NEWARK, Calif., Oct. 18, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- StemCells, Inc. (Nasdaq:STEM) today announced it has retained Eliseo Oreste Salinas, MD, MSc, on an exclusive basis, to help formulate and execute the clinical translation and product development strategy for the Company's proprietary HuCNS-SC® cells (purified human neural stem cells). Dr. Salinas was most recently Executive Vice President, Head of Development and Chief Medical Officer at Elan Pharmaceuticals. He has extensive experience and expertise developing therapeutic products for central nervous system (CNS) disorders in many key jurisdictions worldwide, including the United States, Canada, the European Union, and Japan.
"With two early stage clinical trials in the brain successfully completed and two other trials underway in the spinal cord and the eye, we have reached an important inflection point in our pioneering efforts to bring neural stem cell-based therapeutics into clinical practice," said Martin McGlynn, President and CEO of StemCells, Inc. "Eliseo will help us prioritize and right size our product development strategy and help us build a world class development team to bring this exciting technology to market. His broad CNS experience includes Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, attention deficit disorder, epilepsy, and stroke. To date, he has been responsible for eight successful NDAs or BLAs and four successful European submissions. This global regulatory experience should prove invaluable as we build on our great science and early clinical data to accelerate the transition into product development."
StemCells has a broad and expanding clinical development program for its HuCNS-SC cells. The Company has ongoing Phase I/II clinical trials in chronic thoracic spinal cord injury and dry age-related macular degeneration, and is planning for a controlled Phase II study in Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease. In addition, as contemplated by the recently announced awards by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Company anticipates pursuing INDs for both cervical spinal cord injury and Alzheimer's disease over the next four years.
"I am very glad to be working with the StemCells team at this transformational time for the Company," said Dr. Salinas. "The technology is already generating exciting clinical data that is establishing a solid foundation for many product opportunities. I look forward to helping StemCells advance its neural stem cells towards marketing approval."
Prior to his position at Elan, Dr. Salinas was Senior Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Medical Officer at Adolor Corp. He also previously served as Global Executive Vice President Specialty Pharma Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer at Shire, Inc., and held positions of increasing responsibility at Wyeth, including Vice President, Regional Research North and South America, and Head of Worldwide Research for CNS. Dr. Salinas earned his medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, performed a Residency in Psychiatry in Paris, France, mostly at the Clinique des Maladies Mentales et de l'Encéphale, and obtained a Master in Pharmacology from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Académie de Paris, France.
About StemCells, Inc.
StemCells, Inc. is engaged in the research, development, and commercialization of cell-based therapeutics and tools for use in stem cell-based research and drug discovery. The Company's lead therapeutic product candidate, HuCNS-SC® cells (purified human neural stem cells), is currently in development as a potential treatment for a broad range of central nervous system disorders. The Company recently reported results from a Phase I clinical trial in Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD), a fatal myelination disorder in children. The trial results showed preliminary evidence of progressive and durable donor-derived myelination in all four patients transplanted with HuCNS-SC cells. The Company is also conducting a Phase I/II clinical trial in chronic spinal cord injury in Switzerland and a Phase I/II clinical trial in dry age-related macular degeneration in the United States. In addition, the Company is pursuing preclinical studies of its HuCNS-SC cells in Alzheimer's disease. StemCells also markets stem cell research products, including media and reagents, under the SC Proven® brand. Further information about StemCells is available at http://www.stemcellsinc.com.
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Apart from statements of historical fact, the text of this press release constitutes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and is subject to the safe harbors created therein. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding: the potential of the Company's HuCNS-SC cells to treat a broad range of central nervous system disorders; the prospect of initiating additional clinical trials in any indication; and the future business operations of the Company, including its ability to conduct clinical trials as well as its other research and product development efforts. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this news release. The Company does not undertake to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that occur after the date hereof. Such statements reflect management's current views and are based on certain assumptions that may or may not ultimately prove valid. The Company's actual results may vary materially from those contemplated in such forward-looking statements due to risks and uncertainties to which the Company is subject, including the factors that are described under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10‑K for the year ended December 31, 2011, and in its subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K.
CONTACT: Rodney Young StemCells, Inc. Chief Financial Officer (510) 456-4128 Ian Stone Russo Partners (619) 308-6541