Fifth CEO of Osiris Therapeutics since 2016 to resign on Friday

Osiris Therapeutics has announced that Linda Palczuk, its fifth CEO since 2016, has resigned effective Friday.

Palczuk, who became president and CEO of the long-troubled biotechnology company in Columbia last summer, is taking a position as chief operating officer at Verrica Pharmaceuticals in West Chester, Pa.


Osiris said in the announcement late Tuesday that Palczuk told the company that “her decision is due to the new position being a unique opportunity and one that is closer to her home residence.”

Jason Heefer, the vice president of marketing for Osiris, has been appointed as the interim president and CEO.


The company also announced the appointment of Willi Miesch to its board of directors. Miesch is CEO of Medartis, a Swiss medical technology company.

“We are pleased to have Mr. Miesch join Osiris at this important time,” said Osiris Chairman Peter Friedli, the company’s founder. “Willi is an expert in the development and marketing of medical devices, and has extensive entrepreneurial experience in building and developing successful healthcare companies.”

In November, Osiris reached a $1.5 million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on charges of accounting fraud for overstating revenue. Four of its former executives also were charged.

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.

But the company fell into difficulties in the recent years as investors and regulators questioned its accounting practices. The company attributed the problems to the former management team.

Osiris stock, traded over the counter after being delisted by Nasdaq last March, slipped 13 cents Wednesday to close at $6.96 a share.