Prior to founding Mesoblast in 2004, Professor Silviu Itescu established an outstanding international reputation as a physician scientist in the fields of stem cell biology, autoimmune diseases, organ transplantation, and heart failure. He is an active faculty member of Melbourne and Monash universities in Australia and was previously a faculty member of Columbia University in New York. Under his leadership, Mesoblast has become the world's largest regenerative medicine company, and received the 2011 Deals of Distinction™ Award from The Licensing Executives Society (United States and Canada) Inc. for its alliance with Cephalon, Inc., later acquired by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. In 2011, Professor Itescu was named BioSpectrum Asia Person of the Year. In 2013 he received the inaugural Key Innovator Award from the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture for his leadership and ingenuity in translational science and clinical medicine in relation to adult stem cell therapy. Professor Itescu has consulted for various international pharmaceutical companies, has been an adviser to biotechnology and health care investor groups, and has served on the Board of Directors of a number of publicly-listed life sciences companies.