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Vesta Therapeutics, Inc. Announces Formation Of Scientific Advisory Board To Advance Development Of New Liver Therapies

3/6/2006 11:43:24 AM

DURHAM, N.C., March 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Vesta Therapeutics today announced the establishment of a Scientific Advisory Board assembled to assist in the clinical development of a promising new approach to treat patients with various liver diseases. Board members include Dr. Sanjeev Gupta, Dr. Mark Kay, Dr. Eric Lagasse and Dr. Lola Reid.

"Vesta is excited about this world class group of scientists and clinicians working to help us move our product candidates into the clinic," said Mark Johnston, Acting President. Vesta plans to initiate a single-center safety trial for patients with acute liver failure and in-born errors of metabolism using its first product candidate. The first product is a whole cell population consisting of human liver cells including hepatic stem cells, non-parenchymal cells and hepatocytes. Other candidates in the pipeline include adult stem cell based products, including a purified population of hepatic stem cells.

About the Scientific Advisory Board:

Dr. Sanjeev Gupta is Professor of Medicine and Pathology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a member of several NIH-funded Scientific Centers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. His research has been continuously funded by NIH for two decades and he has served on numerous NIH Study Sections and Scientific Review panels for several countries. Dr. Gupta has served extensively as a Keynote Speaker in international conferences, is a pioneer in mechanisms to restore the liver by cell transplantation, and has contributed seminal insights in the engraftment, proliferation and function of transplanted cells in the liver. The cell therapy principles established in Dr. Gupta's laboratory have been applied to people in many parts of the world, including the United States.

Dr. Mark Kay, endowed chair, is the Director of the Program in Human Gene Therapy, and is the Dennis Farrey Family Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Genetics at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Kay is one of the founders of the American Society of Gene Therapy (ASGT) and currently serves as its President. Dr. Kay received the E. Mead Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics in 2000 and was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 1997. He is respected worldwide for his work in gene therapy for hemophilia. He is an Associate Editor of Human Gene Therapy and a member of the editorial boards of other peer reviewed publications.

Dr. Eric Lagasse is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh and the Director of the Cancer Stem Cell Center at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. In 1985, he received his Diplome d'Etat de Docteur en Pharmacie from University of Strasbourg, France and in 1989 he completed his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Basel, Switzerland. From 1989 to 1997, Dr. Lagasse was in the Department of Developmental Biology and Pathology, Stanford University. Dr. Lagasse served as the Director, Liver Stem Cell Discovery Program at StemCells Inc., Palo Alto, CA from 1997 until he joined the McGowan Institute in July 2004.

Dr. Lola Reid is a Professor in the Department of Cell and Molecular Physiology, Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Dr. Reid served as a Professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and in the Department of Immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, from 1977-1994. She has served on numerous editorial boards and grant study sections, has served as a consultant to many companies and for center grants at multiple institutions, and was a consultant to NASA on biological research in space. In 1995, she founded Renaissance Cell Technologies, a company focused on clinical programs for liver cell therapies and commercial programs making use of liver lineage biology. Dr. Reid will serve as Chair of the Vesta Scientific Advisory Board.

About Vesta Therapeutics

Vesta Therapeutics is a privately held company developing cell therapeutics for liver repair and regeneration. The Company's technology is centered on the isolation, expansion, differentiation and cryopreservation of adult human liver cells, including human hepatic stem cells, obtained from organ donor livers that are not suitable for whole organ transplantation. The Food and Drug Administration has allowed the Company's Investigational New Drug (IND) application for a Phase I clinical trial of a cryo-preserved, allogeneic human liver cell product for the treatment of patients with various liver disorders. For further information please visit the Company web site at

Vesta Therapeutics

CONTACT: Mark Johnston, Acting President of Vesta Therapeutics,+1-919-433-1902, or

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