The jCyte leadership team brings a unique blend of scientific insight and business acumen to make jCyte the leader in retinal therapies.
Paul Bresge – Chief Executive Officer
In 2011, Paul Bresge recognized that the research being conducted by Drs. Klassen and Yang had tremendous potential to help patients with retinitis pigmentosa. Bresge uses his extensive business experience to lead the company’s efforts and to advance jCyte’s therapy through clinical trials towards commercialization. Specifically, Bresge provides strategic leadership to the company and directs the Executive Management to ensure that short and long-term goals, strategies, plans and policies are met.
Focused on providing a therapy to those impacted with retinal diseases, he has built a team of clinical and industry experts and specialist from around the world. He is driven to fulfill jCyte’s vision of developing a safe and effective therapy.
Henry J. Klassen, MD, PhD – Co-Founder
Dr. Klassen is a neural stem cell biologist and ophthalmologist who specializes in retinal degenerative diseases and has been working to develop treatments for retinitis pigmentosa and other retinal conditions for more than 30 years.
Dr. Klassen graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a PhD in neurobiology in 1989 and an MD in 1991. His doctoral research on retinal transplantation, under the mentorship of Dr. Raymond Lund, was a landmark in neural regeneration studies, demonstrating that a neuronal relay pathway could be reconstructed in the mammalian central nervous system.
A research collaboration with Dr. Michael Young at the Schepens Eye Research Institute and Dr. Fred Gage at the Salk Institute yielded a major breakthrough in retinal stem cell transplantation. Following these successes, Dr. Klassen committed himself to developing stem cell therapies for retinal diseases.
Jing Yang, MD, PhD – Co-Founder
Dr. Yang has worked as a physician-scientist in ophthalmology for more 16 years, beginning her career at the Peking University Eye Center. Later, she began studying regenerative medicine at the University of Copenhagen, developing new ways to isolate and grow retinal progenitor cells.
Now an assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of California, Irvine, Dr. Yang has developed pivotal techniques to advance stem cell therapies. She is also exploring other clinical applications for retinal progenitor cells, such as using them to treat glaucoma and other optic nerve diseases.
Terry O’Neal – Chief Operating Officer
As COO, Terry O’Neal works with Paul Bresge and others to develop jCyte’s strategic plan, assist with financial projections, manage employees and external partners, support budgeting and ensure all programs align with the company’s core values.
O’Neal has more than thirty years of executive start-up and restructure operational management 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. O’Neal was recruited by Carl Icahn as founding director and COO of Lowestfare.com, the first discount online travel site. In five years, he leveraged an initial seed investment of $100,000 to more than $300 million in annual revenues and an $800 million market value.
O’Neal formed jCyte with Drs. Henry Klassen and Jing Yang and Paul Bresge in 2012.
Rob Beathard – Director of Finance
Rob Beathard is responsible for general accounting and finance. Responsible for compliance, coordination with the University of California Regents and other partners to meet reporting requirements. Beathard is a certified public accountant with a background in PwC’s assurance practice.