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Roche Promotes Babiss; CytRx Names New R&D SVP; Optra Systems Adds Former Cellomics CEO to Board; and Others

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Roche has named Lee Babiss to the position of head of Global Pharmaceutical Research.
Babiss, who will step into the role on July 1, will be based at the company’s Basel, Switzerland, headquarters, and will be focused on disease biology areas such as virology, oncology, and others that are ongoing at various Roche facilities.
Babiss currently is vice president of preclinical research, serves on the company’s international research management team, and chairs its biomarker team.
Before joining Roche, Babiss was president of biological sciences and genetics at Glaxo Wellcome.

CytRx has named Shi Chung Ng to the new job of senior vice president of R&D, the company said this week. The company said Ng formerly was vice president of molecular oncology at Ligand Pharmaceuticals and prior to that was vice president of drug-discovery biology and preclinical development at Arqule. Ng also has served in research positions at Abbott, Pfizer, and Bristol-Meyers Squibb.

Sensigen has appointed Jay Stoerker to the post of vice president of product development. In the position, he will oversee commercial development of several of the company’s assays.
Stoerker formerly ran technology development at Matritech and has over 20 years of experience developing commercial assays, the company said.

Jerome Granato will join the medical advisory team at the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, an investor in bioscience companies in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
PLSG said Granato formerly was chairman of the Allegheny General Hospital’s department of medicine and is currently medical director of the hospital’s
coronary care unit.
Granato is also an assistant professor of medicine at Drexel University. PLSG said Granato will help to evaluate the commercial opportunities for medical devices.

Adele Cirone Oliva has become a partner at Quaker BioVentures, a mid-Atlantic regional biotech venture-capital firm.
Oliva, who will join the group in June, will help implement the company’s investment strategy.
Oliva comes to Quaker job from Apax Partners health care group, which he co-headed. 

Great Basin Scientific has named David Latorra associate director of R&D, the company said this week. Latorra previously was a scientific consultant and project manager at the company.
In the new role, Latorra will help the company develop its proprietary target- and signal-amplification technologies.
Before joining GBS, Latorra worked as a consultant for Sorenson Genomics and Laboratorio Genomics.

Dan Calvo has been named chairman of Optra Systems. Calvo previously was CEO of Cellomics, and recently was president and CEO at Assay Designs. He also had been vice president of worldwide sales and service at PerkinElmer, and was vice president of global sales and marketing at NEN Life Sciences.

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.