The Foundation in the News

Oct 4, 2021

RD Fund Appoints Tony Adamis, MD to Board of Directors

The RD Fund announces the appointment of Anthony (Tony) Adamis, MD, to its board of directors.

Raleigh, N.C.October 4, 2021 – Today, the Retinal Degeneration Fund (RD Fund) – the venture arm of the Foundation Fighting Blindness and leading investor in the inherited retinal disease space – announced the appointment of Anthony (Tony) Adamis, MD, to its board of directors. Dr. Adamis, who most recently served as SVP of Development Innovation at Genentech, brings over 30 years of industry R&D experience to the role.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Dr. Adamis to the RD Fund and look forward to leveraging his robust industry expertise to further drive research toward preventions, treatments, and cures for the entire spectrum of blinding retinal diseases,” said Ben Yerxa, CEO of RD Fund and the Foundation Fighting Blindness. “As we operate in a rapidly changing environment of technological advancements with many more academic research projects ready for translation, the success of our venture philanthropy model relies heavily on the type of strategic partners we are able to bring to the table. We know Dr. Adamis will help expand RD Fund’s reach.”

“We strive to recruit a high caliber, engaged board of directors who can bring a diverse set of business, finance, health care, and research expertise to the table,” said Warren Thaler, RD Fund board chairman. “With his deep research and industry experience, Dr. Adamis is a welcome addition in our work to deliver more treatments and cures to the patients who need them.”

Adamis is best known for his co-discovery of the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in ocular disease, including diabetic retinopathy and wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This research, conducted at Harvard in the 1990s, led to his sharing the António Champaulimaud Vision Award in 2014. In 2000, he co-founded Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, which developed and obtained FDA approval for the first anti-VEGF drug in ophthalmology (pegaptanib for AMD; 2004).

At Genentech (2009 – present), Adamis helped lead the teams that developed the first FDA-approved drugs for diabetic macular edema, branch and central retinal vein occlusion, diabetic retinopathy, and myopic choroidal neovascularization (ranibizumab, anti-VEGF), as well as temporal arteritis (tolicizumab, anti-IL6R). Since the introduction of anti-VEGF drugs, the rates of blindness from wet AMD have dropped by half across the world.

He received his MD with Honors from the University of Chicago and completed his ophthalmology residency at the University of Michigan and his fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Adamis’ research training in vascular biology was with Dr. Judah Folkman at the Boston Children’s Hospital.

“RD Fund is a unique player in the eye disease investor space with its ability to activate the Foundation’s 50-year research track record to make sound investments in pre-clinical start-ups, which is proving to be a successful model,” said Dr. Adamis. “I’m excited to join the RD Fund’s board and support its efforts to translate more treatments and cures from bench to bedside.”

About The Retinal Degeneration Fund
The Retinal Degeneration Fund (RD Fund) is the venture arm of the Foundation Fighting Blindness, and a leading investor in the Inherited Retinal Disease space. It was established in 2018 to serve the Foundation’s mission to rapidly drive research toward preventions, treatments and cures for the entire spectrum of blinding retinal diseases—including retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, and Usher syndrome. RD Fund focuses on mission-related investments in companies with projects nearing clinical testing. Visit RDFund.org for more information.

 

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