NEW YORK, March 7 - Craig Venter will likely announce his post-Celera plans sometime next week, a spokeswoman recently told GenomeWeb.
Venter has been planning and organizing his post-genomic career ever since he abruptly left Celera in late January. Though he has been characteristically tight-lipped about what he plans to do next, sources close to him suggest he may start a not-for-profit company.
In fact, certain signs point to him creating a non-profit that deals with the unique social and ethical challenges that accompany sequencing the human genome.
Heather Kowalski, the spokeswoman Venter appropriated from Celera, wouldn't say what new course her boss is setting for himself. But she conceded that GenomeWeb's supposition is "accurate," and added that her boss will likely unveil his new gig mid-March.
But in a recent speech at the University of Pennsylvania, Venter, tanned and trim from a sailing trip in the Caribbean, was most engaged when his otherwise canned spiel meandered into patient advocacy or bioethics.
For example, in response to one audience member's question, Venter said that neither industry nor the government are doing enough to ensure that genetic data is secure. That audience member was seen after the speech asking Venter, still onstage, to autograph his program. He was one of scores of Penn students, faculty, and random onlookers who stood gape-mouthed at Venter's feet with program and pen outstretched.
It is also worth noting that Venter's nearly 70-word program bio penned by Penn made no mention of Celera. Instead, it said that Venter, a "visionary," "singlehandedly accelerated the timetable for completion of the Human Genome Project."