Stem Cell Agency Mourns the Loss of Duane Roth

San Francisco, CA – The sudden and tragic death of Duane Roth has deeply saddened everyone at the stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). Duane was more than just a valued member of our governing Board, the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC), he was also a good friend and someone who played a hugely important role in shaping the decisions we made.

“On behalf of all the CIRM family, we mourn the loss of our colleague and dear friend Duane Roth,” said Jonathan Thomas, PhD, JD, Chair of the stem cell agency’s Board. “He was one of the true stewards of the mission, offering countless insights on the role of industry in the world of regenerative medicine and how best to drive therapies efficiently through to patients.  He was unfailingly a voice of reason and optimism and always sought to find ways to make things happen, refusing to take “no” for an answer.”

Duane died Saturday from injuries sustained in a bicycling accident on July 21.

“Today I woke to the tragic news of Duane’s passing,” says Alan Trounson, PhD, President of the stem cell agency. “Such a wonderful life cut short so abruptly. We shall all miss him so very much. He was the optimism of CIRM, always supportive and so willing to guide us. He was my confidant for the time I have been at CIRM and provided me with the energy and direction necessary at times in the absence of my family.”

With experience in the pharmaceutical, biotech and life sciences fields, and as a champion of technology entrepreneurship, Duane was uniquely qualified to help guide the stem cell agency’s Board in its policy and decision making.

“Duane was a friend and inspiring leader who unselfishly fought for patients everywhere,” says former state Senator Art Torres, JD, who served as co-Vice Chair of the agency with Duane. “He leaves a lasting legacy for California and the nation. I will miss his counsel and friendship. Our love goes out to his wife Renee and all the Roth family.”

Duane was a big supporter of Pedal the Cause, an organization that raises funds for cancer research. Donations can be made to the organization in Roth’s name.

“His passing will be deeply felt by all of us, as well as by the many patients and everyone connected to CIRM whom he touched over the years,” says Jonathan Thomas.

About CIRM: CIRM was established in November 2004 with the passage of Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act. The statewide ballot measure, which provided $3 billion in funding for stem cell research at California universities and research institutions, was overwhelmingly approved by voters, and called for the establishment of an entity to make grants and provide loans for stem cell research, research facilities, and other vital research.

Kevin McCormack