San Francisco, Calif., — The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state stem cell agency created by Proposition 71, has named Matthew Plunkett, Ph.D., as its first Chief Financial Officer. Plunkett joins CIRM with a breadth of biotechology experience in research, finance and strategic planning, including serving as CFO at a private biotechnology company engaged in stem cell research and working as a biopharma investment banker advising corporate clients on the West Coast.
“We are delighted to welcome someone with Matt Plunkett’s experience, energy and collaborative style to CIRM,” said CIRM Board Chair Jonathan Thomas. “As we increasingly focus on translational research and clinical trials of stem cell related therapies, the capital requirements for this ground-breaking work will only increase. Matt will play a key role in securing opportunities to leverage CIRM funds with additional outside capital, for the benefit of all Californians.”
“We look forward to working with Matt Plunkett in our ongoing efforts to support industry,” added Alan Trounson, President of CIRM. “We have made considerable strides in this area and we expect that Matt will be a true asset in supporting our mission. We are delighted he shares our vision of advancing stem cell science in California, and I look forward to working with him to achieve the goals of CIRM.”
Plunkett will lead the finance function including budgeting, forecasting, financial compliance and reporting, and implementation of the industry loan award program. He will work toward building stronger relationships with California companies engaged in stem cell research to achieve success in the complex clinical development process. He will also work closely with other CIRM executives, including Elona Baum CIRM’s General Counsel and Vice President of Business Development.
Most recently, Plunkett served as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at iPierian, a South San Francisco-based company applying patient-derived stem cells to drug discovery. At iPierian he was responsible for corporate finance and strategic planning, including fundraising, non-dilutive financing, audit, accounting, purchasing and payable functions. Prior to joining iPierian, he spent nine years at Oppenheimer & Co. and its predecessor CIBC World Markets, most recently as Managing Director where he lead the firm’s biotechnology investment banking practice for the West Coast.
At the start of his scientific career, Plukett worked as a scientist at Sunesis Pharmaceuticals and at Axys Advanced Technologies. He received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked in the lab of Jonathan Ellman to develop synthetic methodology for the synthesis of structurally diverse small-molecule combinatorial libraries for drug discovery and lead optimization.
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 opportunities. A list of grants and loans awarded to date may be seen here: http://www.cirm.ca.gov/for-researchers/researchfunding