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ViaCyte appoints biotech veteran Paul Laikind as CEO

Will lead US firm's efforts to develop stem-cell therapy for people with diabetes

Paul Laikind - ViaCytePaul Laikind has been named CEO of ViaCyte, a US biotech whose research focus is the use of stem cells to treat diabetes.

He replaces acting CEO Dr Allan Robins, who will continue to serve at ViaCyte as VP and chief technology officer.

Dr Laikind has spent over 25 years in the biotech and life sciences industry, and most recently served as chief business officer and senior VP of business development at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

During his time at Sanford-Burnham, Dr Laikind was able to develop the institute's business ventures, including collaborations with Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and Takeda.

In addition, Dr Laikind has entrepreneurial experience, co-founding Gensia Pharmaceuticals, Viagene and Metabasis Therapeutics, three companies that eventually went public and were acquired by larger businesses.

"We are pleased to have him join to lead ViaCyte through our next phase of development in bringing our transformative stem cell therapy to patients with diabetes,” said ViaCyte's chair Fred Middleton.

“We believe Paul's leadership and business development skills will greatly assist us in our strategy to be a leader in regenerative medicine therapy and to capitalise on our current technology leadership position in the development of stem cell therapy."

This technology is based on cells in the pancreas that can be implanted into a person with diabetes and secrete insulin in response to blood glucose levels.

"ViaCyte addresses one of the largest commercial and medical opportunities in stem-cell-derived therapeutics, and its team is internationally recognised for its scientific leadership," said Dr Laikind.

"I look forward to working with ViaCyte through clinical development and market launch of its first important product that promises to change the way we treat insulin dependent diabetes."

20th June 2012

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