News blog

California’s stem cell agency to choose between investment banker and cardiologist

Cross posted from Nature Medicine’s Spoonful of Medicine blog on behalf of Elie Dolgin.

CIRM nominees: Jonathan Thomas (left) and Frank Litvack (right)

Six months after a bungled attempt to find a new leader, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) yesterday announced two candidates to succeed Bob Klein, the architect and founding chairman of the $3 billion state stem cell agency. And with the option of electing either a bond financier or a cardiologist, the CIRM board now faces a stark choice over who will lead the San Francisco-based institute as it enters into its next phase.

Klein, a real estate magnate and lawyer who led the charge to put CIRM on the ballot in 2004, announced plans earlier this month to step down as CIRM’s chairman on 23 June. He had previously intended to do so when his term ended in December 2010. But after citizenship concerns scuttled the candidacy of his likely successor — the Canadian molecular biologist Alan Bernstein — Klein agreed to stay on for six months until a suitable replacement could be found.

At the time, Klein told Nature that he wanted “another scientist or clinician-scientist” to lead CIRM’s governing board. In line with those wishes, California State Controller John Chiang yesterday nominated Frank Litvack, a Los Angeles cardiologist who has held academic appointments at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the University of California–Los Angeles, to replace Klein. Litvack has also founded and led several medical technology start-ups, and currently sits on the boards of several biopharmaceutical companies.

Continue reading on Spoonful of Medicine.


Comments are closed.