San Diego Business Journal

San Diego-based biotech Novocell, developer of embryonic stem cell therapies for diabetes, said it has named John West as president and CEO.

West previously served as CEO of Solexa, a maker of genome sequencing technology sold to Illumina in 2007 for more than $600 million. Before Solexa, West was vice president of DNA Platforms, a unit of Applied Biosystems, now a part of Carlsbad-based Life Technologies.

West replaces former CEO Alan Lewis, who left the company late last year to become head of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Novocell is working to advance techniques in stem cell research related to diabetes. Last year, Novocell was first to prove it could use human embryonic stem cells to generate insulin-producing pancreatic cells in mice.

Last week, the state's stem cell agency awarded Novocell two grants worth $6.2 million to advance safety methods for delivering stem cell therapies to people with diabetes.

, Heather Chambers