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Reinvented History


A colleague showed me a copy of the April 2002 issue of Genome Technology containing an article by John Carroll entitled “Black Belt of BioAutomation.” The article is accompanied by a photograph of Skip Garner dressed as a ninja. I found the article entertaining until I read about a conversation attributed to me where I am quoted as asking Garner, “What the hell good are you?”

I remember our conversations from this date quite well and, for the record, never made this comment and certainly would not use this kind of language, particularly to a person I had just met and hardly knew. It is surprising that the author did not check the accuracy of these and other statements before publishing.

There are also other clarifications such as: Skip Garner was not involved in the creation of the genome center at the Salk Institute in 1990 and only became involved in 1993 before the project moved to Dallas; the NIH grant was for physical mapping not sequencing; sequencing did not initiate until 1996; the UTSW human genome center was disbanded in 2000 and the NIH grant funding it was moved to Egea Biosciences. Other differences in recollection are probably of no interest to anyone at this point in time.

Otherwise, I quite enjoy your magazine and applaud your efforts.

Glen A. Evans, CEO, Egea Biosciences

Gene Ed Heads North

I was flabbergasted to read that GeneEd was “going south” (“Monitoring the Genomics Mojo,” April 2002).

Contrary to the assertion in your column, GeneEd has seen revenues increase ten-fold over the past year, is profitable, and has recently signed major multi-year contracts with such blue-chip customers as Pfizer and IBM.

Indeed, in sharp contrast to many of the unprofitable bioinformatics companies you frequently write about, GeneEd is a case study in genomics software success — a company that has grown to profitability, has raving customer references at major multinational pharmaceutical companies, and has recently opened an East Coast sales and development office — all without taking a single penny of venture capital cash.

We look forward to the day when GeneEd is profiled in your magazine as a true genomics success story, unlike many of the “living dead” companies that regularly fill your pages.

Sunil Maulik, CEO & Co-founder, GeneEd

The CHI P.O.V.

In response to the April 2002 GT editorial, I agree that the atmosphere of CHI’s Genome Tri-Conference could not be the same as it was in the past when held at the vintage and cramped Fairmont Hotel. However, I strongly disagree with the pessimistic tone of the editorial, since more than 75 percent of attendee evaluations rated the overall quality of the conference as “good” to “excellent,” and the meeting room itself was crowded for almost all of the talks.

The meeting had outgrown the previous venue, and further changes are planned for next year when there will be concurrent tracks on Informatics and Target-Driven Chemistry, to complement the Genomic Science programs that have been the core of the meeting for years. Genomic Partnering will also be run concurrently during the week, and will be expanded to become a full Business Strategy track.

I agree that it has been a tough year for genomics and bioinformatics in particular, but there is a good deal of optimism regarding the outlook moving forward. One indication of this outlook is that more than half of the exhibitors re-signed on-site for next year. As genomics moves from being research oriented to becoming an integral part of the pharmaceutical process, CHI meetings will continue to evolve in response to the changing needs of the marketplace.


Phillips Kuhl, President, Cambridge Healthtech Institute


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