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.
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.
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.
Dr McMannis has 27 years of experience in clinical cellular therapy trials in both academic and commercial environments. Before joining Mesoblast in 2011, he served at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center as a Professor of Medicine from 1999 to 2011, and as the Director of the Cell Therapy Laboratory from 1999 to 2011, and as the Technical Director of the Cord Blood Bank from 2008 to 2011. Before his tenure at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr McMannis was a Senior Director Technical Affairs at the Immunotherapy Division of Baxter and Therapy Scientist at COBE BCT (now Terumo BCT). He has served on the scientific advisory boards at BioSafe SA, Biolife Solutions, Inc., and General Electric and on the board of directors for the American Association of Blood Banks, or AABB, and the National Marrow Donor Program, or NMDP, which operates the “Be the Match” donor program.
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 co-chair of the Washington DC-based Alliance of 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.
Dr Skerrett, who has more than 20 years of combined experience in transfusion medicine, cellular therapy, and transplantation, has held executive roles at Mesoblast since 2004. She was Director of Transfusion Medicine and Cellular Therapy at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York from 2004 to 2011, and served as Associate Director of Transfusion Medicine and Director of Stem Cell Facilities at Columbia University’s New York-Presbyterian Hospital from 1999 to 2004. Dr Skerrett has been an advisor to the New York State Department of Health on the Progenitor Cell Committee since 1989, Chair of the Governor’s Council on Blood and Transfusion Services since 2007, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine. From 2004, she held roles at Mesoblast in clinical and regulatory affairs until she was appointed Chief Medical Officer in 2011.
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.