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New OGS CEO Weighs Tech/Drug Balance

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David Ebsworth, CEO of the UK-based proteomics company Oxford GlycoSciences, has kept a frenetic pace since assuming the position in July. Jaunts to the US and Israel in his first month on the job are nothing new for the former head of the worldwide pharmaceutical business group of Bayer. Ebsworth, 48, lived in Germany, the US, and Canada while working his way up the big-pharma food chain.

“In the couple of weeks I’ve been here, I’ve been having a lot of fun,” says Ebsworth.

After leaving Bayer in January, Ebsworth was looking for a company that he could run for himself, and in which he “believed in the science base and where there was a possibility of getting [a product] to market very soon. And OGS fits that.”

There have been problems getting to market, though. Ebsworth hopes to meet this month with the FDA, which rejected an OGS drug application for Zavesca this summer.

While leading genomics and proteomics companies toward drug discovery is not new, companies such as Millennium and Human Genome Sciences exemplify the problems with what remains an unproven business model. Ebsworth says getting Zavesca approved, creating partnerships in proteomics, and watching spending are all critical to achieving profitability.

“We’re still working out what the major focus of the company needs to be moving forward — whether it will be very heavily a new technology company or whether it will be more a drug discovery and development company,” says Ebsworth. Technology junkies, stay tuned.

— Dana Frisch

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