Geron Corporation (Nasdaq: GERN), a late-stage clinical biopharmaceutical company, today announced the appointment of Gaurav Aggarwal, M.D., to the Company’s Board of Directors. Dr. Aggarwal has been a prominent investor in the life sciences sector for more than two decades and has a history of expertise in financial and corporate strategy, as well as business development, in companies with which he has been affiliated at both an operational and board level.
“Gaurav brings extensive strategic leadership to Geron, and we believe his demonstrated track record in both corporate strategy and capital formation will add tremendous value as we look forward to a potential commercial launch in 2024,” said Dr. John Scarlett, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
“Geron’s tremendous science, expertise, clinical results and readiness to bring their first-in-class investigational telomerase inhibitor to the market have made this a very exciting time to join the Board,” said Dr. Aggarwal. “I look forward to partnering with my fellow Board members and Geron’s leadership team to work to maximize the value of the Company and support its mission to enhance the lives of patients with hematologic malignancies.”
Dr. Aggarwal most recently served as Managing Director of Vivo Capital LLC, a global investment firm from 2016 to 2023, and Chief Investment Officer of its US public investment fund, from 2021 to 2023. Previously, he served as the Chief Business Officer of Ocera Therapeutics, Inc., a publicly traded clinical-stage company developing therapies for orphan liver conditions, from April 2014 through October 2016; as Managing Director of Investor Growth Capital from January 2013 through December 2013; and as a General Partner at Panorama Capital, L.P., a venture capital fund, from August 2006 through December 2012. Earlier in his career, Dr. Aggarwal was an associate with JPMorgan Partners, LLC, a private equity division of JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Dr. Aggarwal has served on the board of directors of Unicycive Therapeutics Inc. since March 2023, and previously served on the boards of directors of Sierra Oncology, Inc. (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline plc), Hyperion Therapeutics, Inc. (acquired by Horizon Pharma plc), and on several privately held biopharmaceutical companies. Dr. Aggarwal received his MD from Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons, and his BS in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University.
Dr. Aggarwal will serve as an independent Board member for Geron; his appointment to the Geron Board was not associated with an investment made either by him or by any investment firm.
Geron is a late-stage clinical biopharmaceutical company pursuing therapies with the potential to extend and enrich the lives of patients living with hematologic malignancies. Our first-in-class investigational telomerase inhibitor, imetelstat, harnesses Nobel Prize-winning science in a treatment that may alter the underlying drivers of disease. The New Drug Application (NDA) for imetelstat for the treatment of transfusion dependent anemia in patients with lower risk myelodysplastic syndromes (LR MDS), who have failed to respond or have lost response to or are ineligible for erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) based on the results from the Phase 3 IMerge clinical trial, is currently under review by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with a Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) target action date of June 16, 2024. In addition, an MAA is under review in the European Union for the same proposed indication. Furthermore, Geron currently has an ongoing pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating imetelstat in relapsed/refractory myelofibrosis (MF). To learn more, visit www.geron.com or follow us on LinkedIn.
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: (i) the Company’s belief that Dr. Aggarwal will add tremendous value as the Company looks forward to a potential commercial launch in 2024; (ii) Dr. Aggarwal’s plans to partner with Geron’s Board and leadership team to work to maximize the value of the Company and support its mission to enhance the lives of patients with hematologic malignancies; and (iii) other statements that are not historical facts, constitute forward-looking statements. These forward-looking 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: (a) whether health pandemics and/or geopolitical events and any resulting economic and financial disruptions will materially and adversely impact Geron’s business and business prospects, results of operations and financial condition; (b) whether Geron overcomes all of the potential delays and other adverse impacts caused by enrollment, clinical, safety, efficacy, technical, scientific, intellectual property, manufacturing and regulatory challenges in order to have the financial resources for, and to meet its expected timelines, planned milestones and expenses; (c) whether regulatory authorities permit the further development of imetelstat on a timely basis, or at all, without any clinical holds; (d) whether imetelstat has demonstrated sufficient safety, efficacy and clinical benefit in IMerge Phase 3 to enable regulatory approval; (e) whether any future safety or efficacy results of imetelstat treatment cause the benefit-risk profile of imetelstat to become unacceptable; (f) whether imetelstat actually demonstrates disease-modifying activity in patients and the ability to target the malignant stem and progenitor cells of the underlying disease; (g) that Geron may seek to raise substantial additional capital in order to complete the development and commercialization of imetelstat to meet its expected timelines, planned milestones and expenses; (h) whether regulatory authorities require an additional imetelstat LR MDS clinical trial for approval, or post-approval; (i) whether there are failures or delays in manufacturing or supplying sufficient quantities of imetelstat or other clinical trial materials that impact a commercial launch in LR MDS or the continuation of the IMpactMF trial; (j) that the projected timing for the interim and final analyses of the IMpactMF trial may vary depending on actual enrollment and death rates in the trial; and (k) whether the FDA and EMA will approve imetelstat for the treatment of transfusion-dependent anemia in patients with LR MDS or other indications on the timelines expected, or at all. 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 filings and periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the heading “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in such filings and reports, including Geron’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2023 and future filings and reports by Geron. 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.