ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 4, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aastrom Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq:ASTM), the leading developer of patient-specific, expanded multicellular therapies for the treatment of severe, chronic cardiovascular diseases, today announced that Tim M. Mayleben has decided to retire from his position as the company's president and chief executive officer once the company has hired his successor. As a result of his decision, the Aastrom board of directors has initiated a search for a new CEO. In addition to remaining as president and CEO until a successor is found, Mr. Mayleben will continue to serve as a member of the board of directors after the transition. Mr. Mayleben stated, "I'm proud of Aastrom's accomplishments during the past three years, especially our efforts to strengthen the management team, focus the company's clinical programs and improve our financial position. I believe we have earned our leadership position in regenerative medicine and that this is a good time to bring in a new CEO to take Aastrom to the next level of clinical and commercial success. I look forward to working with my successor as a member of the board." In addition, Aastrom announced that Robert L. Zerbe, M.D., has been named chairman of the board, which he joined in 2006. Dr. Zerbe stated, "We are grateful to Tim for his leadership and many accomplishments over the past three years as Aastrom's CEO, including the rapid advancement of our lead product candidate, ixmyelocel-T, into a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial, vital efforts to strengthen the company's capital structure and financial position and broader recognition of our company's cellular therapy technology. We appreciate his support of this transition as we work to realize the full clinical and commercial potential of ixmyelocel-T and Aastrom." Mr. Mayleben joined Aastrom's board of directors in 2005 and became president and chief executive officer in December 2009. Dr. Zerbe is chief executive officer of QuatRx Pharmaceuticals and previously served as senior vice president and head of clinical research at Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis and vice president at Lilly Research Labs. He has extensive experience advancing drug development programs through late stage clinical research and regulatory review and approval.