The California-based biotech company, BioTime Inc., has announced the appointment of Dr. Walter Funk as Vice President for Stem Cell Research. Dr. Funk joins the upper management team of BioTime’s Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Product Development section, where he will participate in the formulation of policies that govern the scientific R&D of the company.
According to the official press release, "Dr. Funk is an experienced biotechnology professional, having held both senior technical and executive research positions over the past 15 years. He trained in biochemistry (Ph.D., University of British Columbia) and has published over 45 peer-reviewed journal articles. He was one of the first scientists to join Geron, and participated in the isolation of the telomerase gene which allows certain cells, such as embryonic stem cells, to proliferate without aging. Later at Geron, he worked with the world’s first human embryonic stem cell lines and provided the first detailed description of their gene expression patterns through a collaboration with Celera Corporation. Dr. Funk subsequently held the position of V.P. Research at Nuvelo, where he led a team developing human biotherapeutics. Most recently, Dr. Funk co-founded Parallax Venture Partners, a seed-stage venture capital group, and sits on the boards of Gene Oracle, a provider of synthetic gene technologies and services, and Phyllom, an agricultural biotech product development company."
As Dr. Funk formally stated, "I am excited to join the BioTime team at such an important time in the company’s development. The development of the ACTCellerate embryonic progenitor cell technology represents a fundamental advancement of cell therapeutic strategies, providing for the first time an elegantly simple means of scaling up commercial quantities of highly purified human cell types. I look forward to helping BioTime execute a strategic plan to push this technology towards commercialization. Our recent award of a prestigious CIRM grant will help BioTime and its collaborators make rapid progress toward this goal."
As the CEO of BioTime, Michael West, Ph.D., announced, "We couldn’t be more enthusiastic about Dr. Funk’s decision to join the BioTime management team. He has a track record of consistently providing critical scientific expertise and executive acumen. His expertise in genomics will help us reach our goal of leading the emerging industry of regenerative medicine by providing the first detailed gene expression map of BioTime’s hundreds of proprietary cell lines."
Headquartered in Alameda, California, BioTime describes itself as "a biotechnology company focused on regenerative medicine and blood plasma volume expanders" with applications in surgery and emergency trauma. Through its wholly owned subsidiary, Embryome Sciences, BioTime is focused on the research, development and ultimate commercialization of clinical therapies derived from human embryonic stem cells.
BioTime’s stock closed today at $3.35.