The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) is looking for a cure. The agency donates more money to stem cell research than any other public agency in the world. The ballot brought the institute into business: It was founded after Proposition 71, also known as the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Act, was passed in 2004. The state government agreed to shell out $3 billion over ten years for CIRM to divvy out to organizations doing stem cell research to find cures for serious illnesses.

Tamar Pachter, 48, became the first general counsel of the agency this spring (she works with one other lawyer). She has no science background, but that didn’t stop her from beating out 100 applicants for the job.

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