Ben Yerxa

CEO at Opus Genetics


Dr. Yerxa has more than 30 years of pharmaceutical/biotechnology and nonprofit leadership, including experience in the ophthalmology, pulmonary, rare disease, cardiovascular and HIV fields from drug discovery through product launches. He has been involved with the discovery and development of nine INDs, four Phase 3 clinical programs, two NDAs and two drug approvals. He spent 10 years as a corporate officer reporting to the CEO of a top 50 public biotech company (Inspire) from IPO through multiple follow-on financings raising over $350M. He is an entrepreneur with more than 50 issued US patents and was involved with the creation of the ophthalmic commercial infrastructure and the launch of ELESTAT and AZASITE. He has led both in- and out-licensing deals as well as university technology transfer and manufacturing agreements. In addition to supervising drug discovery, clinical, preclinical, regulatory, drug safety and biostatistics functions, he has also supervised business development, manufacturing, and technical operations groups. He has built several R&D and corporate functions from inception and served on many joint committees with corporate partners. He has more than 10 years of experience in working with Japanese pharmaceutical and manufacturing companies. As CEO of Foundation Fighting Blindness, he championed and launched the Retinal Degeneration Fund, a strategic venture philanthropy vehicle for making mission-related investments.

In 2004, Dr. Yerxa received the Southeastern Region American Chemical Society Industrial Innovation Award for discoveries related to his work with P2Y2 receptors. Dr. Yerxa received the Triangle Business Journal’s “40 under 40” award, recognizing his contributions in business and leadership. He was also a finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award (NC) in 2003.

Dr. Yerxa serves on the Board of Directors of Opus Genetics, Clearside Biomedical, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Nacuity Pharmaceuticals and Sharefish.