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Helicos Recruits Two Affy Alumni; GATC Taps New COO; IdentiGen Names New Director; and Others

The headline for this roundup has been updated from a previous version, which incorrrectly stated that 454 hired two Affy alumni.
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — GATC Biotech has promoted Marcus Benz to be chief operating officer. GATC said Benz started at the company in 2000 as head of quality management and worked in GATC's sequencing segment. He also was head of production management for GATC. Before that Benz was a consultant in the life science industry.

Belgian biomarker company Pronota has named Huw Davies to be director of business development, a new position at the company. Davies previously was program manager of UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands for Ciphergen Biosystems, and was manager of the European Biomarker Discovery Center.

Helicos BioSciences has appointed Chip Leveille vice president of sales and marketing, and Mark Solakian vice president and general counsel.
Leveille formerly was at Affymetrix, where he was vice president of it pharmaceutical business, its core technologies group, and corporate marketing at different times.
Solakian recently was vice president and chief corporate counsel at Affymetrix, where he ran a group of attorneys responsible for legal affairs that included securities laws, corporate governance, alliances and collaborations, acquisitions and financial transactions.

ITI Life Sciences has tapped Eleanor Mitchell to take on the role of managing director. Mitchell previously was acting CEO of ITI, and also had been in charge of the company’s R&D programs.
Mitchell has been director of operations at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and was head of research operations for Cambridge Discovery Chemistry. She has also been in customer support and marketing at Oxford Molecular, Biosym Technologies, and at the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Center.

DermTech said that Dan Kolk, formerly of Gen-Probe, has taken the job of head of product development. Kolk developed HIV and hepatitis C assays at Gen-Probe, DermTech said.

IdentiGen has named John Monahan to its board of directors, the company said this week. Monahan previously was the founding CEO of Avigen.

The Pew Charitable Trusts this week said it has named Hinrich Boeger as a Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences. Boeger is assistant professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Pew will grant Boeger $240,000 over four years to continue his research on regulation of gene activity in cells.

Plexxicon has named Gary Visor vice president of pharmaceutics, a new post, and has appointed David MacCallum to the company’s board of directors, the company said this week.
Visor will be responsible for managing drug development, manufacturing, and dosage design. Visor was vice president of pharmaceutical research and process development and of technical operations at OSI Pharmaceuticals, and he worked at Cardinal Health, CellGate, InterMune, and Roche.
MacCallum is managing director of Outer Islands Capital and was involved in health care and life sciences investing at Hambrecht & Quist, UBS Securities, and was global head of the health care division at Salomon Smith Barney.

The Scan

Study Finds Sorghum Genetic Loci Influencing Composition, Function of Human Gut Microbes

Focusing on microbes found in the human gut microbiome, researchers in Nature Communications identified 10 sorghum loci that appear to influence the microbial taxa or microbial metabolite features.

Treatment Costs May Not Coincide With R&D Investment, Study Suggests

Researchers in JAMA Network Open did not find an association between ultimate treatment costs and investments in a drug when they analyzed available data on 60 approved drugs.

Sleep-Related Variants Show Low Penetrance in Large Population Analysis

A limited number of variants had documented sleep effects in an investigation in PLOS Genetics of 10 genes with reported sleep ties in nearly 192,000 participants in four population studies.

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.