Aastrom lands a new CEO in a game of musical biotech chairs

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Shares of Aastrom ($ASTM) bounced higher yesterday as biotech veteran Dominick Colangelo was named the new CEO, taking the reins during a crucial pivotal study of the company's personalized cell therapy. 

About a year ago Aastrom arranged $38 million in new financing needed to shift ixmyelocel-T into Phase III for critical limb ischemia. CLI is characterized by severe blockages in arteries, reducing the flow of blood to arms and legs, which can trigger terrible wounds that leave amputations as the only solution. In a mid-stage study the biotech said the therapy restored damaged tissue. But in the wake of the titanic struggles at Dendreon, complex personalized cell therapies have suffered a damaged reputation on Wall Street, which hasn't made Aastrom's job any easier. 

Colangelo's arrival at Aastrom, a micro cap biotech company based in Ann Arbor, MI, follows a game of musical chairs. He was last CEO of Promedior, which is advancing a new drug for fibrosis. And he's taking the place of Tim Mayleben, who left three months ago to return to his old company, Esperion Therapeutics, as CEO.

Mayleben had co-founded the original Esperion, which Pfizer bought out for $1.3 billion. Then Pfizer sold off the name and spun out some small molecules to one of Mayleben's old colleagues as the pharma giant wound up its operations in Michigan. The reorganized Esperion has since raised VC cash and now Mayleben is back with his original crew once again working on cardiovascular and metabolic disease. 

Over at Promedior, meanwhile, CEO Suzanne Bruhn took the reins last spring and immediately pointed the Philadelphia company up the road to Boston. 

- here's the press release

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