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Sleepless in Waltham: Leach Leads GTC to Biopharm

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Tim Leach started out as a physician, but he’s far from his tongue-depressor days. Hired to the newly created position of vice president of clinical and medical affairs at Genome Therapeutics, he’ll be providing guidance as the company shifts its sights from the pure genomics arena to biopharmaceuticals. That long-discussed shift was given a boost with the Ramoplanin project, a lead antibiotic candidate in-licensed from Biosearch Italia, which Leach will oversee.

“The company will continue with its genomics business,” Leach, 42, says of the Waltham, Mass.-based GTC. “[Genomics] will be obviously involved in drug discovery” and expects there to be a large need for sequencing bacterial genes and understanding their function as antibacterials come under the spotlight more and more.

Though Leach says it’s critical for GTC to continue developing its own discovery efforts, “it’s obviously important to be able to acquire near-term opportunities such as Ramoplanin which help drive the business forward,” he says.

Leach practiced as an infectious disease physician at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and at an East Orange, NJ, veterans’ hospital before venturing into industry. “What attracted me most to it was just the research efforts that are spearheaded by the pharmaceutical industry,” he says. He worked at Pharmacia and Upjohn on a new class of antibacterials that resulted in Zyvox, and later became medical director of Cubist Pharmaceuticals, “just down the road” from Genome Therapeutics.

He hasn’t been at GTC too long, but the company might already have noticed a marked increase in its coffee consumption. Leach is the father of an infant and a toddler: “The four-month-old makes my nights sleepless, and the two-year-old runs me ragged,” he says.

— Meredith Salisbury

 

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