Israeli biotechnology startup Collgard Biopharmaceuticals today announced the appointment of Dr Bruce Bach as CEO.

Bach replaces Neil Farber, who recently left the company. Bach's appointment is expected to promote a funding push, as well as alliances with international companies, said Prof. Eli Hazum, the chief scientist of Medica, a venture fund that was involved in establishing Collgard in 1996.

Bach has a record in turning clinical-stage biotechnology companies into successful businesses, Collgard said. Among his many successes are MTBC Group, a biotechnology venture-consulting firm he founded and ran in Atlanta, Georgia.

He also served as chief executive at four biotechnology companies engaged in medical technology, drugs, and biopharmaceuticals, and also served in a high position at Becton Dickinson, which is not the end of the list.

"We believe that Dr. Bach is uniquely qualified to lead Collgard in its pursuit to develop tissue level therapeutics as breakthrough therapy for diseases of the heart, kidney and liver as well as highly specific therapeutics for bladder cancer, sarcomas, and melanoma," said the company's chairman, Ehud Geller, in a statement.

Collgard is in the process of negotiating investments totaling up to $15 million.

Since its establishment it has scored $9 million in venture financing.

In March this year Collgard signed an agreement with one of the four leading stent-makers in the United States. The potential of the deal, in which the company will use Collgard's drug solution to develop coated stents, is estimated at $38 million.

Collgard is a tissue therapeutics company developing a platform technology it calls Tempostatin (Halofuginone) to manage tissue response to injury that exacerbates organ failure, restenosis the post-treatment re-narrowing of blood vessels - and selected cancers.

The company's development blocks the surplus secretion of collagen, which is a proteinaceous component of tough fibers. Collegenic fibers can cause stents used to prop open blood vessels to clog.

The trend in stents these days is to use ones pre-coated with medications that prevent the generation of unwanted tissues, thus preventing further surgery from becoming necessary. The market for coated stents should reach $5 billion a year in 2005, experts estimate.