Samsara Vision Ophthalmic Technologies Expands Executive Team
Company Appoints Blake Michaels Vice President, Sales and Chet Kumar Vice President, Corporate Development and Innovation
Saratoga, CA – September 9, 2015
Samsara Vision Ophthalmic Technologies (“Samsara Vision”), the developer, manufacturer and marketer of the Implantable Miniature Telescope (“IMT” by Dr. Isaac Lipshitz), the only FDA-approved surgical device for End-stage Age-related Macular Degeneration, today announced the appointments of Blake Michaels as Vice President, Sales and current executive, Chet Kumar, as Vice President, Corporate Development and Innovation. These management additions support the global market expansion of the novel CentraSight® treatment program, fueled by recent milestone achievements with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
“Blake’s deep ophthalmic industry knowledge, commercial experience and leadership will enhance our sales efforts and drive expansion of our CentraSight provider network,” said Wolfgang Tolle, Samsara Vision’s President and CEO. “Chet has been an integral force in the development and commercialization of the telescope implant and CentraSight treatment program. In his new role, he will continue to increase market access today and via future product offerings.”
Mr. Michaels is an accomplished and successful sales and marketing executive with over 30 years of experience in the ophthalmic device industry. He was most recently Director of Key Accounts for Alcon Laboratories (Novartis), where he was on the original launch team commercializing the LenSx femtosecond laser for cataract surgery. He has also been a Regional Director of Sales for Alcon in the refractive division, coming over in the acquisition of WaveLight in late 2007, where he was VP, Sales and Marketing for the US subsidiary. Prior to WaveLight/Alcon, Mr. Michaels was the Director of Marketing for Bausch and Lomb’s US cataract business, where he led the global launch of the SofPort AO advanced optic IOL and the EasyLoad injector system. Mr. Michaels received his BA in Biology from Colgate University and his MBA in Marketing Management from the City University of New York/Baruch College.
“I look forward to hitting the ground running with Samsara Vision at this very exciting time,” Michaels commented. “Samsara Vision offers a unique solution for patients who really have no other option. Being able to help someone who is so visually disabled see again is truly something special.”
“Our team is proud that Samsara Vision’s first-of-kind telescope implant technology, with the help of ophthalmic practices nationwide, is making a meaningful impact on the AMD community of patients,” said Kumar. “We are excited to be working now with Blake, surgeons and their practices on new innovations to bring the telescope implant and future technologies to more patients worldwide.”
About Samsara Vision Ophthalmic Technologies
Samsara Vision Ophthalmic Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Saratoga, CA, is a privately-held company. The company is focused on the development, manufacturing, and marketing of implantable ophthalmic devices and technologies that are intended to improve vision and quality of life for individuals with End-stage Age-related Macular Degeneration. VisionCare’s Implantable Miniature Telescope was invented by company founders Yossi Gross and Isaac Lipshitz.
Richard Powers, Executive Vice President
Samsara Vision Ophthalmic Technologies, Inc.
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Released September 9, 2015