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BioRegion Newsmakers: Sep 25, 2009

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Maryland Gov. O'Malley Honored by Policy Group for Leadership of State Stem Cell Effort

BALTIMORE — Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley was awarded the Stem Cell Action Award for National Leadership by the Genetics Policy Institute in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., at its 2009 World Stem Cell Summit, held here at the Baltimore Convention Center.

O'Malley was honored for his support for state spending on Maryland's stem cell program — a cumulative $56 million in 141 grants to researchers over three years — and other state life sciences initiatives, said Bernard Siegel, founder and executive director of the nonprofit policy institute.

"He has been fighting in this state to preserve stem cell research, and the fund, under the most challenging economic circumstances that we find. It is because of his leadership that the fund is what it is," Siegel said in introductory remarks. "He will be fighting as best as he can to keep as much money as he can to keep this fund going."

Past winners include actor Michael J. Fox; Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle; and Robert Klein, chairman of the governing body of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee.


Two Professionals Join Investment Team of BioAdvance, the Biotechnology Greenhouse of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Shahram Hejazi and Marie Lindner have joined the new investment team of BioAdvance, the Biotechnology Greenhouse of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a state-created seed- and pre-seed investor in life sciences companies.

Hejazi is responsible for BioAdvance investments in device, diagnostics and imaging companies, as well as working with mid- to late-stage molecular imaging, life science tools and diagnostics companies already within the BioAdvance portfolio.

Hejazi was president of Kodak’s life science division (now Carestream Molecular Imaging), where he had global responsibility for R&D, manufacturing, operations, sales, marketing and service for the division, which included the systems and the imaging agent businesses. Before Kodak, Hejazi was CEO of Zargis Medical, an early-stage medical device company that was spun off from Siemens. At Zargis he led the company’s efforts in areas ranging from raising capital and technology development to completion of several clinical trials, FDA approval and product launch. Previously, he was the global head of strategic business development for the medical business unit of Siemens.

Lindner works with therapeutic-focused companies in BioAdvance's portfolio, providing their management teams with strategic advice, business, and regulatory/clinical strategy counsel. She also reviews companies applying for investments from the greenhouse.

Lindner previously served in senior executive roles with life sciences firms including Isolagen, Elan, SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline) and Rhône-Poulenc Rorer (now Sanofi-Aventis). She also served as vice president of strategic business development at accelerator BTG International, and co-founded Embera NeuroTherapeutics, a start-up biotech company focused on treatment of addiction.

Hejazi is also an FDA industry advisory panel member for molecular and clinical genetic devices, an advisory board member for Fox Chase Cancer Center, a board director at Alpha Innotech, and a board director for SibTech. Hejazi has a PhD in electrical engineering with an emphasis on biophysics from the State University of New York's University at Buffalo, as well as executive business education from Stanford University.

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Lindner, previously a board director at Embera, received her MD at the Chicago Medical School (Rosalind Franklin University of the Health Sciences) and her BA in biology cum laude at Washington University in St. Louis. She was previously a faculty member at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.


Washington, DC, Area Real Estate Firm Scheer Partners Names Biotech Facilities Manager to Senior VP Role

David Kaye, a longtime facilities-management expert in the biotechnology sector, has been named a senior vice president with the commercial real estate firm Scheer Partners, working from its Rockville, Md., office. The position, which took effect Sept. 14, will have Kaye focusing on business development, brokerage, and construction and facility management projects.

Kaye most recently served as a sales associate with Mackintosh Realtors, and as president of Facilities Management Solutions, a Frederick, Md., facilities-services company primarily serving the biotech sector.

Previously, he spent 17 years at the American Red Cross, first as director of facilities management for its biomedical research and development division, and later on as the division’s senior director of facilities and research services. Among his functional areas there were physical plant operations and maintenance, construction engineering, environmental health and safety, animal research operations, lab support services, and telecommunications.

Prior to his career with the Red Cross, Kaye held positions at Stanford University and Yale University.

Kaye, who received a BSci degree in business administration and management from the University of Maryland, College Park, served 25 years in US Army, most of that time with the US Army Corps of Engineers.


Intellectual Property Attorney Jason Lief Joins Gersten Savage as Partner/IP Practice Co-Chair

Jason Lief, an intellectual property attorney, has joined Gersten Savage as a partner and co-chair of the firm's intellectual property practice. Lief's practice focuses on patent and intellectual property litigation and counseling, with a concentration on the pharmaceutical industry.

Lief has represented pharmaceutical clients in Hatch-Waxman cases, and has handled matters spanning organic chemistry, biotechnology, antibodies, combinatorial chemistry, RNAi technology, antibiotics, anti-depressants, anti-retroviral and anti-ulcer medicines, sustained-release medicines, drug-stabilization, polymers, advanced battery systems, detergents and deodorant technologies.

Before joining Gersten Savage, Lief was a partner with McDermott, Will & Emery. Previously, he was a partner with Morgan Lewis & Bockius. He began his career as an associate and then a partner at Hopgood, Calimafde, Kalil & Judlowe, which later merged with Morgan Lewis.

Lief earned his JD at Cardozo Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude, ranked in the top five percent of his class, and served as notes editor for the law review. He holds a BA degree in chemistry magna cum laude from Brooklyn College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Lief is admitted to practice in the state of New York, the US District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the US Supreme Court.


Pharmaceutical Sales/Marketing Firm TargetRx Names Two to Management Team

TargetRx, a pharmaceutical sales and marketing firm in Horsham, Pa., has named two new members to its management team. Dave Dornstreich has been named vice president of business development, while David Deutsch has been appointed vice president of client service and development.

Dornstreich previously served as vice president of sales for i3 Pharma Informatics, an Ingenix company, where he led the start up of the organization. Prior to i3, he was chief revenue
officer for Mirixa, and earlier spent eight years as vice president of sales for Verispan, where he played a leadership role in the firm's longitudinal patient data business. Dornstreich has also held business development positions at Quintiles, as well as a number of sales and sales operations roles with Ciba-Geigy, IMS, Knoll Pharmaceutical and Colgate Palmolive.

Dornstreich has a BA in political science from Hofstra University; Deutsch holds an MPH in health services management from Johns Hopkins University.

Deutsch most recently served as senior principal and oncology thought leader at IMS Health. David has held healthcare planning and delivery roles within the Maryland Department of Health, the Johns Hopkins Hospital Health System, the US Department of Health & Human Services, and the UK's National Health Service.

Deutsch has held international marketing, market research and policy positions with Baxter International, GD Searle, and Bristol Myers Squibb, before founding Biotext, a strategic market research and medical communications agency, which he developed before merging it into Quintiles Transnational. He later served in senior management positions with Quintiles, Datamonitor, P\S\L Research International and the MattsonJack Group.

The Scan

Just Breathing

A new analysis suggests that most Mycobacterium tuberculosis is spread by aerosols from breathing, rather than by coughing, the New York Times reports.

Just Like This One

NPR reports that the World Health Organization has hired a South African biotech company to recreate mRNA vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 that is similar to the one developed by Moderna.

Slow Start

The Wall Street Journal reports that Biogen's Alzheimer's disease treatment had revenues for July through September that totaled $300,000.

Genome Research Papers on Cancer Chromatin, Splicing in the Thymus, Circular RNAs in Cancer

In Genome Research this week: analysis of bivalent chromatin sites, RBFOX splicing factors' role in thymic epithelial cells, and more.