Geron Corporation (Nasdaq:GERN) today announced the appointments of Stephen Kelsey, M.D., to Executive Vice President, Head of Research & Development and Chief Medical Officer; Jane Lebkowski, Ph.D., to Senior Vice President and Geron’s Chief Scientific Officer; and Melissa Kelly Behrs to Senior Vice President, Strategic Portfolio Management. Drs. Kelsey and Lebkowski and Ms. Behrs will report to David Greenwood, Geron’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “By appointing Dr. Kelsey, Dr. Lebkowski and Ms. Behrs to these roles with functional responsibilities across Geron’s programs, we leverage their accumulated expertise and distinctive capabilities to direct the science and clinical programs, and to integrate the strategic business plan,” said Mr. Greenwood. “Steve has a proven track record in clinical development and leadership of research programs and in this capacity will manage to meet our defined goals within defined timeframes. Under Jane’s leadership, the Geron team advanced hESC technology from initial discovery to a first product in the clinic, with every step being an inventive step. Geron was founded on innovative and excellent science, including telomerase and hESCs, leading to our products in the clinic today. We want to maintain this tradition internally and build on our external network of key thought leaders. Finally, it is imperative that a technology rich company like Geron maintains the product development focus with clearly defined strategies to progress products into and through clinical trials. Melissa has well demonstrated capabilities to provide this leadership.” Dr. Kelsey joined Geron in 2009 as Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Oncology. Previously, he held senior positions at Genentech and Pharmacia (Sugen, Inc.), where he was responsible for a broad range of development programs spanning pre-Phase 1 through marketed products. Dr. Kelsey held positions as a clinician and researcher in hematology/oncology at St. Bartholomews and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry. He earned his M.D. in the U.K. at the University of Birmingham.
Dr. Lebkowski joined Geron in 1998 and has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Cell Therapies. Prior to joining the company, Dr. Lebkowski was Vice President, Discovery & Product Development at Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, where she coordinated preclinical investigations of gene therapy approaches for the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disease and nervous system disorders, and evaluated potential technology in-licensing opportunities. Dr. Lebkowski graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from Syracuse University and received her Ph.D. from Princeton University.Ms. Behrs joined Geron in 1998 and has served as our Vice President, Corporate Development and Senior Vice President, Therapeutic Development, Oncology. Prior to joining Geron, Ms. Behrs served in numerous roles at Genetics Institute. Ms. Behrs received a B.S. from Boston College and an M.B.A. from Babson College. About Geron Geron is developing first-in-class biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer and chronic degenerative diseases. The company is advancing anti-cancer therapies through multiple Phase 2 clinical trials in different cancers by targeting the enzyme telomerase and with a compound designed to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. The company is developing cell therapies from differentiated human embryonic stem cells for a range of indications, with the first product in a Phase 1 clinical trial for spinal cord injury. For more information, visit www.geron.com.