Specialist takes lab, startup to bio center

DOYLESTOWN, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–World-renowned cancer physician scientist Richard G. Pestell, M.D., Ph.D., has joined the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute to establish and serve as president of the Pennsylvania Cancer and Regenerative Medicine Research Center (PCARM). Seven additional faculty with their staff and students also will be joining the new center.

Pestell’s research in cell cycle, prostate cancer, oncology and stem cells is highly cited; he is ranked first in the world by Google scholar citations in cell cycle and prostate cancer, and second in the world for oncology. Pestell is funded by more than $1 million each year in grant support from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the Falk Foundation.

“Dr. Pestell’s recruitment will go a long way toward helping us achieve our goal of finding a cure for diseases associated with hepatitis B,” said Timothy Block, Ph.D., president of the Hepatitis B Foundation and its Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, and the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, where both are headquartered. “His research complements the work conducted at the Blumberg Institute, which was established in 2003 by the Hepatitis B Foundation to find a cure for hepatitis B and liver cancer.”

Pestell previously was Director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and Executive Vice President at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Under his tenure, the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center received renewed National Cancer Institute funding and designation.

In addition to leading PCARM at the Blumberg Institute, Pestell will oversee ProstaGene, one of the biotechnology companies he founded. ProstaGene has patented discoveries for cancer metastasis therapies and a highly predictive genetic test for prostate cancer outcome. The company is being moved to the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, a biotech incubator managed and owned by the Blumberg Institute and Hepatitis B Foundation; 35 other start-up life science companies also are housed at the center.

“The interface between cancer, stem cells, and regeneration is at an historic moment. Creating a culture in which biotechnology companies are a vehicle to unlock value is key to bringing benefits rapidly to our patients,” said Pestell. “The Blumberg Institute, under its president, Dr. Timothy Block, has a remarkable track record of success in developing companies that rapidly translate urgently needed medical discoveries into clinical practice.”

Pestell has published more than 600 works and is the most frequently cited scientist in his fields of cell-cycle and prostate cancer. He serves as an advisor and reviewer for a number of domestic and international research centers, including NCI cancer centers. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards and recognitions, including election as Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The arrival of Pestell and his research team comes at an opportune time, as the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, located in Bucks County, proceeds with plans to break ground for a $10.6 million expansion. The project will add 50,000 square feet of additional space, including at least 40 offices, 18 laboratories, a new auditorium, a new cafeteria and 100 parking spaces.

About the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute: The Baruch S. Blumberg Institute is an independent, nonprofit research institute established in 2003 by the Hepatitis B Foundation to conduct discovery research and nurture translational biotechnology in an environment conducive to interaction, collaboration and focus. It was renamed in 2013 to honor Baruch S. Blumberg, who won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the hepatitis B virus and co-founded the Hepatitis B Foundation. To learn more, visit www.blumberginstitute.org.

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