Melissa King, Executive Director of Americans for Cures, is a passionate advocate for patients of chronic illness and disease as well as the medical research that can help reduce their suffering. An expert at engaging multiple stakeholders and communicating effectively with varied audiences, she has been a champion for the California stem cell research program since before it formally existed.
Ms. King served as a senior member of the successful 2004 campaign for California’s Proposition 71, the California Stem Cells for Research And Cures Act. During the final weeks of the Prop 71 campaign, at the request of campaign Chair Robert Klein, Ms. King worked with legal counsel to form the non-profit Americans for Cures so that support during the organizational period of the new stem cell funding agency could be funded with tax-exempt donations to a 501(c) 3 organization. She hired initial staff for the non-profit and then transitioned several to be the first employees of the new state funding agency.
Ms. King played a central role in the founding, building and first seven years of operations of the unique $3 billion State research funding agency created by Prop 71, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). During this time, she worked hand-in-hand with CIRM’s Chair and its founding 29-member governing Board on setting the strategic vision for the agency as well as developing the processes and policies by which CIRM operates. Ms. King guided the Board through 1500+ hours of public meetings, during the sale of the first bonds to fund the agency as well as the development and awarding of the first billion dollars in grants, including the Facilities Grant Program leveraging $271 million of CIRM’s funds to attract $880 million in other support for $1 billion in scientific research facilities in California.
In addition to her work at CIRM, Ms. King has helped drive and manage successful launches of numerous companies, programs and products in the healthcare, technology and consumer products industries.
She has a B.A. from Wellesley College and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.