TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 31, 2014) - The Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) is focusing on company creation to bridge the commercialization gap and accelerate the therapeutic potential of regenerative medicine technologies and stem cell therapies. To guide and support this strategy, CCRM welcomes Gail Naughton, CEO of Histogen, Inc. and Susan Solomon, CEO of the New York Stem Cell Foundation to CCRM's Board of Directors. David Smith, who runs the global Therapeutic Cell Solutions unit for Lonza and joined the Board in 2013, has been re-elected for a second term. Also joining CCRM are James Parsons in the role of Chief Financial Officer and Michael Israels as Chief Operating Officer.
"CCRM has emerged as an international leader in regenerative medicine commercialization, with advice and support from the strong, knowledgeable, experienced leaders on the Board," explains Greg Bonfiglio, CCRM Board Chair and Managing Partner of Proteus Venture Partners. "We greatly appreciate David's ongoing contributions, and we look forward to Gail's and Susan's invaluable counsel and expertise as CCRM sharpens its focus on company creation."
Dr. Naughton joins CCRM's Board of Directors with more than 25 years of experience researching the tissue engineering process. She holds over 95 U.S. and foreign patents, and was a previous recipient of the annual National Inventor of the Year Award by the Intellectual Property Owners. Dr. Naughton is Founder, CEO and Chair of Histogen Inc., a regenerative medicine company developing treatments for conditions including hair loss and cancer. She was also a founder of Advanced Tissue Sciences, a leading tissue engineering company.
Ms. Solomon is Co-Founder and CEO of The New York Stem Cell Foundation, which shares CCRM's mandate to accelerate cures through stem cell research. A longtime health-care advocate with a professional background in finance, media and technology, she has made the Foundation an international leader in developing new stem cell technologies and in using human cells for drug development and disease modeling. In 2008, she received the New York State Women of Excellence Award from the Governor of New York and the Triumph Award from the Brooke Ellison Foundation. In 2012, Ms. Solomon received the Stem Cell Action Leadership Award from the Genetics Policy Institute.
After a long and successful career at The Upjohn Company, Mr. Smith was Business Unit Director for Invitrogen and then Vice President, Corporate Development at Claragen Inc. He then moved to Cambrex Bioproducts, in the cell therapy business, and remained in a leadership position when the company was acquired by Lonza in 2007. Today, he is Head, Lonza, Cell Therapy Manufacturing.
"CCRM has grown very quickly since its launch," says Michael May, CEO of the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine. "James and Michael are valuable additions to our executive leadership team who are guiding the organization and putting essential processes into place to execute on projects and spin-off new companies."
In addition to his appointment at CCRM, Mr. Parsons is also the CFO at Stem Cell Therapeutics Corp. His extensive experience includes roles at Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd., DiaMedica Inc., Rimon Therapeutics Ltd., Trillium Therapeutics and YM BioSciences Inc.
Mr. Israels has assumed the position of COO at CCRM. Prior to joining CCRM, Mr. Israels was a Management Consultant at Ernst & Young LLP, President of BEST Funds, a venture capital company, and CEO of Convexus Managed Services Inc., a start-up fund administration company.
The new board members fill vacancies left by the departures of Dr. Ruth McKernan, SVP of Pfizer Inc. and CSO of Neusentis Inc., Dr. Melissa Carpenter, Principal at Carpenter Group Consulting and Ms. Lita Nelsen, Director of the Technology Licensing Office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whose terms have ended. On behalf of CCRM and the Board, Mr. Bonfiglio thanks Drs. McKernan and Carpenter, and Ms. Nelsen for their significant contributions as founding members of the Board of Directors.
About the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine
CCRM, a Canadian not-for-profit organization funded by the Government of Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence program and six academic partners, supports the development of technologies that accelerate the commercialization of stem cell- and biomaterials-based technologies and therapies. A network of academics, industry and entrepreneurs, CCRM aims to translate scientific discoveries into marketable products for patients. CCRM launched in Toronto's Discovery District on June 14, 2011. CCRM is hosted by the University of Toronto.