A year ago, GT’s cover story looked at chemical genomics and mentioned several companies in the field, including Ambit, Amphora Discovery, Graffinity Pharmaceuticals, Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Morphochem, and NeoGenesis. Since then, Graffinity hired a new CEO, Klaus Schollmeier; NeoGenesis has announced deals with Mitsubishi and Pharmacia; Eric Eastman headed to Morphochem as the company’s first US division president; and Amphora, after adding a few positions to its management team, signaled possible trouble when it negotiated an agreement for a decreased pay schedule for equipment from partner Caliper Technologies.
The March ’02 issue also featured an article on DoubleTwist, asking, “Is DoubleTwist dead meat?” Turns out, the embattled bioinformatics company died that very month, and all its assets — from computer hardware to a ping-pong table — went to auction in May. Meantime, former CEO John Couch returned to his old digs at Apple, where he’s now vice president of education. And Rob Williamson, who took over as CEO until the company’s demise, wound up at Eos Biotechnology as president and COO.
Our news section last year reported the abrupt departure of Craig Venter from Celera Genomics. After taking some time off to sail in the Caribbean, Venter reinvented himself as head of three nonprofits: the J. Craig Venter Science Foundation, the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives, and the TIGR Center for the Advancement of Genomics. The centers, which will work together with TIGR, are planning to build and share a new mega-sequencing center (see p. 20), which Venter expects to use for his ambitious plan to sequence 1,000 human genomes. The former Celera president was replaced by Celera Diagnostics president Kathy Ordoñez, who remains head of both companies.
Another news item focused on John Quackenbush, whose work in transcriptomics had finally paid off in a major, annual conference. Quackenbush, well known for his microarray and other research at TIGR, is profiled in this issue of GT (see p. 52).