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PEOPLE: GenomeWeb s Weekly Personnel Roundup of the Genomics Sector: Dec 5, 2001

NEW YORK, Nov. 5 — Diversa announced six management changes on Dec. 5, including new directors or senior directors in its protein therapeutics, industrial enzyme products, business development, and bioinformatics. The hires and promotions reflect a major expansion drive by the San Diego, Calif.-based company.  

Mervyn Bibb , who has been with Diversa since November 2000, is now senior director of small molecule discovery. Bibb, known for his work in Streptomyces antibiotic production, was recognized by the Society for Industrial Microbiology with the 2001 Charles Thom Award earlier this year.

In addition, Geoffrey Hazlewood was hired as director of industrial enzyme products. Former Amgen functional genomics director Bruce Kimmel has been appointed director of protein therapeutics. Mike Lafferty was promoted to director of engineering technology. Lisa Moss , formerly vice president of North American business development for Cambridge Discovery Chemistry, is now Diversa’s senior director of pharmaceutical business development.

The appointments have been made over the last four months, said company representative Hillary Theakston , and are primarily new positions. “Unlike a lot of biotech or biopharmaceutical businesses, we feel we have a balanced business by becoming sustainable through applications in industrial and chemical markets, while we invest in pharmaceutical applications that are higher-value but longer-term,” she said. “The hires are reflective of the diverse range of opportunities that we are pursuing.”

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Ronald M. Cresswell has been elected to the board of directors at CuraGen, the company said in a statement Dec. 5. Cresswell, a pharmaceutical industry veteran, was until 1999 chief scientific officer and senior vice president at Warner-Lambert, which merged with Pfizer in 2000.

CuraGen’s efforts to take “an integrated and industrialized functional genomics approach has enabled them to get one of the best early handles on the genome in terms of its pharmaceutical relevance,” Cresswell said in a statement.

Cresswell has spent more than 25 years in drug development and pharmaceuticals, including 25 years with the Wellcome Foundation. He also oversaw the development of the blockbusters Lipitor, Neurontin, and Accupril.

New Haven, Conn.-based CuraGen, a genomics based drug research company, agreed early this year to a massive five-year,  $1.34 billion partnership with Bayer to discover and commercialize small molecule drugs for obesity and diabetes.

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ZymoGenetics announced Dec. 3 the appointment of Robert Whitehead as senior vice president and chief business officer. Whitehead will be involved in business development, product introduction and strategic planning for the company, which is developing a pipeline of therapeutic proteins.

Whitehead was previously president of the Americas division of Elan Biopharmaceuticals.  

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Innovadyne Technologies said Dec. 3 that company president Joel McComb will also take on the title of chief executive officer, assuming full responsibility for all aspects of the company’s business.

McComb, who was appointed president in January 2001, was previously general manager of the Beckman Coulter’s primary care division.

Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Innovadyne develops fluidics technologies for drug delivery research.

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Acola announced Nov. 29 that Bruce Aronow , head of genome research for Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, would become a scientific advisor for the company.

Aronow will coordinate genomic research for Houston, Texas-based Acola with researchers at “special facilities,” said the company in a statement.

The company was established in order to promote commercialization and research of its cytotoxic drug candidate for cancer and viral disease treatment in Mexico and Latin America.

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The Biotechnology Industry Organization announced Nov. 28 several senior level management changes designed to make the trade organization’s lobbying efforts more effective.

Former Vice President for Health Policy Sharon Cohen will now take on the role of vice president of government relations. This position was formerly held by Lee Rawls , who is leaving to become counselor to FBI director Robert Mueller .

BIO’s membership include more than 1,000 biotech firms, research institutions and academic centers.

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