New California stem cell chief stresses speed and efficiency in search for treatments

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The new president and CEO of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), transferring from the pharmaceutical industry, has assumed the helm of the $3 billion organization stressing efficiency, including a pledge to prioritize speedier development of treatments for the many diseases falling within the agency’s scope.
 
“What I promise I will do is to bring stem cell therapies and treatments to the patients that need them,” C. Randal Mills, Ph.D., chosen to run CIRM by its board of directors on April 30, said in San Diego on June 24 at the third of three “Meet the New CIRM President” events. “That is quite sincerely what I have done my entire career, and the only thing I care about and the only reason I came to CIRM.”
 
Dr. Mills was introduced by CIRM board chair Jonathan Thomas, J.D., Ph.D. The meeting took place in conjunction with the 2014 BIO International Convention, June 23-26, which showcased the work of leading biotech firms and featured a keynote speech by British business magnate Sir Richard Branson and a moderated Q & A with former Secretary of State and potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. The convention attracted more than 15,000 participants from all 50 states and 70 countries.
 
Dr. Mills outlined four questions he said will guide him in decision-making at CIRM.
 
First, he said, “is whatever we’re doing speeding up a treatment reaching a patient?”
 
Secondly, will CIRM’s activities increase the likelihood of a treatment reaching a patient? There are many “valleys of death,” or dead ends, in stem cell research, Dr. Mills noted.
 
Third, is CIRM meeting an unmet medical need, as opposed to a condition already successfully dealt with by other medical means?
 
Fourth, is CIRM doing all this efficiently?
 
 
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