Connect CEO Duane J. Roth dies weeks after bicycling accident

San Diego business and life sciences leader Duane J. Roth died Saturday, Aug. 3, of injuries he sustained in a July 21 bicycling accident.

Roth, 63, was chief executive officer of Connect, a La Jolla organization that promotes technology entrepreneurship. Roth was also vice chair of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state-run stem cell organization. He was scheduled to become chairman of the board for the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in September.

Roth died Saturday afternoon at UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, following an East County accident that left him in critical condition from head injuries. He had been riding with the Challenged Athletes Foundation near Lake Cuyamaca when he hit a bump. His helmet was broken in the fall, and Roth was airlifted to the hospital.

Responding to the news of Roth’s death, Congressman Scott Peters (5-52), a La Jolla resident and personal friend of Roth’s, issued the following:

“The passing of Duane Roth is a huge loss for San Diego and for California. His incisive understanding of our innovation economy has driven our local business attraction strategy and changed the way people think about San Diego and what it has to offer.

“It was what Duane taught me about our local economy that helped me choose which Congressional committee assignments I would seek; and he greatly influenced the way I advocate for our region in Congress. I will deeply miss his excellent counsel and his friendship. And San Diego will miss his leadership.

“Duane helped shape how we now characterize our economy. It was a very forward-thinking approach back in the ’90s when he, as a founding board member of BIOCOM, helped launch the dialogue to redefine San Diego to the world as a unique and leading scientific and research hub. It is due in large part to his tireless advocacy for San Diego’s innovation ecosystem and innovation economy that many businesses and investors now view San Diego as an attractive place to grow their company or advance their research.

“There is no way for any one person to fill the void that Duane’s loss will create. But I challenge San Diego’s business, research and elected leaders to honor him by building upon the groundwork he laid to build a brighter, more prosperous future for San Diego. I, too, will support those efforts to the fullest extent that I can.”

To read more about Roth, read his “10 questions” profile from the La Jolla Light in 2009 by visiting

Donations in Roth’s name can be made to Pedal the Cause,

Pedal the Cause


), a cancer research fundraising organization that Roth supported. According to

U-T San Diego

, more than $12,500 has been raised since Roth’s accident.