Thursday, June 19, 2014

New California Stem Cell CEO and his Criteria for Handing Out Cash

The new president of the $3 billion California stem cell agency, Randy Mills, will bring his stump speech to San Diego next week where more than 10,000 biotech business types are expected to gather in perhaps the largest such meeting in the nation.

Randy Mills
Mills has scheduled a public appearance, with questions from the audience, for next Tuesday at the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel. He will also moderate a panel at the BIO 2014 convention on commercializing stem cell therapies, a subject with which he is intimately familiar. Mills was head of Osiris Therapeutics as it slogged its way to approval of a stem cell therapy.  Linda Marban, CEO of the CIRM-funded and publicly traded Capricor, will be one of the speakers on the panel.

Mills has been on the job fulltime only since June 1. He has made two public appearances this month, one in San Francisco, where the agency is based, and one in Los Angeles. Kevin McCormack, senior director of public communications for the agency, wrote about one session last week. 
“Randy began by saying that he has a simple guiding principle; that everything we do at the agency should be ‘all about the patients.’ In fleshing that out, he identified four criteria that he will use in making any decision:
“1. Will it speed up the development of treatments for patients?
“2. Will it increase the likelihood of developing a successful treatment for patients?
“3. Will it meet an unmet medical need?
“4. Is it efficient?
“He says those criteria will help make sure that everything we do at the stem cell agency is in alignment with our goals; that we aren’t funding work that could easily attract funding from other agencies or even the pharmaceutical industry.”
McCormack continued,
“For the scientists, Randy said his goal was to give them as much support as they needed, particularly in the areas where they may not be very experienced – such as moving products into clinical trials, getting approval from regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and commercializing a potential therapy.” 
 The San Diego public meeting next Tuesday will be from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the  Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Place, in the Gas Lamp rooms, A & B.

Other top stem cell agency officials scheduled to be at the BIO convention, which could hit 16,000 attendees, include Chairman Jonathan Thomas, former President Alan Trounson and senior vice president Ellen Feigal.

Here is the list of events for the Regenerative Medicine Day, which the stem cell agency is co-sponsoring, at  BIO next Wednesday, including speakers.

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