Emmett Cunningham has been a full-time entrepreneur and investor for more than 20 years. He retired at the end of 2023 from the Blackstone Group (BX), where he served as a Senior Managing Director (SMD) from November 2018 until March 2023, and subsequently as an Executive Advisor. Dr. Cunningham joined BX as part of the firm’s acquisition of Clarus Ventures, which he joined at its launch in 2006 and where he was a Managing Director (MD) at the time of the BX acquisition. Following his retirement from his SMD role at BX in March of 2023, Dr. Cunningham joined HealthQuest Capital Management as a Senior Partner. Dr. Cunningham has lead or co-lead investments in medical device and biotechnology that have supported FDA approval of ten therapeutics, * with one additional therapeutic pending FDA submission.**
Dr. Cunningham is currently on the Board of Galera Therapeutics. He served previously on the Boards of SARcode Biosciences (acquired by Shire), Neomend (acquired by Bard), Restoration Robotics (acquired by Venous Concept), Annexon Biosciences (NASDAQ: ANNX), GrayBug Vision (NASDAQ: GRAY), Lumos Pharma (NASDAQ: LUMO), SFJ Pharmaceutical Group, Viewpoint Therapeutics, and Silktech Biopharmaceuticals. He was a co-founder and personal seed investor in Xeris Biopharma Holdings (NASDAQ: XERS), Aiolos Bio (acquired by GSK), Placid0 (acquired by WALDO), and Pr3vent Medical (www.pr3vent.com); is co-founder and Executive Chair of Eyconis, a spinout of Ascendis Pharma (NASDAQ; ASND); is a personal seed investor in the healthcare IT/AI companies AEYE Health and MDAlgorithms; and a personal investor in the consumer product goods (CPG) companies Super Coffee, Lemon Perfect, Slate Milk, MeliBio, MakerWine, OneSkin, and BetterSour. Dr. Cunningham serves philanthropically on the Boards of The Alta Foundation and EverythingALS, which address major unmet needs related to vision loss and neurodegenerative disorders, respectively.
Prior to joining Clarus Ventures, Dr. Cunningham was a Senior Vice President, Medical Strategy at Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: EYET) where he held a leadership role on the team that developed Macugen® (pegaptanib sodium) – a first-in-class VEGF-A inhibitor for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema. Prior to Eyetech, Dr. Cunningham was at Pfizer, Inc. (NYSE: PFE) where he was responsible for the early phase clinical development of central nervous system compounds and the in-licensing of early and late-stage therapeutic candidates in ophthalmology. Dr. Cunningham was the founder and chairman of the Ophthalmology Innovation Summit (OIS) symposium held in conjunction with the annual meetings of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery for more than a decade.
Dr. Cunningham is an internationally recognized specialist in infectious and inflammatory eye disease with over 400 publications. He received an MD and MPH in epidemiology and statistics from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in neuroscience from the University of California at San Diego for work done at The Salk Institute. He completed both a residency in ophthalmology and fellowship training in Corneal Disease and Uveitis at UCSF and The Francis I. Proctor Foundation, a medical retina and uveitis fellowship at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, and a fellowship in public health ophthalmology with Prof. Alfred Sommer at the Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore. Dr. Cunningham teaches at California Pacific Medical Center, Stanford University (where he is an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology), and The Francis I. Proctor Foundation, UCSF School of Medicine (where he is a Research Associate). Dr. Cunningham was Clinical Professor and Director of the Uveitis service at NYU from 2002 to 2005 and was Director of both the Uveitis Service and the Kimura Ocular Immunology Laboratory at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) from 1995 to 2001.
*Progel® Pleural Air Leak Sealant, Xiidra® (lifitegrast ophthalmic solution; dry eye), ARTAS® Robotic System, Gvoke® (glucagon), Recorlev® (levoketoconazole), Rhopressa® (netarsudil ophthalmic solution; ocular hypertension), Rocklatan® (netarsudil and latanoprost ophthalmic solution; ocular hypertension), Empaveli® (pegcetacoplan; paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria), Syfovre® (pegcetacoplan injection; geographic atrophy), and Izerva® (Avacincaptad pegol; geographic atrophy).
**Bentracimab (PhaseBio/SFJ; Immediate reversal of the antiplatelet effect of Ticagrelor).