Mesoblast execs take pay cuts to support cell therapy approval

Aug. 31, 2023

Mesoblast, an Australian-based regenerative medicine company, announced this week that its CEO and CMO would be reducing their salaries by 30% to support the continued advancement of their flagship program, an allogeneic cell therapy for steroid-refractory acute graft versus host disease (SR-aGVHD).

In order to "lead by example," CEO Silviu Itescu and CMO Eric Rose will reduce their salaries and defer their short-term incentives to enable the company to preserve cash while advancing programs for the treatment of SR-aGVHD.  In addition, all non-executive directors have agreed to defer all cash compensation.

The drug in question, to be branded as Ryoncil, was rejected by the FDA just a few weeks ago for the second time, after an initial rejection in 2020. Mesoblast had resubmitted its BLA in January 2023, including long-term follow-up data from a phase 3 trial showing 50% survival through more than four years of follow-up for remestemcel-L treated patients — but the agency had wanted more data. 

Mesoblast says a Type A meeting with FDA has been scheduled for mid-September so that the company can discuss the potential paths to approval via additional potency assay data or new clinical data in adults.