December 13, 2010
Stratatech makes strong addition to management team
MADISON, Wis., Dec. 13, 2010 – Stratatech Corp., a privately-held regenerative medicine company, today announced the appointment of Russell R. Smestad as president. Mr. Smestad brings to Stratatech nearly 30 years of executive experience in the biotechnology industry. He will play a key role in shaping and executing the company’s strategy.
“We are excited to have someone of Russ’ caliber join Stratatech’s management team,” said Lynn Allen-Hoffmann, Ph.D., the company’s chairman and chief executive. “Stratatech is a proven leader in tissue-engineered skin substitutes with a growing portfolio of products. We have begun the transition from a discovery-stage entity to a commercial operating company. As a result, this is the ideal time for Russ to join us. His background and experience will be critical to the company as we move forward with our commercialization plans.”
Mr. Smestad is an accomplished executive who has played a major role in the success of three Madison-based biotechnology companies. He most recently was president of Mirus Bio Corp., a leader in gene expression and silencing technologies. F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd. acquired the company in 2008 for $125 million. Before joining Mirus, Mr. Smestad was an executive with PowderJect Vaccines Inc., where he was responsible for strategic planning and business development. During his six-year tenure, PowderJect grew from a privately-held startup to the sixth-largest vaccine company in the world. Chiron Corp. acquired the company’s parent in 2003 for $878 million. From 1982 to 1997, Mr. Smestad held a variety of executive management positions in predecessor organizations to PowderJect Vaccines (Auragen Inc., Agracetus Inc. and Cetus Madison Inc.), including serving for six years as co-general manager of Agracetus and president of Auragen.
“I am excited to join Stratatech at such a transformational point in its development,” Mr. Smestad said. “The company has a truly unique opportunity and I look forward to leveraging my experience to help capture that opportunity, accelerate the company’s growth, and generate value for both customers and shareholders.”
About Stratatech Corp. and StrataGraft® Skin Substitute Tissue
Stratatech Corp. is a Madison, Wis.-based regenerative medicine company focused on the development and commercialization of cell-based, tissue-engineered skin substitute products for therapeutic and research applications. The company’s flagship product, StrataGraft® tissue, is proceeding through a clinical trial designed to support U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of StrataGraft® tissue for the treatment of traumatic skin loss. The company’s valuable product pipeline is based on its patented NIKS® human keratinocyte cells and is comprised of the next generation of genetically-enhanced skin substitute products that have numerous advantages over skin substitutes generated from human skin sourced by conventional means.
Stratatech’s StrataGraft® tissue is a second-generation human skin substitute that exhibits normal human skin structure and function. It is produced using the company’s proprietary NIKS® human keratinocytes, which were discovered at the University of Wisconsin. Keratinocytes are the cells that make up approximately 90 percent of the epidermis, the outer layer of human skin. NIKS® cells are a consistent source of pathogen-free, non-tumor-producing, long-lived adult progenitor cells. These cells faithfully reproduce normal human skin tissue architecture and barrier function when cultured appropriately. For more information about Stratatech, its technology, and product pipeline; please visit the company’s website at www.stratatechcorp.com.