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Leadership
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Massimiliano Paganelli, MD, PhD​

Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer

Max is a pediatric transplant hepatologist, head of the Liver Tissue Engineering and Cell Therapy Laboratory at CHU Sainte-Justine and associate professor of pediatrics at the Université de Montréal. He earned his medical degree at the Sapienza University of Rome, and trained in pediatrics in Rome and in pediatric hepatology and transplantology in Naples and in Brussels. Max also has a Ph.D. in hepatology and cell therapy from the Catholic University of Louvain. Expert in cell therapy of liver diseases, he is a Stem Cell Network investigator and a CIHR/FRQS-funded scientist. Driven by the needs of his young patients, Max is seeking better ways to treat liver disease using novel stem cell therapies. Max has been leading Morphocell as president and CEO since 2019.

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Claudia Raggi, MD

Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer

Claudia is an expert in human development and stem cell differentiation. Educated in medicine at the University of Rome La Sapienza and at the Catholic University of Louvain, Claudia has been a full-time basis and translational scientist since 2009. Inventor of Morphocell's iPSC-based platform technology, with unique expertise in preclinical development of cell therapy products and cell manufacturing, Claudia built and leads the Company's passionate team of engineers and scientists that is bringing its engineered tissues to the clinic.

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Panos Chrysanthopoulos, PhD

Chief Development Officer

 

Panos is an accomplished leader in Cell Therapeutic Product Development, with a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from The University of Queensland. With an extensive research background in Systems Biology dating back to 2005, he brings a deep understanding of advanced technologies to the forefront of therapeutic innovation. His expertise lies in the development of cutting-edge cell and gene therapies, translating early-stage discoveries into clinically relevant manufacturing processes and analytics. With a strong focus on Systems Biology and Quality by Design (QbD) principles, he has successfully built robust CMC strategies for comprehensive PSC-derived and CAR-T cell therapies. Panos leads the Company's product development efforts and oversees Technical Operations, ensuring a scalable and sustainable product pipeline.

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Calley Hirsch, PhD

Vice President Preclinical Development

 

Holding 18+ years of international experience, Calley is a specialist in cell and gene therapy development with a Ph.D. and Postdoctoral training in cellular reprogramming and stem cell biology. Built on this foundation, she has advanced numerous stem cell-derived and primary cell therapies to the clinic during her appointments at CCRM, BlueRock Therapeutics, and Artisan Bio. Calley has cemented herself as an expert in the translation of cell therapy product concepts to clinical products, having built and led world-class process development and translation sciences programs and teams. Driven by her learnings and passion for innovation, Calley is highly committed to developing next generation products and strategies that address unmet clinical need and streamline product access to the clinic and beyond.

Margaret Bywater Ekegard, MD, MSc

Co-Founder and member of the BOD

 

A   senior   executive   with   extensive experience in building biotechnology and life science-related businesses, Maggie is accomplished in identifying and commercializing technologies, as well as successfully bringing new classes of products to market in global biotech industry. With extensive experience of start-ups, and managing growth in small businesses, as well as in global organizations, she is a business developer and deal maker with over thirty years of industry experience in integration of technologies to answer difficult biological questions. Maggie co-founded Morphocell and has been leading the Company as an active member of Board of Directors since the very beginning.

Cynthia Lavoie, PhD, MBA

Member of the BOD

 

Cynthia is currently President and Chief Investment Officer of CCRM Enterprises Ltd., responsible for the investment portfolio. Cynthia is also a Managing Director of AllosteRx Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm she co-founded in 2018. She earned her MBA with first class honors from Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and earned her PhD in Molecular Biology with Dean’s honors from McGill University. Before founding AllosteRx Capital, Cynthia was a General Partner with TVM Capital, a global fund with main offices in Munich and Montreal, and partner and co-head of the life sciences fund at VG Partners before that. Cynthia seats on many boards and is an independent member of Morphocell's BOD since 2022. 

Susan Burkman, MBA, CPA

Member of the BOD

Susan is an experienced financial consulting executive with 35 years of experience in the investment banking industry. She has successfully led equity, M&A, and valuation and fairness opinion transactions in excess of $6 billion for Canadian companies across numerous industries. She is president of Burkman Capital Corporation, an investment banking boutique located in Bromont, Québec. She holds both a Bachelor of Arts degree and Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh and became a Certified Public Accountant in Pennsylvania. Among her many previous experiences, she was a partner at Griffiths McBurney and Partners and a Director at GMP Securities where she led the Investment Banking Group in Montreal. Susan has been working with Morphocell since its very beginnings, and is a member of its BOD since 2022.

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