CEO Jeff Solomon Relinquishing Helm of UK’s ERBI After a Decade
Jeff Solomon, the CEO of the UK-based life sciences networking and support group Eastern Region Biotechnology Initiative, is stepping down at year’s end after 10 years in the post. He will remain on the board of ERBI, Europe’s largest biotech cluster, as a non-executive director.
“I am not standing down because I have another job to go to. I simply feel it is now time for someone else to take up the reins and for me to find a new challenge,” Solomon told the Cambridge, UK, magazine Business Weekly.
During his tenure, ERBI’s staff has grown from one part-time assistant to the current staff of 11 full-timers.
Solomon took the day-to-day helm of ERBI in 1998, when it was a government organization with no members; the institute became a private not-for-profit in 2000. Under Solomon, ERBI grew to its current 360 members from Cambridge and the rest of the East of England region, and launched the annual Cambridge Biopartnering Exchange, a showcase for the region’s life sciences industry.
EBRI has managed the East of England Stem Cell Network since last year, and earlier this year prevailed over competitor organizations to run the Medtech network of medical device and technology companies, now ERBI Medtech and formerly known as Medilink East.
ERBI is now actively seeking a successor. Potential candidates should contact ERBI Chairman Gordon Baxter at [email protected] for more information.
Biofuels Center of North Carolina Expands Board of Directors to 35 Members
The Biofuels Center of North Carolina has expanded its board of directors from an executive board to a 35-member body, through the appointment of senior executives from the state’s agriculture, biofuels, finance, forestry and petrochemical industries; the university and community college systems; state government; environmental organizations, and other non-profits.
The expanded board held its first meeting on Sept. 22 at the North Carolina Biofuels Campus in Oxford, NC. The center is charged by the state General Assembly with implementing North Carolina’s Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership, a strategic plan for the state to produce 10 percent of its liquid fuels from locally-grown feedstocks, for a total of about 600 million gallons of biofuels a year.
Members of the board include six executive board members — Chairman W. Steven Burke, senior vice president, corporate affairs, North Carolina Biotechnology Center; Secretary/Treasurer E. Norris Tolson, president and CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center; Jane Preyer, director of the Southeast office of the Environmental Defense Fund; John Steffens, head of crop genetics research for Syngenta Biotechnology; James Stovall, chair of the Person County Economic Development Commission; and Johnny Wynne, dean and executive director for agricultural programs at North Carolina State University.
Also on the board: Jack Carlisle, president of Clean Burn Fuels; Eva Clayton, president of Eva Clayton Associates International; S. Lawrence Davenport, president of JP Davenport & Son Farm Supply; Robert Eubanks Jr., founder and president of Franklin Street Partners; Lyle Estill, president of Piedmont Biofuels; James Fain III, secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Commerce; Billy Ray Hall, president of the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center; Gary Harris, executive director of North Carolina Petroleum & Convenience Marketers; Richard Holder, president of Harvey Fertilizer & Gas; Robert Jordan III, president of Jordan Lumber and Supply; Thomas Lambeth, senior fellow with the Z Smith Reynolds Foundation; Steven Leath, vice president for research at the University of North Carolina, and Permanent Designee for UNC President Erskine Bowles.
Also named to the board: Matthew Meyer, director of BioNetwork, the North Carolina Community College System; Stephen Piccot, director of North Carolina operations for the Southern Research Institute; Mark Scholl, senior partner at Entira; Garrett Screws, senior manager, government relations for Novozymes; Larry Shirley, director of the state Energy Office, North Carolina Department of Administration; Patricia Sobrero, associate vice chancellor of North Carolina State University; Steve Troxler, commissioner of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences; Clay Thorp, general partner with Hatteras Venture Partners; Daniel Weathington, executive director of the North Carolina Small Grain Growers Association; and Larry Wooten, president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau.
The board’s 35th seat will be held by the person to be appointed as president of the biofuels center.
