NEWARK, Calif., June 10, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- StemCells, Inc. (Nasdaq:STEM) today announced key hires to strengthen its product development capabilities and announced the creation of a new corporate function responsible for establishing scientific and strategic alliances and for building on the Company's existing stem cell technology platform. Eliseo Salinas, M.D., has joined the Company as Executive Vice President and Head of Research and Development, and will be responsible for the Company's research, product development and clinical translation activities. Dr. Salinas will report to Martin McGlynn, President and CEO of the Company. Ann Tsukamoto, Ph.D., who has most recently served as the Company's Executive Vice President of Research and Development, will assume the new role of Executive Vice President, Scientific and Strategic Alliances, responsible for developing the Company's alliances with research institutions, corporations, government agencies and disease foundations. Dr. Tsukamoto will continue to report to Mr. McGlynn. The Company also announced that Nicki Vasquez, Ph.D., has joined the Company as Vice President of Program and Portfolio Management, and Allyson Gage, Ph.D., has joined as Senior Director of Clinical Development. "The Company's clinical trials have so far been single-arm open-label studies, involving a small number of patients and conducted at one or two clinical sites," said Mr. McGlynn. "These trials, however, have generated a growing body of encouraging human data, providing us with strong rationale to begin preparing for controlled, Phase II, proof of concept studies in multiple disease indications, involving larger patient numbers and multiple trial sites internationally. The addition of Eliseo, Nicki and Allyson is an integral part of our strategy to ensure we have the expertise and bandwidth to succeed in this next step of the Company's path to market approval. "Meanwhile, I am delighted to have Ann assume the role of EVP for Scientific and Strategic Alliances. This will be Ann's fifth leadership role here at StemCells, and there is no one better qualified to take charge of building on our existing relationships with state and federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and with other important stakeholders, such as the International Society for Stem Cell Research and the various disease foundations. In addition, Ann will play an important role in helping us stay abreast of the rapidly evolving scientific and technological developments that could have far-reaching implications for the Company's long-term success."