StemCells Inc. Adds Former CIRM President to Board of Directors
Solid Interim Results in Dry AMD Adds to HuCNS-SC® Track Record
Based on Strong Results StemCells Inc. Moves to Phase II for Dry AMD
Controlled Phase II Trials for Cervical Spinal Cord Injury Soon
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StemCells Inc. continues to build on their strong management team from last month with the appointment of Alan Trounson, Ph.D. to their Board of Directors. Dr. Trounson most recently served as President of The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the largest scientific funding body for stem cell research in the world. Dr. Trounson has been the recipient of over 30 awards and distinctions for his scientific work, including pioneering work in the fields of in-vitro fertilization and stem cells. As part of his academic research, Dr. Trounson pioneered a new stem cell biology approach for the treatment of a broad range of diseases and injuries, which was awarded the first ever Australian Center of Excellence in Biotechnology grant worth $110 million dollars. Dr. Trounson’s previous academic positions include Scientific Director of Monash IVF Pty Ltd., Personal Chair in Stem Cell Science and Director of the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories, Deputy Director/Director of the Monash Institute of Reproduction and Development, Director of the Centre of Early Human Development, Facility of Medicine, and Personal Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology-Pediatrics at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He has founded a number of companies including Infertility Medical Center Pty Ltd./Monash IVF Pty Ltd., IVF Australia Corp/IntegraMed Corp (US), Sydney IVF Pty Ltd./Genea Pty Ltd., Maccine Pte Ltd and the Australian Stem Cell Center Ltd. He established two foundations, the Low Cost IVF Foundation for the treatment of infertile women in Africa and for the treatment of patients with HIV, to avoid vertical transmission to children and the Friends of Low Cost IVF (US). He is returning to Melbourne to continue to support international biotechnology in regenerative medicine.
The other Independent Board members are shown below:
John J. Schwartz, Ph.D., John J. Schwartz, Ph.D., was elected to the Board of Directors of the Company in December 1998 and was elected Chairman of the Board at the same time. He is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of SyStemix, Inc. He is currently President of Quantum Strategies Management Company, a registered investment advisor located in Atherton, California. Prior to his positions at SyStemix, he served as Assistant Professor of Physics, and subsequently as Vice President and General Counsel, at Stanford University. Dr. Schwartz graduated from Harvard Law School in 1958 and received his Ph.D. degree in physics from the University of Rochester.
Eric H. Bjerkholt, Mr. Bjerkholt is Senior Vice President and CFO of Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. At Sunesis, he leads the financial operations, public and investor relations, and treasury activities of the South San Francisco small molecule biopharmaceutical company. Before joining Sunesis, Mr. Bjerkholt served as Senior Vice President and CFO of IntraBiotics Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he completed multiple financings. Earlier in his career, Mr. Bjerkholt co-founded LifeSpring Nutrition, Inc., a privately held nutraceutical company. From 1990 to 1997, Mr. Bjerkholt was an investment banker at J.P. Morgan & Co., Inc., where he founded its Western U.S. Healthcare Investment Banking Practice, leading many equity and financing transactions for biotechnology and other healthcare and life sciences companies. Mr. Bjerkholt holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a Cand. Oecon degree in economics and econometrics from the University of Oslo, Norway.
R. Scott Greer, R. Scott Greer was elected to the Board of Directors of the Company in June 2010, and was simultaneously appointed to Chair the Company’s Strategic Transactions Committee. Mr. Greer is currently a principal and managing director of Numenor Ventures LLC. Previously, Mr. Greer was founder of Abgenix, Inc., a biotechnology company that pioneered the development of antibodies as therapeutics, and served as its Chief Executive Office from its inception in 1996 until 2002, and as its Chairman from 2000 until 2006. Abgenix was acquired by Amgen in 2006 for $2.2 billion. Prior to Abgenix’s formation, Mr. Greer held senior management positions at Cell Genesys, Inc. including Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief Financial Officer, and held various positions at Genetics Institute (acquired by Wyeth). Mr. Greer currently serves as Chairman of Acologix, a development stage biotechnology company, and is also on the board of Nektar Therapeutics and BAROnova. In the past, Mr. Greer served on several other public and private company boards, including Sirna Therapeutics (acquired by Merck), where he served as Chairman of the Board, Affymax, Anaptys Biosciences, Illumina, Chimeros, Inogen, and CV Therapeutics (acquired by Gilead Sciences). Mr. Greer received a B.A. in Economics from Whitman College and an M.B.A. from Harvard University, and was also a Certified Public Accountant.
Ricardo Levy, Ph.D., Ricardo B. Levy, Ph.D. is Chairman of the Board of Catalytica Energy Systems, Inc., and has been a member of its Board of Directors since June 1995, when the company was formed as a subsidiary of Catalytica, Inc. He also served as director of Catalytica Pharmaceuticals Inc. from 1995 to 2000. Dr. Levy was a founder of Catalytica, Inc. in 1974, serving as Chief Operating Officer from 1974 until 1991 and President and Chief Executive Officer until December 2000, when Catalytica, Inc. and Catalytica Pharmaceuticals Inc. were sold to DSM N.V. Before founding Catalytica, Inc., Dr. Levy was a founding member of Exxon’s chemical physics research team, and prior to that served as Chief Executive Officer of Sudamericana C.A. in Quito, Ecuador. He currently also serves on the Board of Directors of Pharmacopeia, Inc. and NovoDynamics, Inc. Dr. Levy holds an M.S. from Princeton University, a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Stanford University and is an alumnus of Harvard University’s Executive Management Program.
Irving L. Weissman, M.D., is the Karel and Avice Beekhuis Professor of Cancer Biology, Professor of Pathology, and Professor of Developmental Biology at Stanford University and Director of the Stanford Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine, Palo Alto, California. Dr. Weissman’s lab was responsible for the discovery of the first ever mammalian stem cell, the hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cell. Dr. Weissman was responsible for the formation of three stem cell companies, SyStemix, Inc., StemCells, Inc., and Cellerant, Inc. He is a member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Boards of StemCells and Cellerant. Dr. Weissman co-discovered the mammalian and human hematopoietic stem cells and the human neural stem cell. Past achievements of Dr. Weissman’s laboratory include identification of the states of development between stem cells and mature blood cells and identification of the states of thymic lymphocyte development. More recently, his laboratory at Stanford has developed accurate mouse models of human leukemias, and has shown the central role of inhibition of programmed cell death in that process. Dr. Weissman has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He has received the Kaiser Award for Excellence in Preclinical Teaching, the Pasarow Foundation Award, and the Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health.
Reiterating Strong Speculative Buy: StemCells Inc.’s HuCNS-SC® (purified human neural stem cells) have now shown unprecedented results in Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury, Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease (PMD) and now with the first interim data for Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Dry AMD). The company is now progressing with controlled Phase II trials in Cervical Spinal Cord Injury and Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Dry AMD) and is also expecting to file an IND for Alzheimer’s Disease in 2016 with preclinical funding via a forgivable loan of $19.3M from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). With a very strong management team unlocking the value of HuCNS-SC’s strong science, we believe StemCells Inc. has emerged as the most advanced stem cell player with a focus toward commercialization for large unmet medical needs. Our Strong Speculative Buy rating and 12-18 month target price of $4.50 is based on 35x estimated 2020 EPS discounted 50% for cumulative risks in a first-in-class stem cell therapy.
Download Full 9-Page Note with Important Disclosures: Morning Note 07-07-14 STEM