Avita Medical Appoints Dr Michael S. Perry CEO

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Dr Michael (Mike) Perry has been appointed new Chief Executive Officer by the board of Avita Medical Limited (ASX: AVH; OTCQX: AVMXY).

Dr Perry has been an Avita non-executive director since February 2013. His former executive role was Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Global Business Development and Licensing for Novartis AG. From 2014-16 Dr Perry served as Chief Scientific Officer of Novartis’ Cell and Gene Therapy Unit. Prior to that he served as Vice President of the Inegtrated Hospital Care Franchise and Global Head of Stem Cell Therapy for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp, a US affiliate of Switzerland-based Novartis AG.

Dr Perry, based in the United States, has previously served as the Global Head of R&D for the Bioscience Division of Baxter Healthcare, President and CEO of Cell & Gene Therapy for Novartis subsidiaries Systemix Inc. and Genetic Therapy Inc., Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for Sandoz Pharma and Syntex Corp, Director of Regulatory Affairs for Schering-Plough Corp, and Chairman, CEO or CMO for several early stage biotech companies. He also previously served as a venture partner with Bay City Capital, LLC in San Francisco. He presently serves as a director of listed companies Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals and AmpliPhi Biosciences Corp and holds academic affiliations with the Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and with the Houston Methodist Research Institute. Dr Perry also serves as a director and operating partner of Bioscience Managers Pty Ltd.

The board determined that Avita’s achievement of US-focused milestones will largely drive company value and as such, a decision was made to retain a US-based chief executive to optimize shareholder value. London-based Mr Kelliher has elected not to relocate to the US and has resigned from his position, but will remain a consultant to the board of directors.

“We are most grateful to Mr Kelliher for his significant contributions to Avita during his tenure. He oversaw a diversity of critical company achievements; most notably progress of our clinical programs, strategic capital raises and continued progress on our BARDA contract. We are also appreciative of the keen focus and energy he brings to his work, qualities we are sure he will apply in his future endeavours,” said Lou Panaccio, Chairman of Avita

Major company regulatory and commercial milestones are increasingly US-oriented including the US$62 million contract with the US defense preparedness group BARDA for burns applications using ReCell®. The BARDA contract includes US$27.9 million to support FDA premarket approval requirements. Further, the company has recently completed treatment of patients in its US pivotal trial, which compares ReCell® in combination with meshed autograft against conventional skin grafts. Positive results from the US pivotal burns trial were released on 18 May. In the near term, Avita intends to submit a PMA to the US FDA seeking approval of ReCell® for use in patients with severe burns.

Mr Panaccio said he welcomes Dr Perry to the senior executive role, “Mike’s expertise across the value chain in cell therapy along with his experience in business development, regulatory affairs and general management will be crucial to Avita’s future success. These fundamental attributes complemented by his US presence, will maximize Avita’s prospects as the company progresses through PMA submission, FDA review and preparation for large-scale product commercialization.”

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