical Officer and Head of Translational Research. Previously, Peter was Chief Medical Officer at RetroSense Therapeutics, the first visual optogenetics company which was successfully sold to a large pharmaceutical company.   Peter is a member of the Macula Society, the American Ophthalmological Society and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He has held academic faculty positions at St. Thomas’ Hospital, London and Casey Eye Institute, OHSU, Portland, OR. He has published about 100 peer-reviewed articles.

Terry O’Neal


Terry O’Neal has more than thirty years of executive start-up and restructure experience in several industries. He started his career at The Walt Disney Company and was later recruited by McDonnell Douglas to restructure their transportation subsidiary, which he transformed into a multi-million dollar division. Terry was then recruited by Carl Icahn as founding director and COO of Lowestfare.com, the first discount online travel site. In three years, he leveraged an initial seed investment of $100,000 to more than $300 million in annual revenues and an $800 million market enterprise value. Prior to joining Ray Therapeutics, Terry formed jCyte with Drs. Henry Klassen and Jing Yang and Paul Bresge, a cell therapy company treating blinding diseases, where he played a critical role in the Company from its inception through three clinical studies.

Jenny Holt, PMP

SVP Project Management

Jenny Holt, PMP is an experienced biotech and pharmaceutical executive with more than 25 years of experience primarily in gene therapies, ophthalmology, and oncolytic viral research. She is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara. Her first roles included scientist positions at UCSF Gladstone Institutes, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, and Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research. Most recently Jenny was head of project management at 4D Molecular Therapeutics, a leading AAV-based gene therapy company, where she managed five gene therapy products from discovery to early-stage clinical development. Jenny also was a co-founder/advisor at Ignite Immunotherapy which was purchased by Pfizer in 2019.

Kathrin Schalper, PhD

Head of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs

Kathrin Schalper, PhD, is a Regulatory Affairs executive with 20+ years of experience spanning a multitude of settings (blue chip pharma, emerging biopharma, consulting) across all phases of drug development and global lifecycle management in a wide range of therapeutic areas. She has extensive experience in interacting/negotiating with the FDA, EMA, Health Canada and national European agencies. Her leadership expertise covers both line management and matrix project environments. She is recognized as an expert in the areas of Global Regulatory Strategy, Drug Development and Project Management. She has held teaching and author assignments with the University of Southern California (USC) and the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society (RAPS).

Crawford Brown, PhD

Head of CMC/Manufacturing

Crawford Brown, PhD is a global biologics CMC pioneer in the translation of new technologies from academic idea to clinical practice. Over an industrial career of 35 years, he has made a meaningful difference to patient outcomes leading development through to marketing approval of recombinant proteins, neurotoxins, monoclonal antibodies and vaccines. Most recently as SVP Biologics and Small Molecule API in Allergan Inc. he led CMC R&D focused on ophthalmology including optogenetics following the acquisition of Retrosense and CRISPR in vivo gene editing in collaboration with Editas Medicine.

Zhuo-Hua Pan, PhD

Scientific Advisor

Zhuo-Hua Pan, PhD is the Edward T. and Ellen K. Dryer Endowed Professor of Ophthalmology, Visual and Anatomical Sciences at Wayne State University, and Scientific Director of the Ligon Research Center of Vision at the Kresge Eye Institute. Dr. Pan pioneered the field of optogenetic vision restoration in 2006 when he demonstrated that ectopic expression of microbial-type channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) in the retina restores visual responses in mice with photoreceptor degeneration. His work over the years has contributed to improve optogenetic tools and treatment strategies for vision restoration, including the development of the most light-sensitive and effective channelrhodopsins for vision restoration to date and the basis for Ray-001.

Kristina Ulrich, PhD

Head of Nonclinical/Toxicology

Kristina Ulrich, PhD is a toxicology consultant with ToxStrategies practicing in the United Kingdom with more than 15 years of experience in drug discovery and development. Dr. Ulrich is a former nonclinical assessor with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), where she reviewed nonclinical data packages submitted with applications for clinical trials and marketing authorizations in the UK and Europe. Dr. Ulrich specializes in the design and implementation of nonclinical safety strategies, nonclinical data review, problem solving and recommendations for further scientific investigations, health authority interactions and regulatory document authoring.

Qi Lu, PhD

Research Scientist

Qi Lu, PhD has over ten years of research experience in optogenetic vision restoration with multiple publications to her credit. Her expertise is in imaging, immunohistochemistry, and electrical recordings. Her dissertation work is on voltage gated calcium channel on mouse retinal bipolar cells. She continues her research, in partnership with Dr. Zhuo-Hua Pan’s team, to develop the novel microbial opsin-based strategy for treating blindness caused by retinal degeneration. Dr. Lu will oversee the execution of all research biology supporting Ray’s development pipeline.

Kevin Coleman

Associate Director Business Operations

Kevin has more than 25 years of administrative business operations experience ranging from start-up life science companies to multi-national banks. Starting his career in banking and transitioning to Life Science companies and CROs. Kevin provides Accounting, Administrative and Operations service, successful in collaborating with all levels of management while delivering on administrative strategy, thought leadership and execution excellence. Extensive experience and excellent track record of establishing and providing support to clinical stage and commercial organizations while building infrastructure in the areas of accounting, human resources administration, chief executive support, regulatory & clinical operations, and infrastructure needs.

Board of Directors

Sean Ainsworth


Sean Ainsworth is a serial entrepreneur with multiple successes in starting, leading, and selling biotechnology companies. Previously, he founded and led RetroSense Therapeutics, an optogenetic gene therapy company that advanced into human clinical trials and sold to Allergan in 2016. Earlier, he was deeply involved in the launch of Compendia Bioscience, Inc., which was acquired by Life Technologies in 2012. Sean is currently CEO and Chairman of Immusoft, a cell therapy company dedicated developing B cells as biofactories for sustained delivery of therapeutic proteins in rare pediatric indications.

