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BioRegion Newsmakers: Jul 24, 2009

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Tech Council of Maryland Names Renée M. Winsky as New CEO

Renée M. Winsky has been named the CEO of the Tech Council of Maryland, a statewide industry coalition that includes the state's life sciences association, MdBio. Winsky will take office Sept. 1, succeeding Julie Coons, who resigned last November to become the president and chief executive officer of the Electronic Retailing Association in Arlington, Va. [BRN, Nov. 3, 2008].

Since 2007, Winsky has been the president and executive director of the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, also known as TEDCO, a state-created agency that promotes economic development through the development, transfer and commercialization of technology. Before taking TEDCO's helm, she served as its deputy executive director for seven years.

Winsky also helped develop Maryland’s strategic plan for life sciences as a member of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Maryland Life Sciences Advisory Board. The plan, BioMaryland 2020: A Strategic Plan for the Life Sciences in Maryland, was released in May during the 2009 BIO International Convention in Atlanta [BRN, May 21].

In interviews with the Washington Post and Maryland Community Newspapers since her appointment, Winsky has expressed a desire for the tech council to expand its presence beyond tech-heavy Montgomery County — possibly into Baltimore, where two large bioparks have taken shape in recent years, or the state capital of Annapolis.

Jonathan Cohen, president & CEO of 20/20 GeneSystems of Rockville, told Maryland Community Newspapers that Winsky's experience with TEDCO and the strategic plan gives her an understanding of state government the tech council can benefit from: "The organization needs to considerably ramp up its advocacy efforts both in Annapolis and on Capitol Hill. To date this has not been a high enough priority for TCM."

Before joining TEDCO, Winsky served as vice president of the information technology services division of the Information Technology Association of America. She also has worked with the National League of Cities and its affiliate, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, the Maryland Municipal League, and the city of Greenbelt, Md.

Winsky has served on the UMBC Research Park Corporation, the Chesapeake Innovation Center, the TowsonGlobal Business Globalization Center, the Mid-Atlantic Institute for Space and Technology, and was a member of the University System of Maryland’s Presidential Task Force on Research Competitiveness and Economic Development.


Member of CIRM Oversight Board Advising President of Calif. Stem Cell Agency

Ted Love, who until recently was CEO of Nuvelo in San Carlos, Calif., will serve as a part-time, unpaid advisor to Alan Trounson, president of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, during the next few months, the Golden State's stem cell agency announced.

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Love will remain on the board created to oversee CIRM, the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee. The dual roles are not considered a conflict of interest: "To the extent that any potential conflicts arise, Ted will recuse himself from participating in the decision," CIRM spokeswoman Amy Adams told the California Stem Cell Report.

Love, a director of the ICOC since 2005, will volunteer for CIRM for several months until the agency appoints a new chief scientific officer to succeed Marie Csete. She tendered her resignation, effective Aug. 1, in June after just 15 months in the job, citing what she termed a lack of respect from CIRM officials in an interview with Nature [BRN, July 6].

In announcing Love's assignment, CIRM said Love will be of “considerable value” as the agency examines requests for funding from its $210 million disease team grant round, with decisions scheduled for approval later this year. However, none of Love's work will involve applications from any company that has applied for a grant or that is expected to apply for a grant, Adams told the Report.

Love "does not expect that his brief tenure at CIRM will interfere with his oversight responsibilities. Indeed, he thinks it will give him a better understanding of CIRM's internal operations," Adams added.

Love is a board member of Affymax, Santarus, and Arca Biopharma, the last being the Broomfield, Colo., company that acquired Nuvelo earlier this year.


Joao Paulo Baptista Named Managing Director for Burrill & Co., Burrill Latin America

Joao Paulo V. Poiares Baptista has joined San Francisco biotech investment/analysis firm Burrill & Co. as managing director for both the firm and its Burrill Latin America unit.

Prior to joining Burrill, he served as a director of Rio Bravo Venture Partners, an asset management firm created from the merger of MVP with the venture capital division of Rio Bravo Investimentos.

Baptista previously served as general director of Pacific Infotech, an investment group
Focused on technology-based companies, which he expanded within Europe from a headquarters in Lisbon. He also founded Mercatto Venture Partners, a pioneer VC firm in Brazil, and was active in the founding of Projeto INOVAR from FINEP, Brazil's Ministry of Science and Technology, where he was responsible for establishing the Venture Forum Brazil.
Baptista graduated in economy at the Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal.


Four Merrill Lynch Professionals Bolt for Healthcare Investment Bank Leerink Swann

Healthcare investment bank Leerink Swann has recruited a team of four investment bankers that will join the firm upon completion of notice obligations to Bank of America Merrill Lynch:

James Boylan has been named Leerink Swann's new head of investment banking, and will continue to serve clients in pharma/biotech, medical device, and healthcare services. Boylan spent 12 years at Merrill Lynch as an M&A specialist and a healthcare origination banker, with a focus on life sciences, medical device and healthcare services companies. He has served as an adviser to Celgene on its acquisition of Pharmion, and to Lifecell on its sale to Kinetic Concepts. Boylan earned an MBA from Columbia University, and a BSci from Lehigh University.

Tony Gibney is a former managing director at Merrill Lynch, where he led the Firm’s East Coast biotechnology and branded specialty pharmaceutical effort. Gibney joined Merrill Lynch in 1999, and has executed over 75 lead advised M&A and financing transactions, including IPOs, follow-on offerings, and convertible offerings. He has served as adviser to Virochem Pharma on its sale to Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and to Axcan Pharma on its sale to Texas Pacific Group. Gibney earned a BA from Yale University.

