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Hybridon Names New CEO

NEW YORK, July 30 – Hybridon named Stephen Seiler CEO, effective September 1, the company announced Monday.

Seiler replaces acting CEO and chief scientific officer Sudhir Agrawal, who stepped into the interim role when Hybridon’s CEO E. Andrews Grinstead took medical leave and subsequently died in February. Grinstead had been president and CEO since 1991.

Seiler’s contract is for three years, though the Cambridge, Mass.-based company considers it “open-ended,” said Russell Martin, senior vice president of Hybridon.

Martin said that the new CEO’s mandate would include growing the company’s traditional antisense business and also expanding the business into immune modulation.

“Hybridon has established a leading position in the application of synthetic DNA for use in CpG-based immune modulation, antisense, and functional genomics,” said Seiler. “Under the scientific leadership of Sudhir Agrawal, I have seen Hybridon significantly expand its technology base during the past few years, and particularly in the past year. I believe the company is now poised to exploit these achievements and more effectively develop the potential of its intellectual property and product pipeline.” 

Prior to the Hybridon appointment, Seiler served as executive vice president of planning investment and development at Elan Corporation, where he was based at the Dublin, Ireland headquarters. Seiler was head of pharmaceutical investment banking at Paribas in London, proper to joining at Elan. Seiler earned a J.D. from Georgetown University. 

In May, Hybridon announced a deal with Isis Pharmaceuticals that provided a measure of financial relief for the company. Under the 

Under the terms of the deal, Isis will pay Hybridon $15 million in cash to license second-generation antisense technology for inhibiting gene function. In addition to the cash payment, Isis will also pay Hybridon $19.5 million in stock, to be paid out every six months for the next two years.   

Hybridon will pay Isis $6 million in stock to license Isis' RNase H suite of patents, which describe the mechanism for using certain antisense chemistry as a therapeutic. Hybridon is currently developing oligonucleotides that modulate the immune system and other compounds for use as potential drugs.    
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