Board of Directors

  • Sigurdur (Siggi) Olafsson, M.Sc.Chairman
  • Einar Stefansson, MD, Ph.D. Director, co-founder
    Dr. Einar Stefansson co-founded Oculis in 2003 and has since then been on the Company’s Board of Directors, thereof as chairman since 2015.

    Dr. Stefansson is a leading physician in the field of diabetic eye disease
    and diabetic eye screening. He has served on advisory boards for some of the leading global pharmaceutical companies.

    Dr. Stefansson received a degree in medicine from University of Iceland Medical School and a Ph.D. degree from Duke University followed by residency and faculty position at Duke. He has served as Vice Dean and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Iceland and served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the National University Hospital Iceland for the past 25 years. He has co-founded four biotechnology firms in addition to Oculis, including Cyclops which was acquired by DeCode Genetics in 2000.

    Dr. Stefansson is chief editor of Acta Ophthalmologica since 2005, on the editorial board of Ophthalmologica, senior advisor of EVER and former board member of EURETINA and Club Jules Gonin. Dr. Stefansson is president of EU-EYE, The European Alliance for Ophthalmology and Eye Research. He is former fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and fellow of ARVO, EVER, Michaelson Club and the Icelandic Ophthalmological Society. He has published more than 200 peer reviewed international publications, more than 400 abstracts, numerous book chapters and patents.

    Dr. Stefansson was knighted by the President of Iceland in 2007, received Iceland’s highest award in science in 2008, gave the Jules Gonin lecture in 2008, received the Synsfonden award in Denmark in 2006 and was elected to the European Academy of Ophthalmology (with gold medal) in 2009. He has received the Mooney Medal of the Irish College of Ophthalmology (2012) and Bjerrum medal of the Danish Ophthalmological Society (2014) among other honours. In 2016 he received the biennial Gold Medal and gave The Acta Ophthalmologica hononary lecture at the Nordic Ophthalmology Congress.
  • Thorsteinn Loftsson, MSc. MPharm, Ph.D. Director, co-founder
    Thorsteinn Loftsson co-founded Oculis in 2003 and has since then been on the Company’s Board of Directors.

    Dr. Loftsson is a leading scientist in the field of cyclodextrin based drug delivery. He has served as an advisor to many of the global pharmaceutical companies on drug formulations and IP rights. He co-founded and served as CEO of the biotechnology company Cyclops ehf. from 1994 until it was acquired by DeCode Genetics in 2000. At that time, Dr. Loftsson took on the role of a scientific advisor at Decode Genetics (until 2004).

    Dr. Loftsson received an MS degree in Pharmacy from the University of Copenhagen, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and a MS and Ph.D. degrees in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Kansas, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry. He has served as Assistant, Associated and full Professor on the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Iceland for the past 36 years. In 1980 to 1996, he served as an Adjunct Associate Professor and later Adjunct Professor at the College of Pharmacy, University of Florida.

    Dr. Loftsson has authored and co-authored over 220 peer-reviewed papers in addition to couple of books and number of book chapters. He is a fellow of the AAPS and is on the editorial boards of Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, International Journal of Pharmaceuticals, Journal of drug Delivery Science and Technology, Die Pharmazie and Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. In 2014, he was recognised as one of the World's Most Influential Scientific Minds by Thomson Reuters.
  • Joseph Markoff, MD, Ph.D.Director
    Joseph Markoff received his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College where he currently serves as an honorary trustee. He received a PhD in visual neuroscience at Syracuse University and an MD degree from the University of Minnesota. He did his residency at the Wills Eye Hospital where he is currently a Clinical Professor. He started a private practice in Philadelphia and directed the Visual Physiology Service at Wills for 32 years. He became the Global Director for Ophthalmology at Merck & Company and now has his own Bio Tech Consulting firm. He has published in retina, glaucoma and cataract. He has received many awards for his teaching and research including the Visionary Ophthalmology Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He is also a professional trumpet player having performed in the orchestras of St Paul, Minnesota, Syracuse and Philadellphia.
  • James D. Pipkin, Ph.D.Director
    James D. (J.D.) Pipkin, Ph.D., is currently Vice President, New Product Development at Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He has over 30 years of experience in pharmaceutical industry. From 2001 to 2011, Dr. Pipkin was with CyDex Pharmaceuticals as Senior Director of New Product Development and has been with Ligand since their acquisition of CyDex in January of 2011. His responsibilities are to support development and subsequent licensing of products utilizing CAPTISOL®, whether those products are internal to Ligand or external with partners and whether the application is for new molecular entities (NMEs) or reformulations for life cycle management of existing drugs. Also, his responsibilities include expansion of CAPTISOL applications and intellectual property through strategic alliances and academic collaborations. Dr. Pipkin has experience in planning and directing NCE/IND, NDA, ANDA, and Orphan product development programs. Prior to joining the Company, Dr. Pipkin was with Oread Laboratories as Executive Director for CMC Services and Director of Formulation Development from 1995 to 2001. His career also includes previous experience in major pharmaceutical companies. In ten years with Merck Research Laboratories in the INTERx Research and West Point PR&D facilities, his area of research interest was in the design and evaluation of controlled release systems (both oral and ophthalmic) to enhance therapeutic efficacy and lower systemic burden. While at The Squibb Institute for Medical Research from 1980 - 1985, he directed the preformulation activities for new chemical entities including experience in development of lyophilized parenteral products and its large-scale manufacturing. He has been an author of more than 20 articles and chapters and inventor on more than a dozen U.S. patents. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. from the University of Kansas in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and B.A. in Mathematics and Chemistry from KU.
  • Stefan Jokull SveinssonDirector
    Stefan Jokull Sveinsson works currently as an independent consultant for various pharmaceutical and life science companies as well as for private equity companies. Stefan acts as board director in several companies in Iceland including Akthelia, KeyNatura and SagaMedica. He is also a scientific advisory board member for Enzymatica AB in Sweden.

    Stefan has over 23 years of experience in the pharmaceuticals industry. From 1993 to 2014 he worked at Actavis in Iceland and in Switzerland, holding various technical and executive positions including Executive Vice President for the Global R&D operations and Senior Vice President for Specialty Pharmaceutical Development. Stefan served as a member of the Executive Board and Executive Team of Actavis. He also held Board of Director positions for Actavis in various companies in India, Denmark and Iceland. Prior to his industrial carrier, Stefan held an assistant professor position at the Department of Pharmacy, University of Iceland and he has published over thirty scientific papers. Stefan received his education MSc in Pharmaceutics at the University of Iceland and Dalhousie University Canada.
  • Arni BlondalDirector
    Arni Blöndal is a General Partner for Brunnur Ventures, a 4bn ISK early stage VC fund (approx USD 35m), based in Iceland. He has 25 years of experience in the private sector; as a start-up co-founder, VC fund manager and as an investment banker. He has served as a board director in numerous start-ups in the fields of healthcare and IT. He holds a C.Sc. degree in engineering from the University of Iceland and a M.Sc. degree in information technology from Denmark's Technical University.