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Michael Fitzgerald Resigns from Sequenom, Pens Letter; Eric Jakobsson Named NIGMS Bioinformatics Center Director; and Others.

Michael Fitzgerald resigned from Sequenom's board of directors April 30, and has written a letter explaining his reasons that is sharply critical of the company and its management.

 

Fitzgerald, who joined the board in September 2001, after the company he chaired, Gemini Genomics, was acquired by Sequenom, had not been recommended for re-election to the board after his term was to end May 30.

 

In the letter, published May 15 in an 8-K filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Fitzgerald states that he resigned because an April 23 proxy statement issued by the company "was not fully candid in that it gave no hint of the background or the decision not to re-nominate me to the Board."  He also alleged that prior to his resignation, "the Board of Sequenom had ceased properly to exercise its oversight function and challenge management," and that this "serious lack of accountability" was contrary to the shareholders best interests.

 

Fitzgerald noted that the board decided not to renew his term without his consent and "even before its own consultation procedures had been observed." Finally, he asserted that Sequenom management "enjoys remuneration which is excessive and unwarranted, particularly in light of the company's performance and the value being delivered to shareholders."

 

The board responded to Fitzgerald's request May 19, stating that it "agrees with Mr. Fitzgerald's self-assessment in his letter that he has been very critical of the registrant's management during his tenure as director, but does not agree with his conclusions or the allegations or characterizations expressed in his letter." This response was filed as a Schedule 14A with the SEC May 19.


 

Eric Jakobsson has been appointed director of the new Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the US National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the NIGMS said today.

 

Jakobsson has most recently served as a director of the Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He was also a professor in the department of molecular and integrative physiology and in the biophysics, neuroscience and bioengineering programs at the university.

 


 

Bernd R. Seizinger, CEO and president of GPC Biotech, has been appointed to Graffinity Pharmaceuticals' board of directors, the company said today.

 

Seizinger has held his executive position at Martinsried, Germany-based GPC Biotech since 1998. Prior to that, Seizinger was executive vice president and chief scientific offier of Genome Therapeutics. He also has worked in senior positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb's Pharmaceutical Research Institute, and as an associate professor of neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and director of the Molecular Neuro-Oncology Laboratory at Massachusetts GeneralHospital.

 

Graffinity, of Heidelberg, Germany, uses chemical microarrays for drug discovery.


 

Thomas Baillie, of the Merck Research Laboratories, Barry Karger of the Barnett Institute at Northeastern University, and John Yates of The Scripps Research Institute have been appointed to the scientific advisory board of nanoelectrospray mass spec provider Advion Biosciences, the Ithaca, NY company said May 20.

 

Baille is vice president of drug metabolism at Merck. He previously served as a professor at the University of Washington. Karger is the James Waters Chair of Analytical Chemistry at Northeastern. Yates is a professor in Scripps' department of cell biology, as well as a senior research fellow at Diversa.


 

Robert Sullivan has been appointed portfolio manager for the Commonwealth Capital Management Genomics Fund, replacing Steven Newby, the manager of the fund since 2000, the company said May 15.

 

Sullivan is chief investment officer for Satuit Capital Management and investment manager of Satuit Capital Microcap Fund. Sullivan has previously served as portfolio manager at Cadence Capital management, and at Fidelity Capital Markets.

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