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Perlegen Pushes its Boundaries With New Alliance Manager

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About a year and a half after its spinout from Affymetrix, Perlegen Sciences signaled an increased push to market its technology by hiring Paul Cusenza as its vice president of alliance management.

Cusenza, 42, who spent the last few years as an independent consultant and worked with Affy two years ago on the decision to spin out the genome-scanning division, says his mandate is to build strong relationships with pharmaceutical companies and other potential partners.

Perlegen’s ability to scan for 1.7 million SNPs across the genome will be the catalyst necessary to draw reluctant pharmas out of their shells, Cusenza contends. For both association studies and pharmacogenomics projects to rescue failed drugs, “I think the outlook is very bullish and very positive,” he says, counting on his ability to convince these companies to listen to the Perlegen pitch. “If you’ve got great science and great technology, then the biggest crime is [if] you don’t communicate it well.”

Some 20 years ago, Cusenza started out working for IBM in sales and marketing. More recently, he was in charge of alliances for Capital One Financial. His engineering background helps him understand Perlegen’s technology, but for the biology knowledge, he relies on reading up on the field and tapping the company’s scientists. “I’m getting my own personal education in this topic and enjoying it very much,” he says.

— Meredith Salisbury

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