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MENLO PARK, Calif., Aug. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. (OTCBB: ASTY), a leading biotechnology company in the emerging field of regenerative medicine, announced today the appointments of Andrew ("Andy") Arno and Natale ("Nat") Ricciardi to the Company's newly expanded Board of Directors. With these additions, the Asterias Board of Directors now comprises eight directors, three of whom are independent.
Andy Arno, 55, has 30 years of experience working with emerging growth companies. He is currently Managing Director of Emerging Growth Equities, an investment bank, and Vice President of Sabr, Inc., a family investment group. He was previously President of LOMUSA Limited, an investment banking firm. From 2009 to 2012, Andy served as Vice Chairman and Chief Marketing Officer of Unterberg Capital, LLC, an investment advisory firm that he co-founded. He was also Vice Chairman and Head of Equity Capital Markets of Merriman Capital LLC, an investment banking firm, and served on the board of the parent company, Merriman Holdings, Inc.
Nat Ricciardi, 65, spent his entire 39-year biopharmaceutical career at Pfizer Inc., retiring in 2011 as a member of the Pfizer Executive Leadership Team after holding the positions of President, Pfizer Global Manufacturing, and Senior Vice President of Pfizer Inc. In addition to his corporate leadership role, he was directly responsible for all of Pfizer's internal and external supply organization, a global enterprise that grew to more than 100 manufacturing facilities supplying small and large molecule pharmaceuticals, vaccines, consumer, nutrition and animal health products. Mr. Ricciardi maintained responsibility for global manufacturing activities from 2004 through 2011. Previously, from 1999 to 2004, he had oversight for Pfizer's US manufacturing operations and from 1995 to 1999 was Vice President of Manufacturing for Pfizer's Animal Health Group.
"We are very pleased to welcome Andy Arno and Nat Ricciardi to our board and look forward to working with them to build shareholder value," said Alfred D. Kingsley, Chairman of Asterias' Board of Directors. "Andy brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in business and financial services that is invaluable. Nat is an experienced leader in the pharmaceutical industry, and during his career at Pfizer he helped create the premier quality-focused manufacturing operation. We look forward to Nat's and Andy's valuable insights and contributions to Asterias."
"We are also pleased to welcome to Asterias our new shareholders who received our Series A common stock from Geron Corporation. As a global leader in the emerging field of regenerative medicine, Asterias is proud to be continuing the more than 12 years of significant progress and important contributions that Geron and its dedicated employees made in advancing the field of regenerative medicine," Mr. Kingsley continued. "Asterias is uniquely positioned to advance the clinical development of stem cell-based therapies. We look forward to building on the strong foundation that was developed at Geron and to leveraging the capabilities of the BioTime family of companies to further the clinical development of our potential therapeutic products that address markets for which there are significant unmet medical needs. We encourage our new shareholders to visit our website, http://asteriasbiotherapeutics.com, where they can find information about Asterias, its core stem cell technologies, and its key product development areas."
About Asterias Biotherapeutics
Asterias' core technologies center on stem cells capable of becoming all of the cell types in the human body, a property called pluripotency. Asterias plans to develop therapies based on pluripotent stem cells to treat diseases or injuries in a variety of medical fields having major unmet needs and without adequate therapies available. Asterias initial focus is on two clinical stage programs including oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (AST-OPC1) for spinal cord injuries and antigen-presenting allogeneic dendritic cells (AST-VAC2) for lung cancer.
In October of 2013, Asterias acquired the cell therapy assets of Geron Corporation. These assets included INDs for the clinical stage AST-OPC1 and AST-VAC1 programs, banks of cGMP-manufactured AST-OPC1 drug product, cGMP master and working cell banks of human embryonic stem cells, over 400 patents and patent applications filed worldwide including broad issued claims to fundamental platform technologies for the scalable growth of pluripotent stem cells and compositions of matter for several hESC-derived therapeutic cell types, research cell banks, customized reagents and equipment, and various assets relating to the AST-VAC2 program and preclinical programs in cardiology, and orthopedics.
Asterias is a member of the BioTime (NYSE MKT: BTX) family of companies. Asterias Series A Common Stock is traded on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol ASTY.
Statements pertaining to future financial and/or operating results, future growth in research, technology, clinical development, and potential opportunities for Asterias, along with other statements about the future expectations, beliefs, goals, plans, or prospects expressed by management constitute forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not historical fact (including, but not limited to statements that contain words such as "will," "believes," "plans," "anticipates," "expects," "estimates") should also be considered to be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, without limitation, risks inherent in the development and/or commercialization of potential products, uncertainty in the results of clinical trials or regulatory approvals, need and ability to obtain future capital, and maintenance of intellectual property rights. Actual results may differ materially from the results anticipated in these forward-looking statements and as such should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that affect the businesses of Asterias, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary statements found in Asterias' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Asterias disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
SOURCE Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc.