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Beth Bechdol, Melissa Proffitt Reese, David Voris, Cheryl Gain, Jim Fong, Fernando Garcia Abad, Paul Allegretti, Richard Gilchrist, Kim Kimbell, Karen Spilizewski


Law Firm Forms New Agribusiness Unit; Names Two Professionals
Indianapolis-based law firm Ice Miller has hired two professionals to oversee its new agricultural law initiative intended to serve biotechnology and alternative energy clients as well as traditional food and farming concerns:
  • Beth Bechdol has been named director of agribusiness strategies, with responsibility for assisting and coordinating the initiative. She previously served as deputy director of Indiana’s Department of Agriculture, and earlier worked as chief of staff to the undersecretary of farm and foreign agricultural services at the US Department of Agriculture. Bechdol also served on the US Senate Agriculture Committee under Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar during the development of the 2002 Farm Bill. Bechdol, who grew up on a corn and soybean farm in Auburn, Ind., earned a BSci in international politics from Georgetown University in 1994, and a MSci in agricultural economics from Purdue University in 1996.
  • Melissa Proffitt Reese, a partner with Ice Miller, has been named chair of the initiative. She received a BA from Indiana University in 1982, and graduated three years later from Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis.,
The agribusiness group will include an additional 14 attorneys and industry specialists, making it the largest agricultural law initiative in the state, Ice Miller said.
Ice Miller said it will offer services related to labor, employment and immigration, intellectual property, environmental and real estate management, transactional and investment related services, litigation/risk management, regulatory, public affairs and lobbying and estate planning.

Cyntellect Appoints SynergEyes CFO to Top Financial Post
David Voris has been appointed vice president of finance and administration and CFO of Cyntellect, a San Diego life sciences company focused on commercialization of laser-based live-cell manipulation systems.
Voris previously served as the CFO of SynergEyes, a developer of hybrid contact lenses, and before that held the CFO position with Laser Diagnostic Technologies from 1999 until its sale to Carl Zeiss Meditec in 2004. Voris has held positions in finance and operations with Alaris Medical Systems and Metracor Technologies, after beginning his career at Deloitte & Touche as a CPA.
Voris received his undergraduate degree from Arizona State University.

Thrive Announces New Director of Biotechnology Initiatives
Cheryl Gain has joined Thrive, a not-for-profit entity serving the eight-county Madison, Wis., region, as its director of biotechnology initiatives. In her new role, Gain will act as regional leader and catalyst to grow the region’s biotech and biomedical sectors, in part by working with business, government, education and non-profit partners.
Gain previously served eight years at the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, where she was technology development consultant and director of the office of science and technology. She helped launch the Wisconsin Technology Council, and organized three Wisconsin venture missions in 2001-2002, leading Wisconsin technology entrepreneurs to make presentations to venture capitalists on the East and West coasts. She also organized the state’s early-stage business symposiums, Governor’s Business Plan contests, Wisconsin SBIR conferences and awards events, and Wisconsin entrepreneurs’ conferences.
Earlier, Gain was assistant director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Consortium for Global Electronic Commerce, where she served as small business ombudsman and entrepreneurial specialist.
Cheryl holds an MBA in marketing and finance, and a Masters degree in agricultural journalism, both from UW-Madison. She is a certified economic development finance professional.

Cell Therapeutics Appoints Jim Fong as Vice President, Commercial Operations

Jim Fong has been named vice president of commercial operations for Cell Therapeutics, a publicly traded Seattle biopharmaceutical company. Fong will lead sales and marketing of the company’s products nationally and globally, reporting directly to President and CEO James Bianco.
Fong most recently was national sales director at CV Therapeutics in Palo Alto, Calif., where he managed a sales team of more than 200 people, including business managers, marketing and sales operations, and the sales training department. At CVT, Fong led the launch of its Ranexa treatment for chronic angina.
Prior to CVT, Fong directed several sales teams and also had previous oncology experience at Pharmacia. Fong holds a BSci from University of California, Los Angeles, in psychology.

Epicore BioNetworks Names New Global Aquaculture Business Development Director
Fernando Garcia Abad has been named worldwide Aquaculture Business Development Director for Epicore BioNetworks, a publicly traded Calgary, Alberta, Canada, producer of environmental biotechnology and animal nutrition products. The new position is a promotion for Garcia, who previously oversaw aquaculture business development in South and Central America.
Garcia is a 12-year veteran of Epicore who has spent the past eight years overseeing the company’s technical support and business development efforts in Latin America.
Garcia graduated with a degree in aquaculture engineering from Ecuador’s Universidad Politecnica del Litoral. He has consulted to the industry and has held management positions in production facilities at the shrimp industry’s maturations, hatcheries and farms levels.

