Mesoblast has a highly experienced management team made up of individuals who have held senior positions in international pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. This team is responsible for the strategic direction, operations and success of our company.
Dr Itescu has served on Mesoblast's Board of Directors since the Company's founding in 2004, was Executive Director from 2007, and became Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director in 2011. Prior to founding Mesoblast in 2004, he established an international reputation as a physician scientist in the fields of stem cell biology, autoimmune diseases, organ transplantation, and heart failure. Dr Itescu has been a faculty member of Columbia University in New York, and the University of Melbourne and Monash University in Australia. In 2013, Dr Itescu received the inaugural Key Innovator Award from the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture for his leadership in translational science and clinical medicine in relation to adult stem cell therapy. In 2011, he was named BioSpectrum Asia Person of the Year. He has consulted for various international pharmaceutical companies, has been an adviser to biotechnology and health care investor groups, and has served on the Board of Directors of several publicly listed life sciences companies.
Mr Muntner has accrued 20 years’ experience in healthcare investment banking and corporate finance, and has been involved in a wide range of healthcare-related transactions with approximately $11 billion in value. Most recently, he led corporate development and financial transactions at Nasdaq-listed biotechnology company, ContraFect Corporation. Previously, Mr Muntner served as Managing Director and Co-Head of Healthcare Investment Banking at Janney Montgomery Scott, and spent nine years at Oppenheimer & Co. and its U.S. predecessor, CIBC World Markets. He also served as an investment banker at Prudential Securities. Mr Muntner has a BFA from Carnegie Mellon and a MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA.
Dr Grossman has over 20 years of industry experience, and has held key leadership positions at major global pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), Sunovion, and Glenmark. During his career, he has managed global clinical development, pharmacovigilance, medical affairs and clinical operations for innovative product development, as well as United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals and post-market support for numerous blockbuster, specialty and generic products. Dr Grossman has led and built teams in the United States, Europe and Japan with responsibility for global medical affairs, global clinical development, health economics & outcomes research (HEOR) and global drug safety. At J&J and Eli Lilly, he was responsible for multiple New Drug Applications (NDAs) to the FDA. At BMS, he was Global Head of the Medical Affairs organization, with focus on immunology and cardiovascular diseases. As Head of Clinical Development, Medical Affairs & Drug Safety at 6,000-person global pharma Sunovion, a subsidiary of Japan’s Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Dr Grossman had responsibility across teams in the United States, Europe and Japan and successfully launched a blockbuster product in the United States market. More recently, he was CMO at Glenmark, an India-based global pharma with 12,000 people, where he oversaw a portfolio spanning biologics, branded drugs, and generics, including in immunology and immuno-oncology.
Dagmar Rosa-Bjorkeson has more than 25 years of global experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including executive leadership in corporate and product strategy, market development and operational execution. She has led multiple successful product launches, including Gilenya® for multiple sclerosis and Elidel® for atopic eczema. During her 17 years at Novartis, Ms Rosa-Bjorkeson was Vice President and Head of its Multiple Sclerosis Business Unit; Vice President, Business Development and Licensing in the United States; and Country Head and President for Novartis Sweden. More recently, she served as Executive Vice President and President, Biosimilars, at Baxalta, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. Ms Rosa-Bjorkeson was also Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Development Officer at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. She holds an MBA in Marketing, an MS in Chemistry and a BS, Chemistry from the University of Texas.
Prior to joining Mesoblast in 2009, Mr Brown served as the Divisional Vice President, Clinical, Regulatory and Quality for Abbott Laboratories’ Spine Division. He has over 20 years of regulatory, clinical, product development, quality and reimbursement experience dealing with a variety of technologies from physiological monitoring equipment to implantable and biological products. Mr Brown has also held clinical and regulatory roles at Axiomed Spine Corporation, Wright Medical Technology, CryoLife and Nellcor Puritan Bennett. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Missouri’s William Jewell College and completed coursework at Oxford University in England.
Justin Horst has 18 years of experience in clinical cell therapy manufacturing and industry development. During the past eight years, he has been Mesoblast’s Deputy Head of Manufacturing, with accountability for chemistry, manufacturing and control of the manufacturing processes. Before joining Mesoblast, Mr Horst was at Lonza Walkersville Inc. for 10 years, holding numerous senior level positions within the manufacturing, project management, and business development groups. At Lonza, he was instrumental in the establishment of the contract manufacturing business, and managed multiple manufacturing teams supporting numerous custom supply processes. Mr Horst obtained his B.S. in Biology from Towson University in Maryland.