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Bryan Giraudo joins Leerink Swann from Merrill Lynch in San Francisco, where he was responsible for the firm’s West Coast mid- and small cap biotechnology and medical technology relationships. Bryan joined Merrill Lynch in 1997, and represented Ventana Medical System’s hostile defense and subsequent sale to Roche, as well as the sale of Cougar Biotechnology to Johnson & Johnson. Giraudo received his BA from Georgetown University.

Mark Page, who will be a managing director at Leerink Swann, was a third-year director in the healthcare investment banking group at Merrill Lynch, which he joined in 2001. Page focuses on the medical device sector, where his recent transaction experience includes advising Getinge AB on its acquisition of Datascope, Insulet and TomoTherapy's IPOs, and follow on equity offerings and acquisition-related financings for Inverness Medical. Page earned his MBA from the Wharton school at the University of Pennsylvania and his BA from Haverford College.


Three Biotech Industry Veterans Join Boston VC Firm Third Rock Ventures

Third Rock Ventures, a Boston venture capital firm focused on launching life sciences companies, has appointed Philip Reilly and Gregory Verdine as venture partners, and Craig Greaves as recruiting partner.

From 2000 to 2006, Reilly served as CEO and chairman of the board of Interleukin Genetics, which focuses on developing DNA-based risk tests associated with variations in the interleukin-1 gene. Previously, Reilly was the executive director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center for Mental Retardation, a not-for-profit organization in Massachusetts, a position he had held since 1990.

A trustee at Cornell University, Reilly has held numerous teaching positions including assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, and adjunct professor of both legal studies and biology at Brandeis University. Board certified in internal medicine and clinical genetics, he earned his MD from Yale University, his JD from Columbia University, and is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association.

Verdine is director of the Chemical Biology Initiative and the Program in Cancer Chemical Biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and is a Harvard College professor and the Erving Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University. He holds academic appointments within various departments at Harvard in Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and Molecular and Cellular Biology, as well as at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the department of cancer biology.

Greaves will lead all efforts for talent acquisition and resource allocation at Third Rock Ventures, where he will recruit entrepreneurs-in-residence and associates as well as advisors and consultants.

Most recently, Greaves served as director of talent acquisition at Cubist Pharmaceuticals where he led the team that was responsible for the company’s recruiting. He has also served as director of employment at Biogen Idec where he was responsible for all domestic recruiting activities in three locations. Greaves' tenure at Biogen Idec dates back to its days as Biogen, helping it grow from 350 employees in 1994 to 2,700 employees located in 20 countries in 2003.


Mintz Levin Names Karen Lovitch to Manage Health Law Practice

Karen S. Lovitch, a member in the Washington, DC, office of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, has been selected to manage the law firm's health law practice.

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The practice consists of more than 30 attorneys, many of whom have served as in-house counsel or have held senior government positions. Clients include pharmaceutical managers, durable medical equipment suppliers, and laboratories.

Lovitch is also vice chair of the firm’s diversity committee, and chair of the DC entry-level hiring committee.

In addition, Lovitch counsels laboratories on compliance with the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, and state laboratory licensure laws, and has served as regulatory counsel in a number of mergers and acquisitions involving laboratories.

Lovitch graduated summa cum laude from West Virginia University, and earned her JD magna cum laude from the Washington College of Law at the American University. She is admitted to practice in Virginia and the District of Columbia.


Deputy Secretary for Penna. DCED's Technology Investment Office Joins Ohio's NorTech

Rebecca Bagley has been named president-elect of the Northeast Ohio Technology Coalition, also known as NorTech, She will succeed Dorothy C. Baunach, the coalition's founding staff director, as president and CEO later this year, when Baunach will become president emeritus, and continue serving as a special adviser to the organization until December 2010.

Bagley has left her previous position as deputy secretary for the Technology Investment Office of Pennsylvania's Department of Community and Economic Development. At DCED, she oversaw administration of several major state programs, including the Life Sciences Greenhouse initiative, the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority and the Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the Keystone Innovation Zone program, the Research and Development Tax Credit program, and other technology-based economic development programs designed to support research and commercialization activities.

At DCED, Bagley also managed the $650 million Energy Independence Strategy signed into law by Gov. Edward Rendell in 2008, as well as approximately $79 million in appropriations and more than $1.7 billion in investments for Pennsylvania. She previously served as DCED's director of venture investment. Before joining DCED, Bagley worked for several investment banks, where her worked with early stage companies and venture capital firms.

NorTech is Northeast Ohio's technology-based economic development organization, with the goal of growing the region's high tech economy.


DuPont Chairman Charles O. Holliday Jr. Wins BIO's Industrial Biotech Award

Charles O. Holliday Jr., the chairman of DuPont, has won the 2009 George Washington Carver Award of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, which cited his commitment to industrial biotechnology as a tool for sustainable business growth.

Under Holliday, DuPont partnered with sugar processor Tate & Lyle to manufacture 1,3 propanediol, a polyester ingredient formed by fermenting sugar. The company has also worked with several partners to apply its fermentation technology to the production of renewable fuels and chemicals in a biorefinery, under the aegis of the US Department of Energy.

The award was given at a plenary lunch of the sixth annual 2009 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


The Scan

Unwrapping Mummies' Faces

LiveScience reports that Parabon NanoLabs researchers have reconstructed how three Egyptian mummies may have looked.

Study on Hold

The Spectrum 10K study has been put on hold due to a backlash, leading the researchers to conduct consultations with the autism community, Nature News reports.

Others Out There Already

Reuters reports that Sanofi is no longer developing an mRNA-based vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.

PNAS Papers on GWAS False Discovery, PRAMEF2 Role in Tumorigenesis, RNA Virus Reverse Genetics

In PNAS this week: strategy to account for GWAS false-discovery rates, role of PRAMEF2 in cancer development, and more.