News Release

January 03, 2024

ReAlta Life Sciences Strengthens Board of Directors with Appointment of Three Accomplished Biotechnology Executives

New appointments bring broad business management and commercial experience to support continued advancement of ReAlta’s multiple clinical programs

Norfolk, VA – January 3, 2024 – ReAlta Life Sciences, Inc. (“ReAlta” or the “Company”), a mid-stage clinical biotech company dedicated to saving lives by rebalancing the inflammatory response to address life-threatening diseases, today announced the appointment of three seasoned biotechnology executives, Christi Shaw, Mert Aktar, and David Marek, to its Board of Directors, effective immediately.

“We are delighted to welcome Christi Shaw, Mert Aktar and David Marek, and the tremendous expertise and wise counsel they represent, to our Board of Directors”, said Buzz Heidt, Chairman of ReAlta’s Board of Directors. “The rest of the board and I look forward to working with them closely.”

“As we continue to advance our EPICC technology platform towards critical Phase 2 milestones in multiple indications, Christi, Mert and David bring a wealth of critical experience to guide ReAlta through our next stage of development and advancement into commercial operations,” said ReAlta Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Thienel, MD, PhD.

Christi Shaw

Ms. Shaw is an accomplished biotechnology executive and organizational leader, most recently serving as chief executive officer of Kite, a Gilead company specializing in the development of immuno-oncology therapies, where she led a dramatic expansion of the company’s product portfolio, market reach and revenue until stepping down in March 2023. Prior to Kite, Ms. Shaw served as an executive officer of Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly), a global healthcare company, and president of Lilly Bio-Medicines. Before Lilly, she served as U.S. country head and president of Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation, a global healthcare company, and in a prior role, as North American region head of Novartis Oncology. Ms. Shaw also held several leadership positions at Johnson & Johnson. She serves as a member of the board of directors of Avantor and Beam Therapeutics and is the co-founder of the More Moments More Memories Foundation, which helps people access oncology clinical trials for potentially life-saving treatment. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Iowa State University and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin.

Mert Aktar

Mr. Aktar is an accomplished life sciences industry executive with over twenty years of multinational experience bridging science and business in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. He currently serves as chief executive officer of Peran Therapeutics, a privately held biotech, and serves on the Board of UCLA Technology Development Corporation. Prior to joining Peran Therapeutics, Mr. Aktar was the SVP and Global Head of Corporate Development & Strategy at Kite Pharma where he played a key leadership role in shaping the future direction of Kite and establishing it as a global leader in cell therapy. Mr. Aktar led numerous deals strengthening Kite’s R&D portfolio including expansion in Asia, facilitating regulatory approval and commercial launch of the first autologous cell therapy product in China, and transfer of commercial rights from Daiichi Sankyo and regulatory approval and commercial launch of Yescarta® in Japan. Previously, Mr. Aktar held senior leadership positions at biotech and large pharma organizations across diverse modalities and therapeutic areas, most notably at Shire, where he played a key leadership role in the transformation of the company into the global rare disease leader. Mr. Aktar holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management, a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, a M.S. in Engineering Management from Tufts University.

David Marek

Mr. Marek is a veteran biopharmaceutical executive with over 30 years’ successful industry experience. Mr. Marek previously served as chief executive officer and as a board director of Myovant Sciences, Inc., where he led the evolution from clinical-stage to commercial-stage with launches of three therapeutics focused on hormone-sensitive oncology and women’s health prior to the company’s sale to Sumitovant Biopharma Ltd. Before Myovant, Mr. Marek served as chief commercial officer of Axsome Therapeutics, Inc., where he led the buildout of commercial capabilities in preparation for anticipated product launches. Prior to joining Axsome, Mr. Marek held the position of General Manager of the Neuroscience business unit at Amgen, Inc. (Amgen), where he led the U.S. commercialization strategy and launch of Aimovig® for migraine prevention. Before Amgen, Mr. Marek served in a number of leadership roles including Executive Vice President, Consumer Services, and Commercial Strategy Officer of WebMD Health Corp. Mr. Marek began his career at Eli Lilly and Company, followed by AstraZeneca, where he served in a variety of marketing and sales roles of increasing responsibility. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Washington State University.

About ReAlta Life Sciences

ReAlta Life Sciences, Inc. is a mid-stage clinical biotech company dedicated to saving lives by rebalancing the inflammatory response to address life threatening acute inflammatory and rare diseases. The Company’s EPICC peptides are based on research into the human astrovirus, HAstV-1, which causes a non-inflammatory, self-limiting gastroenteritis unique among viruses by inhibiting components of the innate immune system. ReAlta’s therapeutic peptides leverage these virus-derived mechanisms to rebalance complement and inflammatory processes in the body. The company’s pipeline is led by RLS-0071, which has received IND clearance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute graft-versus-host disease, and IND clearance, Orphan Drug Designation, and Fast Track Designation by the FDA, and Orphan Drug Designation by the European Medicines Agency, for the treatment of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). The company launched in 2018 and is located in Norfolk, Virginia. For more information, please visit

Media and Investor Contact:
John Rickman
Chief Financial Officer


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