Thermo Fisher Scientific, UC San Diego Announce Duane Roth Innovation Grant

Media Contact Information:
Mauricio Minotta
Thermo Fisher Scientific

Paul Kennedy Mueller
Office of Research Affairs
University of California San Diego

Thermo Fisher Scientific, UC San Diego Announce Duane Roth Innovation Grant
Annual funding program honors former San Diego biotech advocate and leader

CARLSBAD, Calif. – Sept. 17, 2014 – Thermo Fisher Scientific and the UC San Diego Office of Research Affairs today announce the Duane Roth Innovation Grant, which provides scientific investigators at UC San Diego with a $50,000 annual funding opportunity for sponsored research that supports proof of concept and technology applications studies.
The grant honors the late Duane Roth, the dynamic and charismatic leader of San Diego’s life sciences business community, whose vision and drive as CEO of Connect helped spur innovation and build strong partnerships in the region’s biotech industry.

“We couldn’t think of a more appropriate namesake for this new research grant program,” said Alan Sachs, chief scientific officer, Life Sciences Solutions, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Its purpose is to inspire San Diego-based scientists to innovate and collaborate on research projects that ultimately will drive science and technology forward to better understand human disease. These are foundational principles that Duane worked hard to promote in Southern California.”

The annual grant is a collaborative program, in which the recipient investigator from UC San Diego will have the opportunity to work with a scientist from Thermo Fisher’s Life Sciences Solutions business. Successful programs may be eligible for expanded funding from Thermo Fisher beyond the first year.

The 2014 research areas will focus on two areas: 1) Peripheral cancer detection, including the capture, isolation and genetic analysis of cancer-associated mutations; and 2) Novel applications for the Ion Torrent sequencing system, including clinical workflow automation/simplification, signal enhancement, non-genomic applications and haplotyping.

“We are excited to honor the spirit of Duane Roth with this new innovation award,” said Sandra A. Brown, vice chancellor for Research at UC San Diego. “This ongoing award will enable our scientists to work closely with Thermo Fisher Scientific to jointly advance and test groundbreaking technologies in healthcare.”

Prior to his work with Connect, Roth founded Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp., where he served as CEO and Chairman of the Board, and later became a very active member of the biotech community. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, BIOCOM, the California Healthcare Institute, and SAIC-Frederick, Inc. He also served on several boards at UCSD, including the President’s Board on Science and Innovation, the UCSD Foundation Board of Directors, and the UCSD Heath Sciences Advisory Board.

Roth died on Aug. 3, 2013 after sustaining injuries from a bicycle accident while training for Pedal the Cause, an annual event that raises money for San Diego’s NCI-designated cancer research institutes – UCSD Moores Cancer Center, The Salk Institute and the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

Roth’s passion for biotech’s ability to improve people’s lives and the economic engine established by the sector in San Diego drove Duane during his tenure at Connect, says his brother, Ted Roth.

“Having led his own biotech company, he knew the importance for young companies to have access to the right scientists and capital sources,” Roth says. “He saw his role at Connect as making those critical introductions to the current group of innovating companies.

“This grant is certainly fitting to honor his legacy, particularly because it represents a collaborative effort between a major company and an academic institution to promote the advancement of innovation and science.”

The pre-proposal deadline is Nov. 17. For information on how to apply for the Duane Roth Innovation Grant program, contact Patrice Lock at the Office of Research Affairs at

About Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with revenues of $17 billion and 50,000 employees in 50 countries. Our mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. We help our customers accelerate life sciences research, solve complex analytical challenges, improve patient diagnostics and increase laboratory productivity. Through our four premier brands – Thermo Scientific, Life Technologies, Fisher Scientific and Unity Lab Services – we offer an unmatched combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and comprehensive support. For more information, please visit