Part-time stem cell agency exec takes new job 

The man who was supposed to be paid up to $250,000 for six months of part-time work at California’s stem cell agency has backed off that position after little more than a month to take the helm of a major biotech company.

But Alan Lewis, who had accepted the position of interim vice president of research and development at the agency in mid-June, will remain a part-time consultant at a cost to taxpayers of $250 an hour.

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is a bond-funded agency created by state voters in 2004, in the midst of the President George W. Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research funding. The agency is authorized to spend $3 billion in bond money — paid for by the state’s general fund — during a minimum of 10 years. So far, it has spent about
$1 billion.

According to his contract, Lewis would be paid $2,500 per day of work, with a maximum of $250,000 in six months. He was expected to work about three days a week. The agency was to pay for his travel from his home in Southern California to the CIRM headquarters in San Francisco once a week.

But that no longer appears to be the case.

This week, biotech company Ambit announced that Lewis had been hired as the company’s CEO. Lewis said when he took the contract at CIRM, he was not expecting the offer at the San Diego firm.

“It’s only just happened,” he said.

In the few weeks he spent working part time for CIRM, he’d already begun some projects and he will continue to consult on those, Lewis said. When asked exactly how much time he expects to spend on the consulting gig with CIRM, Lewis would only say he was sure he would “be pretty busy with Ambit.”


Change in pay


Alan Lewis, interim vice president of research and development at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, recently accepted a job as CEO of pharmaceutical company Ambit. The following were the terms of his contract at CIRM:

$250,000 Former maximum salary for the contract period

6 Contract period, in months

3 Days per week, Lewis had been expected to work

1 Day per month, approximate amount Lewis is now expected to work

$250 New hourly rate for Lewis

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