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People in the News: Feb 4, 2009

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Non-profit R&D organization SRI International this week announced the appointment of Jim Rurka as executive director of biosciences commercialization.

Before joining SRI, Rurka was co-owner and chief business officer of Blanca Pharmaceuticals. Before this, he served as president and CEO of SLIL Biomedical. He has also served as president and CEO of Microcide Pharmaceutical; president of the Cetus Oncology division of Chiron; and in a variety of marketing positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb and Schering-Plough.

Rurka holds a BA in English literature from Seton Hall University, and has served in the US Navy.


Foley Lardner said this week that former Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office Jon Dudas has joined the firm as a partner in its Washington, DC, office.

Dudas was nominated by President George W. Bush in March 2004 and confirmed by the US Senate in July 2004. He previously served as acting under secretary and director, and deputy under secretary and deputy director from 2002 to 2004.

Dudas will serve as part of Foley Lardner's intellectual property and public affairs practice.


The California Healthcare Institute this week said that it has elected Susan Baxter, Marcea Lloyd, and Keith Valentine to its board of directors; and elected John Martin as chairman of the board.

Baxter has served as executive director of the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology since 2007. Prior to this, she was COO of the National Center for Genome Resources, and has also held positions with Cengent Therapeutics, GeneFormatics, the New York State Department of Health, and Monsanto.

Lloyd has been a senior vice president of government and corporate affairs and general counsel for Amylin Pharmaceuticals since February 2007. Prior to this, she served as group senior vice president, chief administrative officer, general counsel, and secretary for VHA.

Valentine has been president and COO of NuVasive since January 2006. Prior to joining that company in 2001, Valentine held positions at Oratec Interventions and Medtronic Sofamor Denek.

Martin is chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences. He has been with the company since 1990, and served as its president and CEO from 1996 to 2008. Prior to Gilead, Martin held positions with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Syntex.


Lekha Gopalakrishnan has joined Winstead PC's Dallas office as a shareholder in the intellectual property practice group, Winstead said this week.

Gopalakrishnan joins Winstead from Morgan Lewis & Bockius. Her areas of expertise include patent procurement in chemistry and biology, technology licensing, and litigation involving patents, trademarks, and copyrights. She served as a postdoc in the department of molecular and cell biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She holds a PhD from Northwestern University School of Medicine and a JD from the University of Texas Law School.


The iBridge Network, a Web-based IP service offered by the Kauffman Innovation Network of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, said this week that it has formed a strategic advisory board.

The advisory board consists of Erik Antonsson, director of research for Northrop Grumman Space; Patricia Anderson-Cotton, director of business development and IP management, University of California; Bo Fishback, vice president of entrepreneurship, Kauffman Foundation; Tim Honker, COO, University of Chicago; Wayne Johnson, former vice president, Hewlett-Packard; Gerald Lepone, manager of collaborative research and licensing, DuPont Crop Protection R&D; Steve O'Neil, special projects and outreach services, University of Arizona; Joe Smith, vice president of emerging technologies, Johnson & Johnson; and John Wilbanks, executive director, Science Commons.

The Scan

Possibly as Transmissible

Officials in the UK say the B.1.617.2 variant of SARS-CoV-2 may be as transmitted as easily as the B.1.1.7 variant that was identified in the UK, New Scientist reports.

Gene Therapy for SCID 'Encouraging'

The Associated Press reports that a gene therapy appears to be effective in treating severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome.

To Watch the Variants

Scientists told US lawmakers that SARS-CoV-2 variants need to be better monitored, the New York Times reports.

Nature Papers Present Nautilus Genome, Tool to Analyze Single-Cell Data, More

In Nature this week: nautilus genome gives peek into its evolution, computational tool to analyze single-cell ATAC-seq data, and more.