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Duane Roth accelerates innovation with Connect

Duane and Renee Roth. Photo: Renay Johnson
Duane and Renee Roth. Photo: Renay Johnson

Before joining Connect, Duane Roth founded Alliance Pharmaceutical Corp., where he currently serves as chief executive officer and chairman of the board. Before Alliance, he held senior management positions at Johnson & Johnson and Wyeth operating companies.

He has served as a member of the board of directors and executive committees of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the California Healthcare Institute and BIOCOM (past chairman).

Roth was appointed to the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee for the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and was recently elected vice chairman. He also serves as a member on the Governor’s Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth.

Roth serves on a number of advisory committees and boards of the University of California, including the UCSD Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center (past chairman). He also serves on the San Diego State University College of Business (past chairman) and the Sciences & Engineering advisory boards. Roth is a member of the executive board for the California State University Professional Science Master’s Program.

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Roth earned a bachelor’s degree from Iowa Wesleyan College, where he serves as a trustee.

What brought you to La Jolla?

My company, Alliance Pharmaceutical, acquired a San Diego company. We were located in upstate New York. We visited La Jolla. We decided to relocate here. (Tough decision!)

What makes La Jolla special to you?

There are very few villages left in America where you can walk from your home to shops, to restaurants or to the gym.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?

Repave the roads.
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Who or what inspires you?

So many people have inspired me and I will name one--Jim Burke, past chairman of Johnson & Johnson. I started my career with J&J and was a young sales representative in Iowa when the Tylenol capsule poisonings occurred in Chicago.

I will never forget how Chairman Burke made the decision to recall 100 percent of the capsules worldwide to make sure that there would be no further risk to any person anywhere. He then led us as we regained consumer trust, when the experts said the brand was dead.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

John F. Kennedy; Ronald Reagan; Margaret Thatcher; Winston Churchill; Abraham Lincoln; Teddy Roosevelt; my wife, Renee Roth (to sit next to JFK); and Ted Roth, my brother (he is a Democrat--I’m not--and we are going to talk politics).

What are you currently reading?

Stimulus bill, patent reform bill, generic biologics bill and other federal legislation that could have an impact on the innovation in San Diego.

What is your most prized possession?

My first shotgun that I learned to hunt with growing up on an Iowa farm.

What do you do for fun?

Bird hunt in Maryland or Iowa and vacation in Tucson, Ariz., or Tuscany, Italy.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

Convincing the innovation community to help me rebuild Connect after the untimely death of Bill Otterson.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

All things are hard before they are easy.
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