Steve is the Chairman of Previvo and provides a wealth of experience and acumen to the company. He most recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Mercantile Bank, the largest commercial bank headquartered in Orange County, California. With over $1 billion in assets, Pacific Mercantile Bank is a business bank with offices reaching from Beverly Hills to La Jolla in San Diego County and is a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ Exchange.
Prior to his recent appointment at Pacific Mercantile Bank, Mr. Buster was President and CEO of Mechanics Bank beginning July, 2004. During his tenure, Mechanics Bank increased annual profit to $29 million in 2007 from $24 million in 2004, and increased shareholder’s equity to $274.5 million in 2007 from $236 million in 2004. Mechanics Bank was one of the rare community banks that performed throughout the “Great Recession”, always earning a respectable return and paying steady continuous quarterly dividends.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees, Mr. Buster currently has been serving as a Board Member of the California Banker’s Association and California Independent Bankers (CIB), a not-for-profit trade group serving more than 160 California community banks that is politically active in Sacramento. He also is a board member and serves on the executive committee of the Bay Area Council.
Dr. Buster has nearly four decades experience as a physician, almost entirely focused in the field of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. He is highly experienced in the performance of assisted reproductive technology procedures, medical treatment for infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss, and various reproductive surgical procedures. Due to his extensive background; he is a frequently invited lecturer, consultant and participant in national and international forums.
Serving as a foundation for Previvo, Dr. Buster directed the research team at UCLA Medical Center that performed history’s first embryo transfer from one woman to another resulting in a live birth. In the procedure, an embryo that was just beginning to develop was transferred from one woman in whom it had been conceived by artificial insemination to another woman who gave birth to the infant 38 weeks later. The sperm used in the artificial insemination came from the husband of the woman who bore the baby.
This work established the technical foundation and legal-ethical framework surrounding the clinical use of human oocyte and embryo donation, a mainstream clinical practice, which has evolved over the past 30 years. Building upon Dr. Buster’s research and since the initial birth announcement in 1984, well over 200,000 live births resulting from donor embryo transfer have been and continue to be recorded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States to infertile women, who otherwise would not have had children by any other existing method.
Dr. Munné gained his Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Pittsburgh and joined Dr. Jacques Cohen at Cornell University Medical College New York in 1991. There he developed the first Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) test to detect embryonic numerical chromosome abnormalities such as Down’s Syndrome and other abnormalities.
From 1995 to 2001, Dr. Munné was director of PGD at the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science of Saint Barnabas, where he also developed the first test to detect chromosome translocations in human embryos.
In 2001, Dr. Munné co-founded Reprogenetics, with Jacques Cohen and David Sable. He directed the company until 2016 and saw its expansion to four continents. Reprogenetics was the first commercial lab to offer PGS and PGD and was the market leader until it was sold in 2015 to the Cooper Companies (NYSE: COO). During this time Reprogenetics performed over 70,000 PGD cycles globally. Reprogenetics stayed in the forefront of research and development focusing on the use of comprehensive genetic analysis of embryos in order to improve pregnancy outcomes and diminish the risk of miscarriages in gene and chromosome inherited disorders. Dr. Munné and co-researchers were rewarded with SART prize papers in 2005, 2015 and 2016, and he has received The American Society for Reproductive Medicine Star Award consecutively for the years 2011-2016.