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MENLO PARK, Calif., March 28, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Geron Corporation (Nasdaq: GERN) today announced the appointments of Dawn C. Bir and Elizabeth G. O’Farrell as independent members of its Board of Directors. In addition, Ms. Bir will serve as a member of the Board’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, and Ms. O’Farrell will serve as a member of the Board’s Audit Committee.
“We enthusiastically welcome two accomplished biopharmaceutical executives to Geron’s Board, both of whom have deep experience with guiding the growth of companies from clinical to commercial stage,” said John A. Scarlett, M.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We believe their contributions will be invaluable as we advance our lead indication for imetelstat in lower risk MDS to Phase 3 clinical development and, in the future, begin preparations for the potential commercialization of imetelstat.”
Dawn C. Bir currently serves as the Chief Commercial Officer of Reata Pharmaceuticals, where she leads marketing, market access, sales and commercial operations. Prior to Reata, Ms. Bir served as Vice President of Sales with Pharmacyclics LLC, an AbbVie Company, where she built and led their first hematology national sales organization responsible for the launch of IMBRUVICA, a hematology-oncology product, in the United States and Puerto Rico. Ms. Bir has also held sales and marketing roles at SKY Pharmaceuticals Packaging, Inc. & Rx Pak, a unit within McKesson Corporation; Genentech, a member of the Roche Group; and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Ms. Bir holds a B.S. in Biology from Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York.
Elizabeth G. O’Farrell most recently served as Chief Procurement Officer and Head of Global Shared Services at Eli Lilly and Company. Throughout her 24-year career with Eli Lilly, she held several senior management positions in finance and corporate governance, including: Senior Vice President, Policy and Finance; Senior Vice President, Finance; Chief Financial Officer, Lilly USA; Chief Financial Officer, Lilly Canada; and General Auditor. Before joining Eli Lilly, Ms. O’Farrell was an accountant with Boise Cascade Office Products, and served as an auditor at Whipple & Company and Price Waterhouse. Ms. O’Farrell currently serves as a member of the board of directors of PDL BioPharma, Inc. and on the finance committee of the United Way of Brevard in Brevard County, Florida. Ms. O’Farrell holds a B.S. in accounting and an M.B.A. in management information systems, both from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
Imetelstat is a novel, first-in-class telomerase inhibitor exclusively owned by Geron and being developed in hematologic myeloid malignancies. Early clinical data suggest imetelstat may have disease-modifying activity through the suppression of malignant progenitor cell clone proliferation, which allows potential recovery of normal hematopoiesis. Ongoing clinical studies of imetelstat include a Phase 2/3 trial called IMerge in lower risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and a Phase 2 trial called IMbark in Intermediate-2 or High-risk myelofibrosis. Imetelstat has been granted Fast Track designation by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients with transfusion-dependent anemia due to lower risk MDS who are non-del(5q) and refractory or resistant to an erythroid stimulating agent.
Geron is a late-stage clinical biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and potential commercialization of a first-in-class telomerase inhibitor, imetelstat, in hematologic myeloid malignancies. For more information about Geron, visit www.geron.com.
Use of Forward-Looking Statements
Except for the historical information contained herein, this press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned that such statements, include, without limitation, those regarding potential disease-modifying activity of imetelstat, the potential commercialization of imetelstat and other statements that are not historical facts, constitute forward-looking statements. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that can cause actual results to differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties, include, without limitation, risks and uncertainties related to: (i) whether imetelstat is safe and efficacious, and whether any past or future efficacy or safety results may cause the benefit-risk profile of imetelstat to become unacceptable; (ii) whether imetelstat’s activity is demonstrated to be disease-modifying; and (iii) whether imetelstat is approved for commercialization by regulatory authorities. Additional information on the above risks and uncertainties and additional risks, uncertainties and factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are contained in Geron’s periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the heading “Risk Factors,” including Geron’s annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018. Undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made, and the facts and assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements may change. Except as required by law, Geron disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect future information, events or circumstances.
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