Two nominated to lead California stem cell agency 

The first ever changing-of-the-guard at California’s stem cell agency moved forward Monday, with two men nominated to take the helm of the $3 billion public agency.

The two nominees named by Monday’s deadline are both business leaders, one an investment banker and the second a partner in a medical device company.

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, created by California voters after then-President George W. Bush banned federally funded embryonic stem cell research, has been led for six years by the man who authored the legislation approved by voters, Robert Klein.

Per the legislation, four of California’s top elected officials — the governor, lieutenant governor, controller and treasurer — are asked to nominate a new chairman for the board after the original chairman’s six-year term ends.

Controller John Chiang nominated Dr. Frank Litvack, currently general partner in Reprise Medical Technologies LLC, a medical device incubator in Menlo Park.

Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, and Treasurer Bill Lockyer all nominated Jonathan Thomas, an investment banker at Southern California firm Saybrook Capital.

The agency’s governing board is expected to interview the two candidates on June 22. Klein has said he will resign from his office the following day.

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