Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New CIRM VP Lewis and Ambit Biosciences

The new, part-time interim vice president for research and development at the California stem cell agency, Alan Lewis, also is executive chairman of Ambit Biosciences, a privately held biotech firm in San Diego. That information was not included in CIRM 's news release on his role at the agency.

We asked Lewis by email about his work at Ambit and told him we would carry his responses verbatim. He responded directly and quickly. Here are the questions and his answers.

California Stem Cell Report (CSCR): When did you become executive chairman of Ambit?
Lewis: “Approx May, 2010."

CSCR: What responsibilities does that entail?
Lewis: “It is similar to being board chair except Ambit is seeking a new CEO so I am the 'sign off' person who speaks once a week to three key staff. Also responsible for helping to create board agendas, and I am a member of the compensation committee.”

CSCR:Is the position compensated? If so, how much?
Lewis: “Typical of biotech boards--approx $25k/year. This consists of an annual fee plus board meeting fee.”

CSCR: Do you plan to continue as executive chairman while you are serving as interim VP at CIRM?
Lewis: “Yes. It involves approx five meetings per year in San Diego, and will have less responsibility as soon as the new CEO joins, probably mid-later July this year.”

CSCR: Do you see any conflicts of interest of any sort involving CIRM and your role at Ambit?
Lewis: "No. Ambit has no interest in regenerative medicines or cancer stem cells. They are focused on kinase inhibitors for cancer and inflammatatory diseases.”

CSCR: Were you a candidate for the VP position as a fulltime employee at CIRM?
Lewis: “No.”

CSCR: Do you plan to seek any other position at CIRM or on the CIRM board in the future?
Lewis: “Not given this any thought – probably not.”

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