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BioRegion Newsmakers: Jun 12, 2009

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IASP’s North American Division Elects Piedmont Triad Research Park Director Bill Dean President

Bill Dean, director of the Piedmont Triad Research Park in Winston-Salem, NC, was elected to a two-year term as president of the North American division of the International Association of Science Parks. Dean will serve on IASP’s international board of directors, comprised of science park leaders from around the world.

Dean, who is also first chairman of the North Carolina Research Parks Network [BRN, Jan. 26], is a past president of the Association of University Research Parks in Washington, DC, and received AURP’s Career Achievement Award of Excellence in 2005 in recognition for advancing the field of research and science parks.

Previously, he was research park director of Cummings Research Park in Huntsville, Ala.


New York ESD Names Upstate Official as President and CEO; Agency’s Fourth Leader in Three Years

Dennis Mullen has been appointed by New York Gov. David Paterson as president and CEO of the state’s economic development agency, the Empire State Development Corp., and commissioner of the Department of Economic Development. Mullen — ESD’s fourth top day-to-day executive in three years — succeeds Marisa Lago, who at month’s end will resign from both positions after just eight months.

“I have been approached about a number of positions outside of NYS Government. Given the public nature of Empire Development and the need for a leader who can devote full time to ESD’s critical mission, I think it is advisable that I resign as I pursue these positions,” Lago said in an unusual Saturday afternoon statement released June 6 by Paterson’s office.

Before joining ESD last year, Mullen was president and CEO of the regional economic development organization Greater Rochester (NY) Enterprise. Earlier, he served as chairman and CEO of privately held frozen food marketer Birds Eye Foods, which is headquartered in Rochester.

Lago joined ESD last year from Citi Markets & Banking, where she served as global head of compliance. She previously worked for the US Securities and Exchange Commission.


Montgomery & Co. Hires Ex-Piper Jaffray Managing Director David Parrot to Run Healthcare Practice

David Parrot has joined the San Francisco office of investment banking firm Montgomery & Co. as managing director and head of healthcare investment banking. He will lead the firm’s healthcare practice, which focuses on providing strategic advisory and capital raising services to the biotechnology, specialty pharma, medical device and medical diagnostics sectors.

Parrot has more than 19 years of investment banking experience, with more than 12 of those years focused on the life science sector. Before joining Montgomery, Parrot was a managing director for the biopharmaceutical investment banking franchise at Piper Jaffray & Co., where he helped oversee US biopharmaceutical sector operations and led transactions that included M&A, partnership advisory, private placements, registered direct/PIPE offerings, public equity including IPOs and follow-on offerings, and convertible securities.

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Parrot previously worked in the life sciences investment banking group at Genesis Merchant Group Securities, and in the debt capital markets and West Coast corporate coverage groups at SBC Warburg Dillon Reed, which has since been acquired by UBS.

Parrot holds a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College, and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.


Marshall University Taps Jennifer Kmiec as Associate VP for Economic Development

Jennifer Kmiec has joined Marshall University in Huntington, WV, as its associate vice president for economic development. Her duties will include evaluating the patents of Marshall scientists and faculty members, and seeking new opportunities to commercialize technologies developed at the university. The position also involves conducting market analysis to see whether business and industry might be interested in their research.

"The associate VP of economic development is a new position we've added in response to the greater level of commercialization activity at Marshall in the recent past," John Maher, Marshall’s vice president of research, told the State Journal of Charleston, WV.

Kmiec previously was vice president of business development and marketing for InB:Biotechnologies in Newark, Del. While in Delaware, Kmiec was chairwoman of that state's chapter of the Biotechnology Industry Organization. That experience will help the effort of a West Virginia steering committee to create a BIO chapter for that state, Bryan Brown of Brown Communications, whose firm represents the BIO steering committee, told the newspaper.

Earlier, Kmiec served as vice president for marketing at Athena Biotechnologies, and director of genomics operations for Tapestry Pharmaceuticals.

Kmiec is the wife of Eric Kmiec, who started in January as the first director and lead researcher for the Marshall Institute for Interdisciplinary Research, which focuses on developing biotechnology research and spin-off companies [BRN, Dec. 1, 2008].

Kmiec told the Charleston (WV) Daily Mail she's looking forward to "creating employment opportunities for graduates who grew up here, went to school here and don't want to leave."

Kmiec earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Southern Illinois University in 1981. She earned an MBA from the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis, in 1989.


Agricultural Biotech Pioneer Rebecca Westbrooks Honored by YWCA of the Lower Cape Fear (NC)

Rebecca Westbrooks, a pioneer of agricultural biotechnology and an instructor in Environmental Science Technology at Southeastern Community College, received the environmental award from the YWCA of the Lower Cape Fear (NC) during its 25th Annual Woman of Achievement Awards, held in Wilmington, NC.

Westbrooks spearheaded a campaign to preserve the 16,000-acre Green Swamp east of Wilmington, NC, and has procured more than $1 million in grants to benefit students, the college, and the community. She has also sought to raise awareness of alternative fuels by developing a biodiesel program, and is a member of the state-funded North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s board of directors. She is also board chair of the Lake Waccamaw State Park, and a volunteer with the National Geographic Society.


Business Strategy Consultant Angela Larson Elected to POZEN’s Board of Directors

Angela Larson, president of Larson Pharm Consult, a corporate development business strategy consulting firm focused on the pharmaceutical industry, has been elected to the board of directors of Pozen, a pharmaceutical company based in Chapel Hill, NC.

Larson is also president of Fierce Fun Toys, a toy manufacturer and retailer.

Previously, Larson was an equity research analyst focused on the specialty pharmaceutical sector for several financial firms, including SmithBarney/CitiGroup, Susquehanna International Group, PaineWebber, and CE Unterberg Towbin. At Unterberg Towbin, Larson became the director of research and a member of the company's operating committee, which was responsible for firm strategy, budgeting, and forecasting.


Utah Technology Council Announces 2009 Hall of Fame Inductees

Two life science professionals will be among three tech professionals to be inducted into the Utah Technology Council's Hall of Fame:

Peter Meldrum, president and CEO of Myriad Genetics, and a co-founder of the company. He previously served as president and CEO of Founders Fund, and helped launch several biotechnology companies, including: Myriad Genetics, Sonix Innovations, Rosetta Inpharmatics (now part of Merck), Pique Therapeutics, and Kylin Therapeutics. He received an MBA from the University of Utah in 1974, and a BSci degree in chemical engineering four years earlier.

Mark Skolnick, chief scientific officer and a director of Myriad Genetics, and another co-founder of the company. Skolnick and several colleagues were the first to conceive of using restriction fragment length polymorphism technology as genetic markers, a discovery that underpinned the Human Genome Project. He received a PhD in genetics from Stanford University in 1975, and a BA degree in economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1968.

Meldrum, Skolnick, and Greg Butterfield, managing partner of SageCreek Partners, a consulting company focused on assisting tech companies in the US and overseas, will be inducted at the 11th annual Hall of Fame black-tie gala on Oct. 23, at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City.


The Scan

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.