Rami Epstein joined the Company as its Chief Executive Officer in May 2019, in addition to his serving as a member of the Board of Directors, since 2013. Rami has over two decades of experience as an entrepreneur and business and legal counsel, mainly in the healthcare and high-tech industries. His main focus is on R&D companies, fundraising, M&As and strategic collaborations.
Rami is co-founder of BiondVax Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: BVXV) and has served as a member of its Board of Directors for many years. Prior to founding BiondVax Rami co-founded IDgene Pharmaceuticals, and served as the Company's Chief Operation Officer and as a member of its Board of Directors.
Rami holds a master's degree (LL.M.) in commercial law and intellectual property from King's College, University of London, and a bachelor's degree (LL.B.) in law from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Prof. Revel is Professor Emeritus of Molecular Genetics at the Weizmann Institute of Science. His research on Interferon, its mechanisms of action and the isolation of the human Interferon-beta gene, have led to the development of Interferon-beta therapy for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, Rebif®, Blockbuster drug marketed worldwide.
In recent years, Prof. Revel's laboratory focused on hESC and succeeded to produce nerve myelinating cells that, when transplanted in myelin-deficient animals, have regenerated the myelin coating. These studies contributed to the development of a suspension culture technology for hESC which can then be used to produce differentiated human cells such as insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells and nerve myelinating cells.
Alongside his research and development activity, Prof. Revel is deeply involved in the ethics of science and biotechnology, and served as chairman of the Israel National Bioethics Council, and was a member of the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO.
Prof. Revel was the recipient of the Israel Prize for medical research, the EMET Prize for biotechnology, and is a member of the Israel Academy of Science and Humanities. He has been a member of Israel's National Committee for Biotechnology, serving for three years as its chairman.
Arik Hasson, PhD | Executive VP Research and Development
Dr. Hasson was Kadimastem ’s first employee when it was founded in fall of 2009. Prior to Kadimastem, Dr. Hasson was the head of Stem Cell Projects in Gamida Cell, a stem cell therapeutic company. While at Gamida Cell, Dr. Hasson also headed the diabetic and neurological projects.
In addition, Dr. Hasson helped to initiate and served as the R&D Director of the Israeli Consortium for Stem Cells R&D (“Bereshit”), a consortium funded by the Chief Scientist in the Israeli Office of Industry, Trade & Labor. Prior to these roles, Dr. Hasson was head of Development in Gamida Cell and helped developing its first Cell Therapy product, StemEx® into clinical trial (Currently completing phase III clinical trials for treatment of hematological malignancies).
Dr. Hasson holds a PhD in cellular neurobiology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and did a post-doctoral research in the Biotechnology Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. He is the author of tens of peered review papers in the fields of stem cell, cell therapy and neurobiology and of 17 patents in these fields.
Yossi Nizhar | Chief Financial Officer
Yossi Nizhar has more than 20 years of financial and commercial experience in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry, prior to joining Kadimastem, Mr. Nizhar served for almost 10 years as Chief Financial Officer at AstraZeneca Israel, branch of one of the largest worldwide pharmaceutical companies. (NYSE: AZN), at that time he was also a member of the Audit Committee of Pharma Israel Association
Prior to joining AstraZeneca Mr. Nizhar spent 7 years at Genzyme, Biotechnology company (acquired by Sanofi-Aventis in 2011), as Israel Finance Director and Regional CFO of Israel, Turkey and Greece. Prior to Genzyme, he served as Finance Director of e-bridge, hi-tech company where he handled all financial business and operations. Prior to that he served as Finance Controller of the Chemistry Division at Teva.
Mr. Nizhar began his career as a Senior Auditor at PwC Israel.
Mr. Nizhar holds an MBA from Bar-Ilan University, a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Economics from Tel-Aviv University, Israel and is a Certified Public Accountant
Michal Izrael, PhD | VP Research and Development for ALS and Neurodegenerative Diseases
Dr. Izrael Joined Kadimastem in 2009. Prior to joining Kadimastem, as part of her doctoral work at the Weizmann Institute of Science in the laboratory of Prof. Revel, Dr. Izrael was a central part of the team that invented and developed the technology which became the basis for Kadimastem’s cell therapy product for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative diseases. At Kadimastem she served as the head of the drug screening team, based on human oligodendrocytes (Myeling forming cells), and in 2012 was appointed to run the neurodegenerative department at Kadimastem, responsible for Kadimastem’s cell product for ALS. In 2017 she was appointed as VP for Research and Development for ALS and Neurodegenerative Diseases. Dr. Izrael holds a PhD in molecular genetics from the Weizmann Institute of Science and M.Sc. in Neurobiology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dr. Izrael has published 16 scientific papers and patents in the field of neurobiology and development of technologies based on stem cell derivatives for the treatment of central nervous system disease and drug screening.
Kfir Molakandov PhD | Head of Diabetes research
Dr. Kfir Molakandov started his academic career in developmental biology with Prof. Sarah Ferber's research on transdifferentiation of liver to the pancreas. During his PhD, he trained at the Gene Therapy Center, Alabama, USA, and specialized in adenoviral vectors construction, modifications and purification. Following the completion of his thesis, Dr. Molakandov joined Kadimastem. He leads the team that is developing cell-therapy for diabetes using Pluripotent Stem Cells as the cell source. His team has dedicated the last few years in developing a large scale robust protocol for generating islet cells in high quantities and high quality. Currently, we have finalized the production process that includes a full characterization of the different stages of differentiation using molecular tools and physiological parameters. Accordingly, we are now moving towards the clinical application of this technology, aiming to bring these therapeutic cells to clinical trials.