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BioRegion Newsmakers, 2009.04.24

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With Convention Set for Atlanta, BIO Honors Georgia's Sonny Perdue as 2009 Governor of the Year

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue has been selected 2009 Governor of the Year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, which will hold its 2009 International Convention in Atlanta from May 18-21. BIO said in a statement that it honored Perdue "in recognition of his leadership and support of the biosciences in Georgia" — a support some life-sci leaders have questioned in recent weeks because of his support for a bill that would bar Georgia's research institutes and businesses from creating their own human embryonic stem cell lines in the Peachtree State [BRN, March 16]

"Governor Perdue's support of biotechnology has been vital for our industry's success in Georgia. He has been a stalwart advocate of the biosciences in Georgia and truly understands the promise of our industry to provide revolutionary therapies and cures for patients, increase agricultural sustainability and develop alternative fuels," Jim Greenwood, BIO's president and CEO, said in a statement announcing Perdue's award.

BIO cited the implementation by Perdue's administration of the state's first-ever seed capital and facilities funds focused specifically on the life sciences industry — the Georgia Bioscience seed fund, which has supported 16 start-up companies over the past two years. The state's life sciences facilities fund assists companies with their new building and laboratory construction needs. Perdue was also cited for the state's spending on average $30 million to $40 million a year designed to strengthen research in life sciences and other advanced technologies at state universities.


Zerhouni Returns to Johns Hopkins Medicine in Senior Adviser Role

Elias Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health from 2002 to 2008 and more recently a senior fellow for global health with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will return to Johns Hopkins Medicine as a senior adviser, effective May 1.

"With a new administration in Washington, a global economic downturn and anticipated reforms in health care finance and delivery, we will look to him again for help and sound guidance," Edward Miller, dean of the School of Medicine and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said in a statement.

Miller also cited Zerhouni's "seminal influence" on the development of a biotechnology campus within East Baltimore during his previous tenure as an executive vice dean at Hopkins Medicine. During that time, Zerhouni played a key role in the creation of Hopkins' Institute for Cell Engineering. A radiologist by training, Zerhouni has focused much of his research on developing computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging methods to diagnose and treat cancer and cardiovascular, pulmonary, and other diseases.

Zerhouni earned a medical degree from the University of Algiers in 1975, the year he came to the US with his wife, Nadia. After completing a residency in diagnostic radiology at Johns Hopkins in 1978, he rose to the rank of full professor of radiology in 1992 and of biomedical engineering in 1995. In 1996, he was named chairman of the Department of Radiology. He later assuming additional duties as vice dean for clinical affairs and president of the Johns Hopkins Clinical Practice Association, vice dean for research and executive vice dean for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In April 2002 the US Senate confirmed him as NIH's 15th director.

Zerhouni serves on the boards of the Lasker Foundation, Research America, the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and the Mayo Clinic Foundation. He also is an external chief adviser for global science and technology for Sanofi-Aventis, and was named chair of the Maryland Economic Development Commission earlier this month. He was elected a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2000.


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Colorado BioScience Association Names Rick Jory Board Chair, Announces 2009 Sponsors and Appoints Seven New Board Members

Rick Jory, CEO of medical device manufacturer Sandhill Scientific in Highlands Ranch, Colo., was named chairperson of the board of directors for the Colorado BioScience Association at its 2009 annual all-member meeting, held April 21 at the Colorado National Golf Club in Erie, Colo. Jory succeeds entrepreneur Jack Wheeler, founder of MicroPhage in Longmont, Colo.

Jory holds a degree in industrial engineering and an MBA in finance. Jory’s past experience includes work with both Cobe Laboratories and Valleylab. He is past board chair of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce and former president of the Colorado Medical Device Association.

Richard Duke, founding scientist of GlobeImmune and president of Apoplogic Pharmaceuticals, has been named the new vice chairperson of CBSA, whose membership also approved the appointment of seven new members to the association's board:

Joe Bagan, CEO and president of Sharklet Technologies;

Chris Clement, senior director of contracts and business operations for Taligen Therapeutics;

Dick Hinson, senior partner with the Aurora (Colo.) Economic Development Council;

Jim Kasic, director of clinical research for Otologics;

Carin Kutcipal, a partner with the law firm Hogan & Hartson;

Mark Lupa, a partner in High Country Ventures; and

Frank Ronchetti, CFO of BioDesix in Steamboat Springs, Colo.


ProTrials Taps Industry Veteran John W. Foster as Director of Business Development

John Foster, a more than 20-year veteran of the pharmaceutical and clinical research organization industries, has been appointed to the newly created position of director of business development at ProTrials Research, a CRO headquartered in Mountain View, Calif. Foster will lead ProTrials' strategic business and sales initiatives.

Foster most recently helped drug development services giant Covance Laboratories grow sales in its northwest region by almost 500 percent over four years. Earlier, Foster achieved sales growth at Agilent Technologies and Bristol Myers Squibb.

Foster received his BSci in business administration from California State University, Chico, and his MBA from Golden Gate University.


Marco Baccanti Joins DuBiotech as Executive Director

Marco Baccanti has been named executive director of the Dubai Research and Technology Park, also known as DuBiotech.

Prior to joining DuBiotech, Baccanti was managing director of San Raffaele Biomedical Science Park in Milan, Italy, and CEO of Fondazione Parco Biomedico San Raffaele in Rome, overseeing research and business development for the organizations.

Earlier, Baccanti was the president of International Association of Science Parks. He also served the Italian Association of Science Parks as secretary general. He is a member of the board of directors of Assobiotec, the Italian association of biotech entrepreneurs, affiliated to Confindustria.

In addition, Baccanti is a contract professor who teaches innovation management, science park management, and technology transfer at University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan, University S. Anna in Pisa, Federico II in Naples, the University of Siena, Università Cattolica in Piacenza, and SSUP in Lugano, Switzerland. He also teaches internal training courses for Confindustria, IASP, and UNESCO.

Baccanti graduated from the University of Milan with a degree in industrial chemistry.


The Scan

Support for Moderna Booster

An FDA advisory committee supports authorizing a booster for Moderna's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, CNN reports.

Testing at UK Lab Suspended

SARS-CoV-2 testing at a UK lab has been suspended following a number of false negative results.

J&J CSO to Step Down

The Wall Street Journal reports that Paul Stoffels will be stepping down as chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson by the end of the year.

Science Papers Present Proteo-Genomic Map of Human Health, Brain Tumor Target, Tool to Infer CNVs

In Science this week: gene-protein-disease map, epigenomic and transcriptomic approach highlights potential therapeutic target for gliomas, and more