BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Appoints Haro Hartounian Ph.D. as Chief Operating Officer

BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BCLI), a leading developer of adult stem cell therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases, today announced the appointment of Hartoun Hartounian Ph.D. as its new EVP and COO, effective as of June 18, 2024.

Dr. Hartounian brings a distinguished track record with over 32 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, with a focus on cell and gene therapy. His career highlights include founding and leading BioCentriq, a state-of-the-art cell and gene therapy CDMO facility, which was successfully acquired for $73 million in 2022. Dr. Hartounian founded and managed the growth of four biotechnology companies. He has a track record of achieving aggressive goals at large pharmaceutical, contract development and manufacturing organizations, as well as at start-up biotechnology companies.

In his new role, Dr. Hartounian will oversee all operational aspects of BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics, including CMC and commercialization. He has the right skillset to enhance the company’s operational efficiency and the strategic vision to support the commercial readiness of its therapeutic platforms including NurOwn® for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Chaim Lebovits, President and CEO of Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics, commented, “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Hartounian to our team. His broad experience and proven track record will be invaluable as we continue to advance NurOwn, our investigational treatment for ALS. Dr. Hartounian brings the relevant expertise at this important time for the company to help us smoothly navigate CMC and commercialization complexities and to streamline logistics.”

Dr. Hartounian stated, “I am eager to join BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics at this exciting juncture and envision a tremendous opportunity to leverage my expertise in advancing the company’s innovative therapies. I am profoundly inspired by the groundbreaking work BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics has accomplished with NurOwn®, and I am impressed by the path forward set for the upcoming registrational Phase 3b study. The potential to transform the treatment landscape for neurodegenerative diseases is immense. I am pleased to join the talented team and to work with a robust technology platform. Together, I am confident in our ability to achieve our strategic objectives and deliver significant value to our patients and stakeholders.”

Dr. Hartounian founded BioCentriq, a full-service, collaborative, revenue generating CDMO company for cell and gene therapy, focusing on all stages of process development and clinical manufacturing. He served initially as the company’s General Manager (2015 to 2022) and then as its President, CEO and a member of the Board of Directors (2022 to 2023). He led BioCentriq from inception to its $73 million acquisition by GC Holdings (Korea). From 2013 to 2015, Dr. Hartounian was CEO, Co-Founder and a member of the Board of Directors at DiaVacs, a company specializing in cell therapy for type 1 diabetes. Prior to that, from 2011 to 2013 he was CEO and Co-Founder of Allied BioVentures. From 2008 to 2011, he was also President, CEO and a member of the Board of Directors of Vyteris Inc., where he led the company through a successful turnaround, reorganization, merger, and business transformation, positioning it for growth and success in the CRO industry. Dr. Hartounian has also been an affiliated faculty member at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in the Department of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences since 2020, as well as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Columbia University from 2015 to 2022.

Additionally, Dr. Hartounian holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering with a minor in biochemistry from the University of Delaware, an M.S. in chemical engineering from the University of California and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Arya-Mehr University

About BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc.

BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics is a leading developer of innovative autologous adult stem cell therapeutics for debilitating neurodegenerative diseases. BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics holds the rights to clinical development and commercialization of the NurOwn® technology platform used to produce autologous MSC-NTF cells through an exclusive, worldwide licensing agreement. Autologous MSC-NTF cells have received Orphan Drug designation status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics has completed a Phase 3 trial in ALS (NCT03280056); this trial investigated the safety and efficacy of repeat-administration of autologous MSC-NTF cells and was supported by a grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM CLIN2-0989), and another grant from the ALS Association and I AM ALS. BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics completed under an investigational new drug application a Phase 2 open-label multicenter trial (NCT03799718) of autologous MSC-NTF cells in progressive MS and was supported by a grant from the National MS Society (NMSS).