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Mattessich Starts as New Ocular CEO, Trims Staff in Cost-Saving Move

Xconomy Boston — 

Antony Mattessich has formally started as CEO of Ocular Therapeutix and his first move as top executive is culling the company’s headcount by 19 percent.

Bedford, MA-based Ocular (NASDAQ: OCUL), whose eye drug delivery device was recently rejected by the FDA, announced last month that Mattessich would succeed Amarpreet Sawhney as CEO. Upon the change, Sawhney would shift to executive chairman of Ocular.

But Ocular gave no firm date for the executive transition, other than to say it would take place before Sept. 30. Late Tuesday, Ocular announced that Mattessich had taken over as CEO effective immediately. Mattessich was most recently managing director of Mundipharma International, a U.K.-based firm that provides support services to pharmaceutical companies.

According to Ocular’s regulatory filings, the company’s board of directors approved a strategic restructuring plan on July 31. That plan includes cutting 26 jobs, or 19 percent of its workforce. Chief commercial officer Andy Hurley is among those leaving. The company will take a $1.5 million restructuring charge.

With the savings from the job cuts, Ocular now has enough cash to last through the third quarter of 2018. The company says will use its remaining resources to focus on its existing pipeline, including its drug delivery device that administers dexamethasone (Dextenza), a steroid that treats pain and inflammation following eye surgery. Ocular’s device was developed to be implanted in the eye, release its drug over time, and dissolve when done.

Last month, the FDA rejected the device, citing manufacturing problems found during an inspection in May. The FDA’s letter did not note any safety or efficacy concerns regarding the Ocular treatment. The company said it has responded to the manufacturing problems found by the FDA.

Photo by Flickr user Michael Gil via a Creative Commons license.