Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Former Chief of California Stem Cell Agency Returns to California as Head of Sanford Burnham

C. Randal Mills, who led California's $3 billion stem cell agency for three years, this afternoon was named as chief executive officer of the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, Ca.

Randy Mills
Sanford Burnham photo
The institute said in a news release that Mills brought to Sanford "decades of experience as an entrepreneur and transformational leader in the biomedical industry."

Most recently, Mills was president of the National Marrow Donor Program/Be The Match nonprofit, an international leader in facilitating and supporting bone marrow transplantation.

Mills left Be The Match in February of this year, citing personal reasons.

Mills, who goes by Randy, was  president and CEO of the California stem cell agency from May 2014 until July 2017. 

During his time at the agency, which is formally known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), Mills instituted something he called CIRM 2.0. It streamlined and sped up the work of the agency, sharpening its focus with an emphasis on performance metrics. The structure of the effort remains in place today. 

When Mills left the agency, CIRM Chair Jonathan Thomas, who recruited Mills, said his efforts had created a "bold strategic plan, the results of which include an 82 percent reduction in approval time, a 3-fold increase in the number of clinical trials, and a 65 percent reduction in the time it takes to enroll those trials."

Sanford Burnham has received $39.4 million from CIRM over the years. Its president, Kristiina Vouri, sits on the governing board of the stem cell agency, which has included a Sanford representative since 2004. 

Vouris said in the news release that Mills "comes to us with extensive organizational and executive leadership experience. His diverse background and knowledge of translational research and drug discovery will help us propel the Institute into a bright and successful future.”

Mills will begin his work immediately at Sanford Burnham, which has 700 employees in the San Diego area.  

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