SAN DIEGO, Oct. 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ViaCyte, Inc., a leading regenerative medicine company developing a transformative cell therapy for treatment of diabetes, announced today that Steve R. Altman has been appointed to its Board of Directors.
Mr. Altman began his career with the San Diego law firm of Gray, Cary, Ames & Frye (now DLA Piper), where he specialized in intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, securities, and general corporate matters. He joined Qualcomm in 1989 as corporate counsel with responsibility for licensing and contracts. He quickly moved up through the management ranks and became vice president and general counsel in 1992. He was appointed general manager of Qualcomm Technology Licensing (QTL) when that organization was formed in 1995, and in 1998 he was named executive vice president of Qualcomm and president of QTL. In 2005, Mr. Altman was appointed and served as president of Qualcomm until 2011, when he was appointed vice chairman. Mr. Altman is a member of Qualcomm's executive committee, providing direction and guidance on key initiatives across all areas of the business, as well as on overall vision and strategy.
"We are proud to welcome Steve to our Board of Directors," said Paul Laikind, Ph.D., ViaCyte's president and chief executive officer. "His many years of business, transactional and legal experience serving in leadership positions at Qualcomm, one of San Diego's most successful companies, makes Steve an exceptional addition to our team. His counsel will undoubtedly serve ViaCyte well as we advance our promising and innovative cell therapy product into human clinical trials."
Mr. Altman and his wife Lisa are passionate supporters of diabetes research, actively providing leadership and financial support to organizations such as JDRF and University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Their interest in diabetes, especially type I diabetes, is personal. Two of their children suffer from the disease as does Mr. Altman's father, brother and niece. As an example of their dedication to finding a cure, the Altmans recently pledged $10 million to the planned Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) building to be constructed on the UCSD medical campus.
"I am very excited to join the team at ViaCyte," said Mr. Altman. "ViaCyte's cell therapy product, VC-01, is a very promising technology that is expected to be tested in diabetic patients in a Phase 1 clinical trial in the near future. If VC-01 performs in humans as it has in animal studies, it could effectively cure the disease for patients with type 1 diabetes and be an important new therapy for insulin dependent type 2 diabetics."
ViaCyte recently held a successful Pre-IND meeting with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is on track to file an Investigational New Drug (IND) Application to support the initiation of clinical evaluation of VC-01 in 2014.
ViaCyte also announced the resignation of John West from its Board of Directors effective October 19, 2012. Mr. West served as ViaCyte's president and CEO for two years before stepping down in 2011.
Fred Middleton, ViaCyte's chairman of the board said, "On behalf of the board and management of ViaCyte, I want to thank John for his contributions over the last three years in progressing ViaCyte's innovative new technology closer to treating patients in the clinic."
ViaCyte is a private company focused on developing a novel cell therapy for the treatment of diabetes. The Company's technology is based on the production of pancreatic beta cell progenitors derived from human pluripotent stem cells. These cells are implanted using a durable and retrievable encapsulation device. Once implanted and matured, these cells secrete insulin and other regulatory factors in response to blood glucose levels. ViaCyte's goal is long term insulin independence without immune suppression, and without risk of hypoglycemia and other diabetes-related complications.
ViaCyte is headquartered in San Diego, California with additional operations in Athens, Georgia. The Company is funded in part by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and JDRF.
This news release may contain forward-looking statements made pursuant to the provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
SOURCE ViaCyte, Inc.