Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nature Says CIRM Faces 'Stark Choice" in New Chairman

Nature magazine today weighed in with its story on the nominations for the new chairman of the $3 billion California stem cell agency.

Writing on the publication's Spoonful of Medicine blog, Elie Dolgin said that the CIRM board of directors faces "a stark choice over who will lead the San Francisco-based institute as it enters into its next phase" – a cardiologist or bond financier.

The piece contrasted Frank Litvack's scientific and medical credentials with the investment background of Jonathan Thomas, who is chairman of a bond investment firm, Saybrook Capital in Santa Monic, Ca.

Dolgin reported that Thomas declined to comment on his salary request, which is reportedly at the top of the $400,000 range for the part-time job. Litvack is ready to take $137,500.

Meanwhile, the CIRM directors' Evaluation Subcommittee scheduled a June 3 meeting to interview the candidates. The session will be mostly closed but there is a provision for public comment at some time duiring the meeting.

The public can attend at locations in San Francisco, South San Francisco, Coronado in the San Diego area and Los Angeles. Specific addresses can be found on the agenda.

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