Michael West

Michael D. West is a gerontologist, and a pioneer in stem cells, cellular aging and telomerase. He is the founder and CEO of AgeX Therapeutics, a startup focused on the field of interventional gerontology, and Co-CEO of its parent company, BioTime, Inc. of Alameda, California (San Francisco Bay Area), a biotechnology company regarded as a leader in the field of regenerative medicine with a focus on cell therapy.Prior to joining BioTime, West was Chairman of the Board, Chief Scientific Officer and CEO of Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), another biotechnology company focused on stem cell research. ACT later changed its name to Ocata Therapeutics, and was acquired by Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma for US$379M or $8.50 per share in February 2016. Prior that, West was founder, director, and Chief Scientific officer of Geron, for which he secured venture capital investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Venrock and Domain Associates. At Geron, West initiated and managed programs in telomere biology relating to aging, cancer and human embryonic stem cell technology. West organized the first collaborative effort to isolate human pluripotent (embryonic) stem cells for the purpose of manufacturing products in regenerative medicine in collaboration with James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, John Gearhart at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Roger Pedersen at the University of California, San Francisco. West and colleagues at Geron cloned the RNA component of telomerase and collaborated with Thomas Cech (winner of 1989 Nobel Prize in Chemistry), with whom they cloned the catalytic component of the enzyme telomerase, and sponsored collaborative research in the laboratory of Carol Greider, then at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.