Industry Executive Kevin Marks joins CIRM as General Counsel during the Agency’s first wave of strategic growth

Oakland, CA – Within 6 months of $5.5B in renewed funding under Proposition 14, CIRM is reporting on its first wave of strategic hires and has recruited Kevin Marks as CIRM’s General Counsel.

Kevin comes to CIRM after 20 years at Roche where he served as Vice President and Head of Legal and Compliance at Roche Molecular Solutions, VP and General Counsel at Roche Molecular Diagnostics and VP, General Counsel at Roche Palo Alto, LLC. He received his undergraduate degree at Lafayette College and his law degree at Villanova.

In his previous roles, he oversaw a team of 60 employees globally in general law, employment law, compliance and intellectual property. Kevin and his team managed the business area’s global litigation portfolio, coordinated legal and compliance support for nine sites in the US, Europe and Africa, directed the acquisition and integration of six startup companies and managed merger agreements and earn out provisions.

“We are so delighted to have Kevin Marks join CIRM as a member of our executive Leadership Team,” says Maria T. Millan, MD, CIRM’s President and CEO. “He brings unique qualifications and critical skills during the formative phase and launch of our new strategic plan for California’s $5.5B investment in stem cell, genomics and regenerative medicine research and therapy development. As general counsel, he will oversee the legal department, human resources, grants management and operations at the Agency. Kevin has an established track record with global and domestic expertise and a history of delivering innovative legal and business solutions.”

“He is revered by his colleagues as an exceptional leader in his profession and in the community. Kevin is known for developing people as well as programs, and for promoting racial, ethnic and gender diversity.”

“I am incredibly honored to be joining CIRM at this stage of its journey,” says Marks. “I see the opportunity to contribute to positive patient outcomes–especially those patients with unmet medical needs–by working towards accelerating stem cell research in California as a member of the CIRM team as rewarding and perfectly aligned with my professional and personal goals.”

In addition, CIRM is pleased to announce the following new team members:

Pouneh Simpson will join as CIRM’s new Director of Finance. Pouneh comes to CIRM with extensive experience in California State Agencies. She most recently served as the Recovery Financial Administration Chief at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services in California. Prior to that she was the Chief Financial Officer of the Veterans Homes, where she managed finances at eight Veterans Homes with over 2,800 positions and $365 million in General Fund support. She led the writing of legislation, regulations, policies and procedures for Cal Vet, overhauling the business and financial portions of eight Veterans Homes.

Mitra Hooshmand, PhD. joins as Senior Science Officer for Special Projects and Initiatives. Prior to joining CIRM, Mitra served as the Director of Scientific Programs at Americans for Cures and taught a highly rated course in the Department of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). With a PhD. in Anatomy and Biology from the University of California at Irvine (UCI), she is a former project scientist at the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center at UCI. Her research focus included neural stem cell transplantation for spinal cord injury.

Vanessa Singh is CIRM’s new Human Resources Manager. She brings 15 years of experience working for the state of California, working at the Departments of General Services, Insurance and Human Services. Recently, she was a Case Investigator for San Bernardino Local Health Jurisdiction, Department of Public Health, doing COVID contact tracing.

Claudette Mandac joins CIRM as Project Manager for Review. Claudette has more than seven years’ experience with the University of California, San Francisco’s Human Research Protection Program. At UCSF she helped process thousands of IRB applications, performed document reviews, and managed post-approval safety reports for domestic and international socio-behavioral or biomedical research. Claudette has two degrees from U.C. Berkeley; one in Arts and History and another in Science, Conservation and Resource Studies.


About CIRM

At CIRM, we never forget that we were created by the people of California to accelerate stem cell treatments to patients with unmet medical needs, and act with a sense of urgency to succeed in that mission.

To meet this challenge, our team of highly trained and experienced professionals actively partners with both academia and industry in a hands-on, entrepreneurial environment to fast track the development of today’s most promising stem cell technologies.

With $5.5 billion in funding and more than 150 active stem cell programs in our portfolio, CIRM is the world’s largest institution dedicated to helping people by bringing the future of cellular medicine closer to reality.

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