CBRE Promotes Asset Manager to Senior Managing Director in New York Region
Paul Allegretti has been promoted by CB Richard Ellis to senior managing director of the company’s asset services group for the company’s New York Tri-State region.
Allegretti — who will be based in CBRE’s midtown Manhattan office — will oversee CBRE’s nearly 50 million square feet of properties under management in the region. He will also integrate some of the region’s properties into CBRE’s national portfolio of 100 buildings to be included in a US Green Building Council program to raise the number of buildings that operate under Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design environmental efficiency standards.
Allegretti has managed properties and portfolios for CBRE since returning to the company in 2004. Significant assignments have included serving as the director for a 7 million-square-foot portfolio of office properties that included four New York City buildings — 1290 Avenue of the Americas, 14 Wall Street, 5 Penn Plaza and 501 Seventh Avenue — as well as overseeing portfolios for clients such as Chanel and Scholastic. He held a portfolio manager position with a predecessor company, Insignia/ESG, in 2002, and worked as a property manager for another predecessor, the Edward S Gordon Company, in the early 1990s.
Allegretti has a MSci in real estate from New York University, and a BSci in finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

BioMed Realty Trust Appoints Real Estate Company President to Its Board
Richard Gilchrist, president of the investment properties group for the Irvine Company, a privately held real estate investment company, has been named to the board of directors of BioMed Realty Trust, a publicly traded real estate investment trust based in San Diego. The appointment increased the size of BioMed’s board to eight members.
Gilchrist was previously president, co-CEO, and a board member of Maguire Properties, a REIT; and before that served as CEO, president and board member of Commonwealth Atlantic Properties, a privately held REIT. At Commonwealth Atlantic, he managed the planning and entitlement of one of the East Coast's largest and most complex mixed-used projects, an 11 million-square-foot development called Potomac Yard.
Gilchrist is chairman of the board of trustees of Whittier College, where he received a BA degree. He earned a law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.

CellCyte Taps MDS Pharma Executive to Head its Human Resources Office
Kim Kimbell, SPHR, has been named new head of human resources for CellCyte Genetics, a biotechnology company that develops therapeutic products based on adult stem cells. The company recently relocated from Kirkland, Wash., to expanded facilities in Bothell, Wash [see Deals & Doings, this issue]. 
Kimbell was previously director of human resources for MDS Pharma (formerly Skeletech), a Seattle-area clinical research organization, and before that served as human resources manager for Zymogenetics, a Seattle-based biotech firm.
Kimbell is certified as a senior professional in human resources by the Human Resources Certification Institute.

Life Sciences VC Firm Names BioEnterprise Staffer Vice President for Cleveland Office
Karen Spilizewski is joining RiverVest Venture Partners, a St. Louis life sciences venture capital firm, on a part-time basis as a vice president, effective Jan. 1, 2008. Spilizewski will oversee the firm’s new Cleveland office, to be located within the BioEnterprise Building, 11000 Cedar Ave., Suite 100 [see Around the Regions, this issue].
Spilizewski joined BioEnterprise in 2005, where she helps accelerate the growth of medical device startups that originate from universities, clinical research, local entrepreneurs, or companies relocating to the Cleveland area. Previously, Spilizewski held research and business development responsibilities with Avery Dennison.
Spilizewski received her MBA at Case Western Reserve's Weatherhead School of Management, and both an MSci degree in macromolecular science and a BSci degree in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University.

The Scan

Latent HIV Found in White Blood Cells of Individuals on Long-Term Treatments

Researchers in Nature Microbiology find HIV genetic material in monocyte white blood cells and in macrophages that differentiated from them in individuals on HIV-suppressive treatment.

Seagull Microbiome Altered by Microplastic Exposure

The overall diversity and the composition at gut microbiome sites appear to coincide with microplastic exposure and ingestion in two wild bird species, according to a new Nature Ecology and Evolution study.

Study Traces Bladder Cancer Risk Contributors in Organ Transplant Recipients

In eLife, genome and transcriptome sequencing reveal mutation signatures, recurrent somatic mutations, and risky virus sequences in bladder cancers occurring in transplant recipients.

Genes Linked to White-Tailed Jackrabbits' Winter Coat Color Change

Climate change, the researchers noted in Science, may lead to camouflage mismatch and increase predation of white-tailed jackrabbits.