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BioRegion Newsmakers: Jan 26, 2009


CIRM Governing Board Delays Decision on Vice Chairman; Roth Cites Qualifications

The governing board for California's stem cell agency will not vote for a new vice chairman this week as previously expected. Citing conflict among the schedules of members, the governance subcommittee of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee postponed a Jan. 23 meeting to discuss the issue — effectively precluding action by the full ICOC board.

The subcommittee will recommend a decision to the full ICOC board on whom to appoint as vice chair. Two men have expressed interest in the post: Duane Roth, a longtime ICOC board member who is CEO of Connect, an organization that promotes the growth of life science and other technology businesses in the San Diego region; and Art Torres, chairman of the state Democratic party. A decision had been expected at ICOC's January meeting, set for Jan. 29-30 [BRN, Dec. 15, 2008].

The Roth-Torres contest has political overtones since Roth was nominated by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, while Torres was nominated by three elected Democrats: Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, Controller John Chiang, and Treasurer Bill Lockyer.

"Because the Governance Subcommittee has not yet had an opportunity to reconvene to continue its deliberations, we've postponed the consideration of this item," Don Gibbons, a spokesman for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, told Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica, Calif., nonprofit group that monitors state stem cell policy and CIRM, in an update on the vice chair issue posted Jan. 21 on its blog. "Once the Governance Subcommittee meets, we hope to schedule a telephonic meeting of the board to consider it."

Last week Roth released a statement to Consumer Watchdog offering reasons why he believed he was best suited for the position. Roth cited his background of more than 30 years of pharmaceutical and biotech industry operating responsibility, as well as his being active for more than 20 years in leadership roles within disease and patient advocacy organizations.

"I think my experiences and attributes including product development, innovation financing, regulatory and reimbursement policy, industry leadership and governance in both for-profit and non-profit organizations complement Chairman Klein's experiences and attributes," Roth said in his statement.

The governance subcommittee also has to decide a salary for the vice chair position. In December, the full ICOC approved a $150,000 annual salary for its chairman, Robert Klein.

Pa. Gov. Rendell Names Former Arkema President/CEO George Cornelius as DCED Secretary

George Cornelius, the immediate past president and chief executive officer of chemical company Arkema's Americas division, was named secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Community and Economic Development by Gov. Edward Rendell. DCED has more than 350 employees and a nearly $900 million budget.

In nearly 13 years with Arkema — the last four as the top executive at the company's Americas headquarters in Philadelphia — Cornelius led the company to double-digit growth in earnings, and increased profit margins. He also increased his company's involvement in the United Way and encouraged other companies in the southeast to follow his lead.

Cornelius previously served as Arkema's vice president and general counsel. Prior to joining Arkema, he was a partner with Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellot, a law firm headquartered in Pittsburgh.

In a press release, Rendell said Cornelius' experience made him especially well suited to overseeing two key state economic development efforts: Boosting international trade efforts, and advancing technology research and development.

Cornelius holds a JD degree from Dickinson School of Law and a bachelor's degree from Pennsylvania State University.

Cushman & Wakefield Taps Clay Dunning to Oversee its Northern California Market

Clay Dunning has joined Cushman & Wakefield's San Francisco office as director and city leader for client solutions-investor services in northern California. Dunning will oversee C&W's northern California market, working with members of the firm's client solutions group on regional and national initiatives.

Dunning previously headed Sierra Commercial, a real estate and facility services provider he founded in 2000 that is winding down its operations. Previously he was western region general manager for Kastle Systems, a provider of security solutions for building owners and tenants; a senior vice president of Transwestern Commercial Services, responsible for its property management activities in the western states; and a senior vice president of Shuwa Management, responsible for the management, operation and renewal leasing of a $3 billion US real estate portfolio consisting primarily of high rise office buildings.

Dunning is also a member of C&W's new resolution group, which uses internal experts from all service lines to assist lenders, owners, and prospective buyers with distressed properties. In addition, Dunning is currently serving his second term as Los Angeles chapter president of the International Facility Management Association.

CB Richard Ellis Promotes Roshan Shah to First Vice President

Roshan Shah has been promoted to first vice president within the global brokerage services group of the commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis. This is the third promotion in the last two years for Shah, who previously served as vice president.

Shah, who joined CBRE in 2005, represents local, national and multinational corporations — ranging from the Clinton Global Initiative to several large and boutique financial services firms, with a particular emphasis on hedge funds and private equity firms. Most recently, Shah negotiated Bank of Baroda's 20-year, 11,000-sf renewal at 1 Park Avenue and [212]MEDIA's 16,000-sf lease at 460 Park Ave.

Shah graduated with honors from Boston University School of Management, with a BSci in business administration.

The Scan

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.

Team Presents Cattle Genotype-Tissue Expression Atlas

Using RNA sequences representing thousands of cattle samples, researchers looked at relationships between cattle genotype and tissue expression in Nature Genetics.

Researchers Map Recombination in Khoe-San Population

With whole-genome sequences for dozens of individuals from the Nama population, researchers saw in Genome Biology fine-scale recombination patterns that clustered outside of other populations.

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.