Mr Howard has been integrally involved with Mesoblast since its inception in 2004, when he played a critical role in the corporate structuring and listing of Mesoblast on the ASX. More generally, he has extensive experience with many biopharmaceutical firms and major research institutions, covering public listings, private financings, strategic, licensing, intellectual property and mergers and acquisition activities. Mr Howard has done so in several roles, including as a partner at a major law firm, entrepreneur, director and senior executive.
Ms Meldrum joined Mesoblast in 2004. She has deep and diverse experience as a corporate communications strategist, European foreign correspondent, political and business reporter and television and radio producer. Ms Meldrum also served as a senior diplomat for 14 years promoting Australian policies and industries in the key markets of Japan, Hong Kong and Indonesia and has advised Prime Ministers, Cabinet Ministers and business leaders. She has been the recipient of the League of American Communication Professionals Gold Magellan Award, the United Nations Media Peace Prize for Radio, was a Governor of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong and a Director of Australian Doctors International. Ms Meldrum is senior advisor to the Washington DC-based Alliance for Regenerative Medicine’s Communications and Education Committee.
Mr Schuster, who joined Mesoblast in 2004, leads the Company's partnering discussions. Previously he was the head of the Company's investor relations outreach program and was part of the founding executive team at both Mesoblast Limited and Angioblast Systems, Inc. Mr Schuster was Executive Vice President of Global Therapeutic Programs from 2010 to 2013 and was the Director of Business Development and Vice President of Operations from 2004 to 2010. He holds an undergraduate degree in science from Tufts University, a Master's degree in Immunology & Microbiology from New York Medical College, and a MBA from Fordham University in New York.
Prior to joining Mesoblast in 2011, Dr Simmons had nearly 30 years of experience in stem cell research, especially research in basic hematopoiesis and in precursor cells for the stromal system of the bone marrow. He served as President of the International Society of Stem Cell Research from 2006 to 2007. Dr Simmons held the C. Harold and Lorine G. Wallace Distinguished University Chair at the University of Texas Health from 2008 to 2011 and served as the inaugural Professor and Director of the Centre for Stem Cell Research at the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine from 2006 to 2011. He is, or has served as, an associate editor, a member of the editorial board, or a reviewer on multiple scientific and medical journals including Experimental Hematology, Cytotherapy and Stem Cell Research, Cell Stem Cell, Stem Reports, Science and Nature.
Ms Storton is a seasoned pharmaceutical executive with more than 24 years’ experience across the full value chain of Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Research and Development, production and commercialization worldwide. She has an extensive background in regulatory affairs and quality, most recently as a consultant to cell therapy companies. Prior to this, Ms Storton held executive roles at Hospira, and its predecessor companies in both regulatory affairs and quality, with a focus on major program management. As Vice President, Program Management, Quality, at Hospira headquarters in Chicago, she led a company-wide quality remediation program to improve compliance in manufacturing across 15 facilities worldwide. As Regional Director, Commercial Quality ANZ, Asia and Japan, Ms Storton was responsible for quality oversight and management of all products sold in Asia Pacific countries. Her responsibilities included regulatory compliance, batch release, field actions, complaints management, change control, due diligence and new product launch. As director of global regulatory operations, Ms Storton managed development and registration of new products and on-market management of the existing product portfolio for all Hospira’s products developed or manufactured within Asia Pacific for global distribution. She joined Mesoblast in December 2015.
Eric Strati has over 17 years of experience across a broad range of industries within the healthcare sector including pharmaceutical, biotechnology, investment banking, and pharmacy benefit management. Prior to joining Mesoblast in 2015, Dr Strati held various commercial leadership roles including new product planning, lifecycle management, sales, marketing, and payer strategy. Previous positions include most recently as Executive Director, Managed Markets at Novartis, medical affairs positions at Genzyme and Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Vice President of Global Pharmaceutical Equity Research at HSBC. He earned his Bachelors of Science in Pharmacy and MBA in Health Systems Management from Union University, and Doctor of Pharmacy from University of Kansas.
Mr Symonds, who was Chief Financial Officer of Novartis AG from 2009 to 2013, became an advisor to Mesoblast in 2014. Prior to joining Novartis, Mr Symonds was a Partner and Managing Director of Goldman Sachs Group Inc (2007-2009), Chief Financial Officer of AstraZeneca plc (1997-2007) and a Partner of KPMG (1992-1997). In 2014, he was appointed an independent non-executive Director of HSBC Holdings plc and Chairman of HSBC’s European subsidiary, HSBC Bank plc. He is a non-executive Director of Genomics England Limited. Previous roles include non-executive Director of Diageo plc and Qinetiq plc., Chairman of the 100 Group of Finance Directors, Joint Chairman of the Business Tax Forum, board member of the Accounting Standards Board, and founder of the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation Research, all in the United Kingdom. In 2007, Mr Symonds was awarded a Commander of the British Empire for service to industry.