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iPierian Expands Leadership Team With Experienced Business Development and Intellectual Property Executives

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- iPierian, Inc., the leading biopharmaceutical company using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) for drug discovery, today announced that it has appointed Michael P. Smith as Vice President, Business Development and Wayne Montgomery, J.D.,  as Vice President, Legal Affairs and Intellectual Property.

"Mike brings to iPierian a breadth of strategic and transactional experience at both small and large companies.  This will be invaluable as we enter therapeutic drug discovery collaborations with global biopharma companies, to achieve our goal of using iPSC technology to transform drug discovery and development," said Michael C. Venuti, Ph.D., CEO of iPierian.  "Wayne has built and executed IP strategies spanning broad technology platforms to small molecule compositions.  As we advance our foundational intellectual property for iPSC drug discovery, as well as move our lead therapeutic programs forward, his leadership will be a key part of creating value for iPierian. We are delighted to welcome these two executives with such strong experience and track records."

Michael Smith most recently served as Head of Business Development and Chief Financial Officer for Memory Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Roche.  His experience includes a broad range of strategic transactions and initiatives including product and technology licenses, R&D collaborations, joint ventures, M&A, and strategic and portfolio planning.  Prior to Memory, Mr. Smith served as Vice President of Business Development for QLT Inc., where he was responsible for all business development activities and corporate strategy.  From 1998 to 2004, he was with Chiron Corporation most recently as Director of Corporate Development and held positions in several functions including strategic planning, corporate finance and commercial sales.  Mr. Smith holds a B.S. from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Wayne Montgomery, J.D., joins iPierian with over twenty years of experience as an intellectual property law attorney in the biopharmaceutical industry.  He most recently served as Vice President of Patents at Exelixis.  Previously, he served as Vice President of Intellectual Property at Nektar Therapeutics.  He held the position of Vice President, Assistant General Counsel & Chief Patent Counsel at Axys Pharmaceuticals prior to its acquisition by Celera, and subsequently Vice President of Intellectual Property at Celera Genomics.  Mr. Montgomery began his legal career with Syntex Legal Affairs.  Prior to entering the legal profession, he served as a pharmacologist with Syntex Research.  He received a J.D. degree from Santa Clara University School of Law and undergraduate degrees in biochemistry and pharmacology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

About iPierian

iPierian is the leading biopharmaceutical company focused on the industrialization of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology and directed differentiation of patient cells for the discovery and development of new therapeutics. iPierian's approach places the patient at the forefront of the drug discovery process in order to reduce drug development time and increase the probability of success by using precise human disease models to develop proprietary small molecule or biologic therapeutics. The initial therapeutic focus of the company is neurodegenerative diseases, including spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson's disease, in addition to a broad therapeutic area program intended for partnering in metabolic disease.

The company's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) is comprised of leading researchers and authorities in the stem cell field, including individual investigators from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, The Gladstone Institute and The University of California, San Francisco.  Our scientific founders are George Q. Daley, M.D., Ph.D., Douglas A. Melton, Ph.D., and Lee L. Rubin, Ph.D. all of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and Deepak Srivastava, M.D., of the Gladstone Institute and UCSF.

iPierian is located in South San Francisco, California. For more information, please visit

SOURCE iPierian, Inc.
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