Washington, DC – January 2, 2020 – The Regenerative Medicine Foundation (RMF), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of ethical research and patient advocacy for the development of curative medicine utilizing advanced cell and gene therapies, today announced the designation of four new positions to the Board of Directors. Sam Merchant, founder of The Merchants Financial Group, has been elected Board Chair, Dr. Jeanne Fontana as Vice Chair, Alan Jakimo Esq. and Dr. Ann Murphy as members at large.

“Both Sam and Jeanne have taken a great deal of time to understand the role of our foundation in accelerating the field of regenerative medicine. Both will take leadership responsibility and possess the vision to accomplish our mission. Alan and Ann have long served as valued collaborators to RMF and I am grateful that they are joining the board,” said Bernard Siegel, Executive Director, of the RMF and Founder of the World Stem Cell Summit.

Sam Merchant – Sam is the founder of The Merchants Financial Group, a global capital investment corporation focused on identifying and developing international growth opportunities in a variety of business areas including technology, artificial intelligence, biotech, banking, manufacturing, franchising, multiple real estate sectors including but not limited to R&D and manufacturing lab, healthcare, opportunity zones and underwriting of financial products including, but not limited to, tax incentive bonds and private and public syndicated equity. Mr. Merchant has been an active member of the Atlanta business community since 1981, and has been a US citizen since 1986. He served on the Atlanta Regional Commission Board for seven years and as a stakeholder member of Atlanta Vision 20/20 commencing in 1990. With family business operations based in Atlanta, GA, and West Palm Beach, FL, Sam’s expertise in innovative financial solutions and strategic planning has enabled the expansion of multiple emerging as well as established public and private operations throughout the world. Sam has been a South Florida permanent resident for the last few years. He is also a co-founder and Chairman of the Board of a biotech company, BioCurity Pharmaceuticals Inc. in Jupiter, FL, guiding BioCurity through drug development and company operations. Mr. Merchant is also a co-founder of a boutique investment banking advisory company MerchantCass Advisors LLC. Mr. Merchant is proficient and strategic in his understanding and execution of the JOBS Act for the benefit of emerging growth and middle market companies. His business and personal interests include traveling the world seeking M&A opportunities, learning more languages, and meeting like-minded ethical, transparent, honest successful people with high morals. He finds pockets of opportunities to make the world a better place and when the calling came, he gladly accepted the role of Chairman of Board of RMF and to serve on the executive financial board of the World Stem Cell Summit. Mr. Merchant is gratified by his ability to give back philanthropically in multiple regions of the world, where he is known and respected in the communities of all whose lives he has touched. His quote “pluralism is the key to success for all mankind”.

Jeanne Fontana, MD, PhD – As vice chair of RMF, Jeanne brings decades of experience in the stem cell community from basic science, to patient advocacy and board governance. She was an active board member of the Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee (ICOC) of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the governing body charged with implementing California’s Proposition 71, a $3 billion stem cell initiative and the state agency it created. Dr. Fontana was instrumental in communicating this new science to the general public as well as editorial staff of the major newspapers. She focused her early work on drug discovery for ALS and most recently in early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alan L. Jakimo, JD, MBA – Alan joins the Board of Directors of the Regenerative Medicine Foundation, which he continues to serve as Senior Policy Research Fellow, a position he held at Genetics Policy Institute, a predecessor of RMF. Mr. Jakimo began working with GPI in the fields of policy research and patient advocacy in 2007. He is a member of the bar in New York, where he has focused on securities and technology transactions since 1981. Alan is a member of the investment banking group at T.R. Winston & Company and teaches health law and drug development law at Hofstra University. In addition to his roles at RMF, he also serves as a director and advisor to nonprofit organizations engaged in cancer R&D and life science.

Ann Murphy, PhD – Ann and her husband, Martin J. Murphy, co-founded AlphaMed Press in 1983 that launched STEM CELLS, the first journal devoted entirely to the subject. With offices in Durham, NC, San Francisco, CA, and Belfast, NI, Ann publishes and is the executive editor of two other international peer-reviewed journals with globally recognized editorial boards dedicated to advancing research and education in their focused disciplines: The Oncologist and STEM CELLS Translational Medicine (the official journal partner of the Regenerative Medicine Foundation). In 2000, Ann co-founded the Society for Translational Oncology to fill the gap between discovery of new cancer treatments and their global translation into oncology practice. The Oncologist is its official journal.

About the Regenerative Medicine Foundation (RMF)
The nonprofit Regenerative Medicine Foundation fosters strategic collaborations to accelerate the development of regenerative medicine to improve health and deliver cures. RMF unites the world’s leading researchers, medical centers, universities, labs, businesses, funders, policymakers, experts in law, regulation and ethics, medical philanthropies, and patient organizations. We maintain a trusted network of leaders and pursue our mission by producing its flagship World Stem Cell Summit series of conferences and public days, honoring leaders through the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine “Action” Awards, supporting our official journal partner STEM CELLS Translational Medicine (SCTM), promoting solution-focused policy initiatives both nationally and internationally and creating STEM/STEAM educational projects. For more information about RMF, please visit: www.regmedfoundation.org.

About the World Stem Cell Summit (WSCS)
Produced by the non-profit Regenerative Medicine Foundation (RMF), and in its 15th year, the World Stem Cell Summit will take place January 21-24, 2020, in Miami, Florida. The Summit is the most inclusive and expansive interdisciplinary, networking, and partnering meeting in the stem cell science and regenerative medicine field. With the overarching purpose of fostering biomedical research, funding, and investments targeting cures, the Summit and co-located conferences serve a diverse ecosystem of stakeholders. Together with Phacilitate Leaders Asia and the Shanghai Institute of Medical Genetics, RMF produced the inaugural World Stem Cell Summit-CHINA in October 2019. For more information about the upcoming 15th World Stem Cell Summit in Miami, please visit: worldstemcellsummit.com.

Media Contact:
Joseph Dawson
Communications Director
Regenerative Medicine Foundation