Friday, May 20, 2011

Seattle Gilead Exec Is Potential Candidate for Chair of California Stem Cell Agency

A third candidate and possibly a fourth has emerged for nomination as the new chairman of the $3 billion California stem cell agency.

Bruce Montgomery
One is Bruce Montgomery, an executive in Washington state with Gilead Sciences, Inc., of Foster City, Ca., reliable sources told the California Stem Cell Report. The other is Stephen Juelsgaard of Woodside, Ca. He is a former executive with Genentech who was appointed to the CIRM board recently. His appointment may indicate that he is not actively seeking to replace Robert Klein, who is resigning as chairman.

Scuttlebutt has it that Montgomery is favored by CIRM President Alan Trounson. Montgomery is senior vice president for respiratory therapeutics at Gilead. He was the founder and CEO of Corus Pharma of Seattle when it was purchased by Gilead in 2006. Prior to that he was an executive with Patho Genesis Corp. and worked at Genentech.

Montgomery was also once chairman of the Washington State Biotechnology and Biomedical Association. He is a physician with an active California license.

Juelsgaard's appointment to the board does not rule him out as a candidate for chair, but it would seem to make his possible nomination more awkward.

The other potential nominees whose names have surfaced are Frank Litvack, former CEO of Conor, and Jonathan Thomas, chairman of Saybrook Capital of Santa Monica, Ca.

Four statewide officials are charged with nominating candidates. The officials are the governor, treasurer, controller and lieutenant governor. Their nominations are expected on Monday if not sooner. The CIRM board can only choose among the nominees. The board is expected to take up the matter at a meeting in San Diego June 23.

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