Cam Gallagher

Executive Director

Cam Gallagher has more than 25 years of experience in the life science and biotech industry with a focus on corporate development, marketing, operations and early stage investing. Prior to joining Immusoft, he was a Director and Chief Business Officer at Retrosense Therapeutics, which was acquired by Allergan in 2016. Cam was Managing Director of Nerveda, LLC, a life science seed fund he co-founded in June 2007. Cam currently serves on the board of directors of Zeno Pharma, VelosBio, SelectION and Ocuphire Pharma. Prior to these roles he held management positions at Verus Pharma, CV Therapeutics and Dura Pharma. Mr. Gallagher holds an M.B.A. from the University of San Diego and a B.S. in Business Administration from Ohio University.

Dmitry Kuzmin, PhD

Board Member

Dmitry ‘Dima’ Kuzmin MSc (Oxon) PhD MRSB MIoD is the co-founder and managing partner of 4BIO Capital, a London-based investment firm focused on advanced therapies and a pioneer of advanced therapies investments. Before founding 4BIO, he served in several academic roles with research interests spanning structural biology and rational design of ion channels, optogenetics, gene therapy of neurological and psychiatric diseases, brain-computer interfaces, and information processing in the brain. He serves or served in the past on several company boards, including Araris Biotech, Redpin Therapeutics, RetroSense Therapeutics (acquired by Allergan), and others.

Gary Abrams, MD

Director and Clinical Advisor

Gary Abrams, MD is an ophthalmologist and retina specialist and is professor and former chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Wayne State University (WSU).  He founded the Ligon Research Center of Vision, dedicated to restoring vision in the blind, at WSU in 2000.  Dr. Abrams is former President of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and has received many honors including the 2005 Paul Kayser International Award in Retina Research from the Schepens International Society and the 2015 Pyron Award in Retina Research from the American Society of Retina Specialists.

Paul Bresge


Prior to co-founding Ray Therapeutics, Paul Bresge has been part of the regenerative medicine community for more than a decade, including CEO of jCyte, a cell therapy company for blinding diseases, where he played a critical role in the Company from its inception through a successful phase 2b study in patients with retinitis pigmentosa. He brings more than 30 years of experience and a proven track record of success in creating shareholder value. He has led cross-functional teams to execute and close highly complex transactions, including jCyte’s $252M licensing deal with Santen Pharmaceutical in 2020. Mr. Bresge is very passionate about bringing therapies to patients.

Scientific Advisory Board

David Boyer, MD

Clinical Advisor

David S. Boyer, M.D. is a world-renowned clinician, surgeon, and educator at the Retina-Vitreous Associates Medical Group in Southern California. He is board certified in ophthalmology and has completed formal sub-specialty training in medical and surgical diseases of the retina, vitreous, and macula. Dr. Boyer is currently a leading investigator for various national clinical trials on retinal diseases and serves as an advisor for multiple research, educational and charitable institutions. He received his medical degree from the Chicago Medical School, finished his residency at the Los Angeles County – USC County Medical Center, and completed his retinal surgery fellowship at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. He is currently an Adjunct Clinical Professor at USC/Keck School of Medicine.

Jeff Heier, MD

Clinical Advisor

Jeffrey Heier, M.D. is the Co-President and Medical Director, Director of the Vitreoretinal Service, and Director of Retina Research at Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston. Dr. Heier is on the Executive Board of the Retina Society, the Executive Committee of the American Society of Retina Specialists, is the Past President of the New England Ophthalmological Society, and a member of the Macula Society. He is one of the leading retinal clinical researchers, and is a scientific advisor to many biotechnical or pharmaceutical companies, lectures nationally and internationally, and has authored numerous, peer-reviewed works. Dr. Heier received his medical degree from Boston University, did an internship and residency at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, and vitreoretinal fellowship at OCB/Tufts School of Medicine. Dr. Heier served as a physician in a Combat Support Hospital in the Persian Gulf War, where he was awarded a Bronze Star.

Peter Kaiser, MD

Clinical Advisor

Peter K. Kaiser, M.D. is the Chaney Family Endowed Chair for Ophthalmology Research and a Professor of Ophthalmology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. He graduated magna cum laude with Highest Honors from Harvard College and magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School. He completed an internal medicine internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, an ophthalmology residency at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and a vitreoretinal fellowship at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute before joining the vitreoretinal department of the Cole Eye Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. As a RO1 NIH-funded investigator, Dr. Kaiser leads a team involved in the evaluation of vascular biology in AMD and diabetic retinopathy. He is director of the Cole Center for ocular Research and Evaluation (CORE). He is the founder and director of the Digital Optical Coherence Tomography Reading Center (DOCTR).

Eliot Lazar, MD

Clinical Advisor

Eliot Lazar, M.D. is a clinical ophthalmologist who serves as the President of El Con Medical Consulting, and the Principal of ElCon Medical in Buffalo, New York. Eliot Lazar has extensive experience in the commercial side of ophthalmology as well as other specialties. He has worked broadly in the development of devices, therapeutics, and diagnostics, and has participated in many of the critical drug delivery advances in ophthalmology and other specialties. Eliot Lazar has also collaborated with financial institutions of all sizes and scopes on both due diligence as well as at the BOD level. Eliot Lazar has worked collaboratively with both local and global organizations on endeavors ranging from pre-clinical through the commercial stage. Eliot Lazar holds a BS from the University of Pennsylvania, an MS in Immunology from the Royal College of Surgeons at SUNY, and an MD from Georgetown University School of Medicine.