Jim Greenwood, president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), said of Klein,
“His vision and determination to create alternatives to federal funding for stem cell research helped make the sate of California a global leader in disease research, giving hope and inspiration to millions of patients and families around the world,"Klein, a Palo Alto real estate investment banker, directed the election campaign that resulted in the passage of Prop. 71 in 2004. The ballot initiative, of which Klein was a key author, created the stem cell agency, an entity which is unprecedented in California history. It also was the first government agency to use borrowed funds (state bonds) to finance scientific research.
Since 2005, CIRM has handed out more than $1 billion in grants and loans to more than 300 recipients.
The BIO award carries a $10,000 prize. Klein donated the funds to Americans for Cures, his personal stem cell lobbying group.
Klein has said he will step down as chairman of the stem cell agency at the end of this year. No names have yet surfaced as a potential successor.