Long the envy of the proteomics field for his access to Celera’s deep pockets, Scott Patterson has left his position as vice president for proteomics at Celera to move back to southern California, the home of Amgen, his previous employer. But Patterson isn’t going so far as to return to his old job. Instead, he started in late January as chief scientific officer of Farmal Biomedicines, a Pasadena-based startup trying to discover new protein therapeutics.
Although Patterson isn’t the only high-level Celera manager to leave at the end of the year — Terrence Ryan, former director of cell biology, left to join GlaxoSmithKline as director of integrative biology — Patterson says one of the primary drivers for the move was a desire to return to the California Southland. “It’s an opportunity to come back to southern California,” he says. “It’s where the family likes.”
As for why he left Celera, Patterson says he felt he had completed the task set out for him: to build a large-scale differential proteomics operation. “The group’s built and it’s operating, which is very pleasing to see,” he says. Last summer, Patterson’s group completed a differential protein expression study on pancreatic “normal-like” and cancer cell lines, and began a similar study of lung cancer tissue.
His experience at Celera will be critical for Farmal, where Patterson says he’ll set up the same type of proteomics facility, though not on the same scale.
The departure of Patterson and Ryan comes after a period of internal review precipitated by the arrival of Kathy Ordoñez as Celera’s president last spring and the company’s shifted emphasis on developing candidate drugs and diagnostics. “Everything is up for review,” Patterson told GT sister publication Proteo-Monitor last May. “Are we planning a big reduction in scale? No,” he said at the time. “We have a few planned projects, but I don’t have a crystal ball.”
— John S. MacNeil