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People Transfer: Jun 1, 2009

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Toronto-based non-profit MaRS Innovation said this week that it has appointed Raphael "Rafi" Hofstein as president and CEO.

Hofstein arrives at MaRS Innovation from Israel, where since 1999 he held the position of president and CEO of Hadasit, the technology-transfer company of the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem. He also served as chair of Hadasit BioHolding, a publicly-traded company formed to manage Hadasit spinout companies, since it launched in 2005.

From 1997 to 1999, Hofstein was president of Mindsense Biosystems, an Israeli company developing neuropsychiatric immune assays. Prior to that, he was vice president of business development for Ecogen, a subsidiary of Monsanto; a board member of the Israeli Life Science Industry Organization; and a co-founder and executive in Israel's Tech-Transfer Network.

Hofstein holds a PhD and MS in life sciences and chemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and completed postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School.

MaRS Innovation provides commercialization assistance and incubator space to support the commercialization of its Toronto-area member institutions, which include three universities, 10 academic teaching hospitals, and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.


The University Funds said this week that it has named Nathan McDonald as vice president of investor relations.

In 2005, McDonald co-founded the Keiretsu Forum, a Pacific Northwest-based angel investment network. He has also served as managing director of Venture Velocity, an investment management firm that provides management assistance and angel funding to startup companies.

McDonald also co-founded and managed the Early Stage Investment Forum/Venture All-Stars organization, which he operated in Seattle from 2000 to 2008.

Founded last year, the University Funds is a hybrid investment management firm that provides support, services, and funding to commercialize IP from partnering academic institutions. The company has initially selected eight Western US-based universities and research institutions as sources of IP, and will target the life sciences, plant and animal sciences, and green technology sectors.

Norris Tolson, president and CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, has been appointed to the board of trustees of North Carolina State University.

Tolson has held several policy positions in North Carolina, including as a two-term legislator from 1994 to 1997; secretary of commerce from 1997 to 1998; secretary of transportation in 1998; and secretary of revenue from 2001 to 2007.

Tolson also worked for the agricultural products and electronics business of DuPont for 28 years; and served in the US Army Counter-Intelligence Corps from 1963 to 1965. He holds a BS in crop science and agribusiness from NC State.


The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business has named Craig Dye as director of investments.

Dye will head up the Dingman Center's Capital Access Network, an angel investment group focused on funding early-stage deals of up to $1.5 million.

Previously, Dye served as an advisor to Affinity Lab, an incubator for corporate and social entrepreneurs in the mid-Atlantic region. Prior to this, Dingman was COO of Articulated Impact; and founder and CEO of Wheelhouse Networks. He has also served as chief information officer for Hogan & Hartson, and began his career with Informatics General. Dye holds a BA in political science from the State University of New York at Buffalo.


Pennsylvania Bio, the state's biosciences association, said this week that it has named Michael Cola, Stephen Jannetta, and Kim Taylor to its board of directors.

Cola is president of specialty pharmaceuticals for Shire Pharmaceuticals, which he joined in 2005 as an executive vice president. Cola has also served as president of the life sciences group at Safeguard Scientifics, and various product-development and -commercialization positions at AstraMerck, and later with AstraZeneca.

Jannetta is a partner in the business and finance practice at the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. He is also a member of the firm's life sciences interdisciplinary group.

Taylor is president of Centocor Ortho Biotech, a Johnson & Johnson company. She joined Ortho Biotech in February 2007 as vice president of sales and marketing. Taylor has also served as managing director for Janssen-Cilag Australia/New Zealand.


Jeff Mason, senior vice president and chief business development office for the Michigan Economic Development Corp., has been selected as the first executive director of the Michigan University Research Corridor, effective July 6.

The Michigan University Research Corridor is an alliance between the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University, and is designed to strengthen the state's economy through combined research and technology-commercialization efforts.

Prior to his current role, Mason oversaw MEDC’s Technology Development Group, which was supported by the state's 21st Century Jobs Fund. Mason earlier led the MEDC’s communication and media relations activities, and has served as managing director of e-MEDC, an online provider of economic development products and services.

Prior to joining MEDC in 1999, Mason held several posts in state government, including several roles with the Michigan Department of Commerce. He holds a BS in business administration from MSU.


James Stansel, former acting general counsel of the US Department of Health and Human Services, has rejoined Sidley Austin as a partner, resident in the Washington, DC, office, the law firm said.

Stansel rejoins Sidley as co-head of the firm's global life sciences practice. As acting general counsel, Stansel served as chief legal officer of HHS, including sub-agencies the US Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Institutes of Health. Prior to this, Stansel served as deputy general counsel and was responsible for legal issues related to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Stansel originally joined Sidley in 1998 following a clerkship with the Honorable Stephen Anderson of the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. He earned his JD from Yale Law School, where he served as senior editor of the Yale Law Journal.


Wolf Greenfield said last month that Hunter Baker has joined the firm as counsel in its pharmaceutical group.

Baker, who will also be a member of Wolf Greenfield's biotechnology and chemical and materials group, was previously a partner with Choate Hall & Stewart in Boston, where he represented universities, research centers, startups, and medium-sized companies in developing IP strategies, conducting patentability searches and freedom-to-operate studies, prosecuting patent applications, and counseling clients on licensing.

Baker earned an MD-PhD at Harvard Medical School, through the Harvard-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He also holds an MS in chemistry from Harvard, and a law degree from Boston College Law School.

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