WASHINGTON, D.C. (Wednesday, May 05, 2010) - The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) announced that Robert Klein, Chairman of the Governing Board for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, has been selected as the Honoree for the 2010 Biotech Humanitarian Award.
“BIO is honored to present Bob Klein with the 2010 Biotech Humanitarian Award. His vision and determination to create alternatives to federal funding for stem cell research helped make the State of California a global leader in disease research, giving hope and inspiration to millions of patients and families around the world,” said Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of BIO.
BIO established the Biotech Humanitarian Award in 2009 to recognize everyday heroes within the biotechnology community who have helped heal, fuel and feed the planet through their work.
Mr. Klein was selected as the 2010 Honoree for his leadership and support of the California Proposition 71 Committee, which united many disparate voices to advocate for passage of the “California Stem Cell Research and Cures” ballot initiative in November 2004. At the time of Proposition 71’s passage, federal funding for stem cell research had been sharply restricted. Proposition 71 jump-started efforts in California and made the state an international leader in stem cell research and funding.
“From the earliest days of drafting Prop 71 through the first five years of CIRM’s existence, Bob Klein and CIRM have been committed to stimulating and encouraging collaboration between scientists at different institutions, within California and beyond. This crucial commitment to collaboration has fostered an environment in which scientists have gotten excited about working together on the big projects that can lead to discoveries that will drive development of breakthrough therapies,” said Lawrence Goldstein, Director, UC San Diego Stem Cell Program, Professor, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, UC San Diego and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Since the passage of Proposition 71, Mr. Klein has served as Chairman of the Governing Board for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). To date, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has awarded 328 grants worth more than $1 billion in 15 rounds of funding. The Proposition 71 grant and loan programs have attracted $1.2 billion in matching funds from donors, institutions and other nations. Each round of funding accelerates an aspect of stem cell research that staff scientists and outside experts feel will move the entire field toward new cures for diseases. The first research facility partially-funded by CIRM opened this Spring.
"Support from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has allowed our team, working with TargeGen, to use stem cells to develop a therapy that may be able to halt and reverse the development of a specific type of pre-leukemic condition called myelofibrosis. We have completed a successful TargeGen sponsored Phase I clinical trial, in which patients experienced improved health, obviating the need for bone marrow transplantation," said Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, Director of the Moores University of California San Diego Cancer Center Stem Cell Research Program. "This type of breakthrough therapy is about new beginnings for patients, not just about extending life span, but improving their quality of life as well."
Mr. Klein was presented the Award during the May 5 Keynote Address at the 2010 BIO International Convention in Chicago, IL. Mr. Klein elected to donate the Award’s $10,000 prize to the Americans for Cures Foundation.
Mr. Klein was selected as the honoree by a distinguished panel of judges comprising leaders in science, advocacy and media. The judges evaluated nominations based on four criteria: impact on future generations, impact on contemporary society, contribution to the field of biotechnology and level of innovation exhibited.
“Bob Klein’s perseverance in creating dedicated funding for stem cell research has enabled so many researchers to pursue work that otherwise would have been frozen out of critical funding. This Award recognizes the direction and leadership he has provided not only to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, but to the entire biotech community,” said Stephen A. Sherwin, M.D., Chairman of BIO’s Board of Directors and Co-founder and Chairman of Ceregene, Inc.
“I would like to thank our impressive panel of judges for their time spent reviewing nominations and selecting such a fine recipient for the 2010 Biotech Humanitarian Award,” added Greenwood.
To stay informed about the Biotech Humanitarian Award visit: www.iambiotech.org/humanitarian-award
About the 2010 BIO International Convention: The BIO International Convention helps to support the association’s programs and initiatives. BIO works throughout the year to create a policy environment that enables the industry to continue to fulfill its vision of bettering the world through biotechnology innovation. For more information on the global event for biotechnology, including program, registration, and housing information, please visit http://convention.bio.org/
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