LITTLETON, MA– Purnanand Sarma, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lexington, MA-based TARIS Biomedical, will be the chief guest and keynote speaker at the Vison Aid fundraising event that will feature Broadway-style dance drama The Iconic Avatar with 50 dancers and actors.
The event is scheduled to start at 4:00 pm on July 24th at the Littleton High School Theater in Littleton, MA.
“Dr. Purnanand Sarma will be our Chief Guest. He is a great entrepreneur and a brilliant scientist,” said Puran Dang, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Vision Aid. “It is going to be the best dance drama you have ever seen. This Broadway-style production produced under the most eminent choreographer will be a memory for ever. I urge that our community does not miss this show. Vision Aid is helping people with deficient vision in a big way and needs your support for this noble cause.”
The Iconic Avatar is a Broadway-style mega dance production, bringing to life the enduring story of Avatara Purushan – The Epic Saga of Rama, based on Kamba Ramayanam. This show highlights many unique aspects of this timeless Indian epic in a rich and vibrant choreography, produced by renowned choreographer Madurai R. Muralidaran, assisted by the best dance talent in the greater Boston area.
Chief Guest Sarma serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of TARIS Biomedical, a therapeutically focused urology company based in Lexington. He has nearly 25 years of experience in all aspects of pharmaceutical industry business, ranging from large cap pharmaceutical companies to venture-backed start-ups, and raised close to $85 million of venture capital to-date.
In August of 2014, four years after he took over, Sarma sold TARIS Biomedical’s first clinical-stage product for the treatment of interstitial cystitis, a debilitating bladder condition, to Allergan (NYSE:AGN) in a deal worth nearly $600M. Prior to TARIS, he was the VP and General Manager of World-wide Drug Delivery Technologies for Cephalon Corporation (NYSE:CEPH, later acquired by TEVA Pharmaceuticals). Before joining Cephalon, he spent over 10 years in various capacities at Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NKTR), a San Francisco based leader in Drug Delivery technologies, including VP of Drug Development & Program Management and Managing Director of Nektar Therapeutics India (P) Limited, a green field operation that he built in Hyderabad (India) during 2005-2007.
He started his career at SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals (now Glaxosmithkline) in King of Prussia, PA. Author of multiple scientific publications, book chapters and patents, Dr. Sarma is a frequent speaker at various technical and business meetings. He obtained his B.Pharm degree from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, India and a PhD in Pharmaceutics from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Dr. Sarma and his wife, Lakshmi, have twin boys (Sameer & Suhas) in college and he enjoys listening to, singing and playing music and fostering entrepreneurship in life sciences and global health.
- Founded in 2004 – started with one partner based in Vizag, Andhra Pradesh – as a pilot to rehabilitate the visually impaired in that region.
- Today, Vision Aid runs programs in 6 locations – Vizag, Kolkata, ,Mangalore, Berhampur, Kanyakumari and Aligarh. It also runs “satellite” programs in multiple locations (via camps).
- Mission: To rehabilitate people with blindness and low vision. This is an underserved segment according to World Health Organization since it requires lot of time, dedication and resources.
- Programs Vision Aid supports: Low vision screening, providing devices for people who are blind or have low vision, rehabilitation programs including computer training, orientation and mobility and employment counselling. And very importantly – inclusive education training for sighted teachers – helping school teachers to learn how to be inclusive in their classrooms for children with visionimpairment. Our computer training program has 4 tracks at different levels – leading to diplomas and job skills.
Since its founding, Vision Aid has accomplished the following:
o Over 700 sighted Teachers have been taught skills in inclusive education.
o Over 1,200 devices have been distributed for the low vision as part of our low vision screening programs.
o Over 2,000 persons have gone through low vision screening through our partners vision screening camps
o Over 600 blind and low vision students have gone through computer training classes earning a diploma in computer applications.
o Vision Aid has published 2 books about the fields – these are the first and most comprehensive books in India till date.
o In 2007, organization’s “Camera Mouse” device was selected by Dept. of Science of Governmentt of India under the Technology Entrepreneurship program as one of the top 60 innovations since India became Independent.
o Vision Aid has innovated other low cost devices such as “Camera Cat” for school children in classroom and Vision Wand to help the blind with mobility.
o Vision Ais partners have won numerous awards including from Rockefeller foundation (as best small NGO in south India) , HP Emphasis award and most recently in 2014 Vision Aid India President Mr. M.S. Raju was honored as the “Distinguished Alumnus of 2014” by IIT Kharagpur.