Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Building Better Business from Science

Premium

Molly Schmid has always looked for the next step. When she left a faculty research position at Princeton, it was to join Microcide Pharmaceuticals and establish a genomics-oriented antimicrobial drug discovery program. Seven years later, she sought a fresh challenge and landed at Genencor in the new position of senior director of functional genomics and bioinformatics. Her goal is to get past conventional genomics and put the data to use.

Genencor produces microbes and enzymes for everything from beer to laundry detergent. “It’s not a genomics company in the traditional way,” Schmid concedes. Her focus is on microbial genomics, and with the sheer number of available microbe genomes, she says, “Microbial genomics is really post-sequencing.”

And that’s the interesting part for Schmid. “Part of the lure of genomics is trying to find business value out of the sequence information,” she says. Since Genencor has to market economical enzymes, “part of the game is producing microbes that don’t mind making tons and tons of these enzymes,” Schmid explains. “It’s a platform where we can exercise a lot of creativity.”

Schmid believes that the systems biology approach to genomics will be key to finding the value she’s looking for. Genencor will also need to perform lots of large-scale data analysis, she says. Together, these approaches will “allow us to become more and more computational in our understanding of how all the biological parts work together.”

Genencor’s strike at the genomics market is a gamble, considering the number of established companies already in the field. “It certainly is an investment,” Schmid says. But she doesn’t dwell on potential drawbacks. “We’re going to have a blast,” she predicts.

— Meredith Salisbury

The Scan

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.

Study Points to Benefits of Local Consolidative Therapy, Targeted Treatments in Cancer Care

In JCO Precision Oncology, researchers report that local consolidative therapy combined with molecularly targeted treatments could improve survival for some lung cancer patients.

Genetic Variants That Lower LDL Cholesterol Linked to Reduced Heart Disease Risk

Rare variants in two genes that lower LDL cholesterol are also associated with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease, according to a new JAMA Cardiology study.

Study Links Evolution of Longevity, Social Organization in Mammals

With the help of comparative phylogenetics and transcriptomics, researchers in Nature Communications see ties between lifespan and social organization in mammals.