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Short Reads: Aug 1, 2001


Denise Gilbert has returned from her 18,000-mile biking trip across 45 countries. The former CFO of Incyte, she joins Entigen in the position of CEO. Note to Entigen: put a stationary bike in her office — just in case.


Large Scale Biology’s looking to feed the pharma frenzy. Pieter Bax comes from SRI International to serve as the company’s senior vice president for corporate development; Guy della-Cioppa moves from VP for genomics to VP for business development; and Manfred Scholz joins as senior director for business development. Their goal, says Bax, is to establish more collaborations with big pharma.


GT raises its parting glass to: Elaine Heron, former general manager of Applied Biosystems; Matthew Huang, former director of bioinformatics and molecular biology at PPD Discovery;

and Douglas Wheeler, former president and director of Lark Technologies.


Jean Maral joins French functional genomics firm GenOdyssee as veep and senior director of preclinical and clinical affairs. Maral had a similar position at his previous company, Chiron Biopharmaceuticals.


Linda Kirsch has had a varied career in chemi- and bioinformatics — she’s been on staff at Molecular Applications Group and Lion Bioscience, and has consulted for Apple, InforMax, Libraria, and MDL. Now she will put her vast network to use for Molly Ryan’s executive search firm, Double-Helix. Kirsch will also continue to run her own consulting firm, Scientific Sales Solutions.


Kudos are in order:

Mervyn Bibb, head of small molecule discovery at Diversa, received the 2001 Charles Thom Award from the Society for Industrial Microbiology.

George Stafford Jr. was recognized for his work in ion trap mass spec with the Distinguished Contribution in Mass Spectrometry Award. Stafford is director of research for Thermo Finnigan. The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Program looked kindly on Arthur Sands, president and CEO of Lexicon Genetics, who won for the Houston region.


Isn’t it supposed to go the other way? Nanogen cofounder and CTO Michael Heller resigned to become a full professor at University of California, San Diego. CEO Randy White says that Heller will consult for the company and that Nanogen “may even fund his research.”


GPC Biotech appointed Marcel Rozencweig senior vice president of drug development. His background includes nearly 20 years at Bristol-Myers Squibb.


Robert Abarbanel heads to Genset, where he’ll be CIO and CTO (and whatever other letters he can scrounge up). His shingle last hung at Boeing, where he worked with math and computing technology.


Genomics legends Lee Hood and David Galas provided seed funding for Blue Heron Biotechnology, a two-year-old Bothell, Wash., firm that emerged recently from stealth mode to launch its GeneMaker gene synthesis service. CEO Peter Nicholson ran Amgen’s venture capital program for six years.

Question is, should he worry about the fact that the CEO’s office at Hood and Galas’ last Bothell business, Darwin Molecular, had a revolving door?


The Venter and Collins Show: At a press conference during the BIO meeting in June, the archrivals played off each other like a comedy team. Collins: “Mental illness is a tough nut to crack.” Venter: “So to speak.” Collins, explaining SNP differences, says that he might have GACT where Venter has GATT and adds, “The C, of course, would be better.” Deadpans Venter: “Unless you’re British, then you prefer T.”


The Scan

Booster Push

New data shows a decline in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine efficacy over time, which the New York Times says Pfizer is using to argue its case for a booster, even as the lower efficacy remains high.

With Help from Mr. Fluffington, PurrhD

Cats could make good study animals for genetic research, the University of Missouri's Leslie Lyons tells the Atlantic.

Man Charged With Threatening to Harm Fauci, Collins

The Hill reports that Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., was charged with making threats against federal officials.

Nature Papers Present Approach to Find Natural Products, Method to ID Cancer Driver Mutations, More

In Nature this week: combination of cryogenic electron microscopy with genome mining helps uncover natural products, driver mutations in cancer, and more.