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Osiris Therapeutics CEO Debrabandere resigns

The CEO of troubled Osiris Therapeutics has resigned.

Shares of Columbia-based Osiris Therapeutics were down more than 12 percent Thursday afternoon after the regenerative medicine company announced the resignation of CEO Lode Debrabandere for personal reasons.

Dwayne Montgomery, chief business officer, has stepped in as interim CEO. Montgomery had worked as an executive for venture-backed organizations in the trauma and spine markets before joining Osiris.

The leadership shake-up comes after months of difficulties for Osiris, which is shifting from a research firm into a commercial enterprise. The company faces shareholder lawsuits after restating earnings, its auditor resigned in December and its stock has fallen 40 percent this year.

On Thursday, it shares fell again, closing at $6.06 each.

In a statement, Debrabandere said the company has "made stem cell history," over the past decade.

Considered one of the state's most promising biotechnology firms and a specialist in wound care, orthopedics and sports medicine, Osiris is known for stem cell-based products, including Grafix, a human tissue treatment for chronic wounds such as foot ulcers.

"With multiple exciting biologic candidates in the pipeline, the company is well-positioned for continued growth, and I am looking forward to a smooth transition," Debrabandere said in the announcement.

Osiris Chairman Peter Friedli called Debrabandere a "transformational leader" and said he will help with the transition.

The board has hired an executive search firm to find a permanent CEO.

Lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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