Cooley Godward Kronish Adds to its Life Sciences, Venture Capital, Technology, and Clean Tech Leadership
Fifteen partners of the law firm Heller Ehrman have joined the law firm Cooley Godward Kronish. Partners joining Cooley in Palo Alto, Calif., include:
- Mark Weeks, corporate partner, and previously the head of Heller's firm-wide business department;
- Mark Medearis, a co-founder of Heller’s Venture Law Group,
- Elias Blawie, corporate partner, another co-founder of VLG and co-chair of Heller's energy and clean technologies practice.
- Jon Gavenman, corporate partner, head of Heller's Silicon Valley office.
- John Sellers, corporate partner
- Renee Deming, compensation and benefits partner.
- Mark Windfeld-Hansen, tax partner, and;
- Keith Miller, Amy Paye and Mavis Yee, all corporate partners.
The firm's new Seattle office will be led by corporate partner John Robertson, recently chair of the business department for Heller's Northwest offices. He is joined by corporate partners Sonya Erickson, co-chair of Heller's national life sciences practice; and IP transactions partners Alison Freeman-Gleason, co-chair of Heller's energy and clean technologies practice, and Kevin Kelly, chair of Heller's intellectual property transactions group.
In the Washington, DC, office, Cooley has added Natasha Leskovsek, a practitioner with experience before the US Food and Drug Administration, to its life sciences practice.
Retired Amgen Executive George Vandeman Named Chairman of So. California REIT
George Vandeman, principal of the private investment firm Vandeman & Co., has been named chairman of the board of Maguire Properties. He has been a director of the Southern California-focused real estate investment trust since October 2007.
Vandeman launched his firm soon after retiring in July 2000 from Amgen, where he served for five years as senior vice president and general counsel, as well as a member of the biotech giant’s operating committee. At various times during that period, he also served as Amgen’s head of product licensing and head of corporate development.
Before joining Amgen in 1995, Vandeman was a senior partner and head of the mergers and acquisitions practice at the international law firm of Latham & Watkins, where he worked for nearly three decades and represented Marvin Davis, Ted Turner, and other clients.
Bionanotech Consultancy Taps UK Trade & Investment Advisor as Business Development Director
Mike Fisher has been appointed business development director and manager of a new UK Government contract for Bio Nano Consulting, a bionanotechnology research and development consultancy. Fisher previously served as the British Government's North American advisor on life sciences with the UK Trade & Investment office in Boston.
A medicinal chemist with more than 10 years postdoctoral experience in research, project management and consulting, Fisher helped develop the biotech cluster in the Northwest of England and became a founder of the Northwest Genetics Knowledge Park.
A joint venture of Imperial College London and University College London, BNC is funded through the Technology Strategy Board with additional support from the London Development Agency. BNC partners with the National Physical Laboratory to serve the biomedical and healthcare industries in microsystems and nanotechnology.
Keith Grinstein, 1960-2008: Seattle VC Partner, Former CEO of Biodiesel Company
Keith Grinstein, a partner in the Seattle venture capital firm Second Avenue Partners and former CEO of commercial biodiesel refiner Seattle Biodiesel, died Sept. 28 at his home unexpectedly, of natural causes.
Grinstein was chairman of coin-counting machine firm Coinstar since August 2001, and a strategic advisor for Madrona Venture Group. He also served on the boards of F5 Networks and TrueBlue (formerly Labor Ready). He previously held senior positions at McCaw Cellular, AT&T Wireless, and Nextel International.
Grinstein graduated from Yale University in 1982 and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, JD magna cum laude, in 1986. He was a member of the State of Washington and New York Bar Associations.
A memorial service was held Oct. 6 at Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle. Gifts in his memory may be made to the Humane Society of Seattle/King County, 16495 NE 74th, Redmond, WA 98052, or the charity of the donor’s choice, Grinstein’s family said in a statement.