SAN DIEGO, Aug. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- ViaCyte, Inc. today announced changes to its executive management team, including the appointment of Allan Robins, Ph.D., as Acting Chief Executive Officer, and the promotion of Kevin D'Amour, Ph.D., to Chief Scientific Officer.
Robins continues to serve as Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, and his appointment as acting CEO follows the departure of President and Chief Executive Officer John West who resigned for personal reasons. West continues his relationship with ViaCyte as a consultant and as a member of its Board of Directors. The Board has initiated a search for a new CEO.
"Allan has successfully led our process development and manufacturing operations since our merger with BresaGen in 2004 and has made a number of significant contributions to ViaCyte's research and technology platform. We're pleased to have Allan assume this important interim CEO role. We also thank John West for his leadership and for his achievements in extending our company's funding resources," said Fred Middleton, Chairman of ViaCyte.
Prior to ViaCyte, Robins served as Chief Scientific Officer at BresaGen, Inc., the United States subsidiary of BresaGen Limited, an Australian biotechnology company that has since been acquired by Hospira, Inc. Under Robins' leadership, BresaGen secured significant support from the National Institutes of Health for its stem cell research. Robins received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Adelaide in Australia and completed postdoctoral work at Cambridge University in England.
"I welcome the opportunity to serve in this expanded role as our forward progress continues," said Robins. Commenting on D'Amour's promotion, Robins noted:
"Kevin has been essential in the development of our scientific program and is a world renowned stem cell expert. As CSO, Kevin will lead the alignment of ViaCyte's research strategy with its business and operational goals, as well as publicly address the scientific aspects of the Company's technology platform."
D'Amour joined ViaCyte in 2002 as a scientist and, along with his colleagues, authored four pivotal papers in Nature Biotechnology. He is also the lead inventor of many of the Company's key patents, including those encompassing definitive endoderm and mesendoderm cells. D'Amour earned his Ph.D. in biology at the University of California, San Diego.
"Our research team has worked tirelessly to position ViaCyte as the front runner in developing a cell therapy to treat diabetes," said D'Amour. "I look forward to advancing our program to clinical trials."
About ViaCyte, Inc.
ViaCyte is a preclinical cell therapy company focused on diabetes. The Company's technology is based on 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 in response to blood glucose levels. ViaCyte's goal is long term insulin independence without immune suppression, and without hypoglycemia and other diabetes-related complications.
ViaCyte is a private company headquartered in San Diego, California with additional operations in Athens, Georgia. The Company is funded in part by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
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.