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Andrew von Eschenbach, Geoffrey Ginsburg, Kerry Kelly, John Fess, Gaynor Fryers, Ian Anderson, Andy Williams, James McArdle

The US Senate confirmed Andrew von Eschenbach to be the new commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.
The Bush appointee, a staunch supporter of genomic technologies in drug discovery, was approved last week after serving as acting commissioner since September 2005, after former commissioner Lester Crawford resigned.
Von Eschenbach previously headed the National Cancer Institute and was chief academic officer at Houston’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, a background that could spell good news for genomics researchers because cancer research is a principal user of genomics technologies.
He earned a medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1967 and worked as an instructor in urology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. From 1968 to 1971, von Eschenbach served as a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy Medical Corps.

VisEn Medical, a fluorescence in vivo imaging and research company, announced that Geoffrey Ginsburg, has joined its Scientific Advisory Board.
Ginsburg is a professor of medicine and pathology and director of the Center for Genomic Medicine at DukeUniversity's Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy. Formerly, Ginsburg was director of cardiovascular disease and vice president of molecular and personalized medicine at Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

Ambit Biosciences, a small-molecule kinase-development company, has appointed Kerry Kelly to the position of vice president and general counsel, the company said last week. Kelly recently was associate general counsel for the Scripps Research Institute and before that she was head of corporate affairs for biotech company Sugen, which has since been acquired by Pfizer.

Gene synthesis company Blue Heron Biotechnology has named John Fess CEO, the company said last week. Fess takes over for John Mulligan, who has shifted into the dual role of chairman and chief scientific officer.

UK biopharma developer Cambridge Antibody Technology has promoted three new executives to vice president positions, the company said last week.
Gaynor Fryers has been named vice president of business development. He has served the company since 2004 as business development director. Before coming to CAT Fryer was group commercial director at Bespak and worked in various roles at Bio Products Laboratory.
Ian Anderson has been named vice president of discovery, respiratory, and inflammation. He came to CAT from Glaxo Wellcome (before it became GlaxoSmithKline), where he worked in pharmacology and neuroscience.
Andy Williams is the new vice president of program management in the company’s drug-discovery department. Williams has been with CAT since 1993 and has worked in drug discovery and tech development.

Archemix, a biopharmaceutical company that develops single-stranded nucleic acids, said last week it has appointed James McArdle to the post of vice president of chemistry, manufacturing, and controls.
McArdle was most recently at Isis Pharmaceuticals, where he was vice president of quality assurance. He also worked at SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, now GlaxoSmithKline, for 16 years.

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The Scan

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Treatment Costs May Not Coincide With R&D Investment, Study Suggests

Researchers in JAMA Network Open did not find an association between ultimate treatment costs and investments in a drug when they analyzed available data on 60 approved drugs.

Sleep-Related Variants Show Low Penetrance in Large Population Analysis

A limited number of variants had documented sleep effects in an investigation in PLOS Genetics of 10 genes with reported sleep ties in nearly 192,000 participants in four population studies.

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.