News Release

April 09, 2020

ReAlta Life Sciences Strengthens Board of Directors with Election of Edward Heidt as Chair and Appointments Of Dr. Jonathan Zalevsky And Christine Neikirk

Norfolk, VA, April 9, 2020ReAlta Life Sciences, Inc., a biotech company dedicated to harnessing the power of the immune system through its PIC1 technology platform to address life-threatening medical needs, today announced that it has appointed Jonathan Zalevsky, Ph.D., an immunology expert, and Christine Neikirk, a governance and marketing expert, to its board of directors. In addition, Edward “Buzz” Heidt, Jr., a founding ReAlta director, has been elected the new board chairman, in conjunction with the departure of John P. Harding, from the company’s board, to focus on his current role as chief operating officer for the Children’s Health System in Norfolk, VA.

As we prepare for the important transition into a clinical-stage organization later this year, we have continued to evolve our board of directors to support our future growth,” said Ulrich Thienel, M.D., Ph.D., ReAlta’s chief executive officer. “We are incredibly grateful to John for his extensive support from founding to this critical point for the company, and we look forward to further leveraging Buzz’s deep healthcare and biomed insights, now as chairman. In addition, we are delighted to tap into Jonathan’s extensive experience leading scientific innovation and R&D, and Chris’ deep management and marketing expertise. The collective strength of our board and leadership team positions us well to execute our goal of bringing forward new treatments that address life-threatening medical needs.”

ReAlta has developed a novel platform with the potential to provide game-changing treatments for a number of unmet or under-addressed conditions,” said Mr. Heidt. “The company has made great progress with its lead program for the treatment of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, a devastating disease that causes birth asphyxia brain damage and for which there are no approved treatments. Having dedicated much of my career to improving children’s health, I am passionate about ReAlta’s mission and the opportunity to further support the team’s efforts to make a meaningful impact on the lives of infants, children and families.”

Mr. Heidt has served on the ReAlta board since its founding, and holds more than 50 years of experience in international trade, manufacturing and distribution. He currently serves as chairman and chief executive officer of The Penrod Company and as a director of the North Carolina Medical Foundation. Mr. Heidt recently completed a four-year term as the chairman of the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, and previously served on the U.S. Department of Commerce Advisory Committee. Previously, he has served as national vice chairman of the American Red Cross, chairman of Physicians for Peace, chairman of the Children’s Health Foundation, and a member of the Governing Board of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, where he provided oversight for biomed operations. Mr. Heidt holds an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Zalevsky is the chief research & development officer of Nektar Therapeutics, leading all aspects of the R&D organization including research, clinical development, regulatory affairs and biologics process development. During his tenure at Nektar, Dr. Zalevsky’s expertise in immunology, as well as his experience across biological modalities and therapeutic areas, have helped fuel the growth of the company’s immuno-oncology and immunology pipeline. Prior to joining Nektar, Dr. Zalevsky was global vice president and head of the inflammation drug discovery unit at Takeda Pharmaceuticals. As the leading immunologist for Takeda, he was responsible for an immunology pipeline that spanned from early target discovery to late-stage development and approved products. Prior to Takeda, Dr. Zalevsky held a number of R&D positions at Xencor, where he was responsible for the discovery and development of the company’s first four clinical-stage assets. Dr. Zalevsky received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Tetrad Program at the University of California, San Francisco. He received dual bachelor degrees in biochemistry and molecular, cellular and developmental biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Ms. Neikirk holds more than thirty years of experience in nonprofit governance, startup ventures, marketing and communications. She currently serves as chair of the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters Children’s Health System, and is co-owner of Smartmouth Brewing Company. Previously, Ms. Neikirk has volunteered on numerous local boards including Friends of the Elizabeth River Trail Foundation, the Hermitage Museum & Gardens, and the Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Ms. Neikirk holds a bachelor’s degree in governmental affairs from the University of Virginia.

About ReAlta Life Sciences

ReAlta Life Sciences, Inc. is a biotech company dedicated to harnessing the power of the immune system through its PIC1 technology platform to address life-threatening medical needs. The PIC1 platform, comprised of a family of over 130 engineered peptides, is uniquely multi-modal, with Complement inhibition (C1), anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial capabilities. To support its vision, ReAlta has developed a novel class of multi-modal therapeutics designed to rebalance complement and inflammatory processes in the body. The company launched in 2018, and is located in Norfolk, Virginia. For more information, please visit


Alicia Davis, THRUST Strategic Communications
(910) 620-3302


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