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Celera Launches into Drug Target Sector

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 10 – Celera Genomics on Wednesday announced moves that signal the beginning of the company's foray into the drug target discovery sector.

"We are looking to identify new drug targets," Peter Chambre, Celera’s chief operating officer, said at a company presentation at the JP Morgan H&Q conference.

As part of that move, Celera also announced on Wednesday that it had hired Stephen Hoffman, a pioneer in the development of DNA vaccines, as its senior vice president of immunotherapeutics.

Hoffman, who was previously director of the United States Navy’s malaria research efforts, will be in charge of a team that will look for novel therapeutic proteins and other molecules for treating an preventing disease. He will also be in charge of developing vaccines.

Cancer would be Hoffman’s first area of focus.

In addition, Chambre said that over the next 12 months Celera would also look to form collaborations with population genetic companies. By doing this, "we see an opportunity to focus on more rapid discovery of disease genes," Chambre said.

He said that Celera’s future discoveries would also be used to build its molecular diagnostics business.

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