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Bharat Chowrira, Michael Hogan, Lynda Merrill, Marc Casper

Bharat Chowrira has joined Nektar Therapeutics as COO and head of the company’s pegylation business unit.
Chowrira was previously executive director of worldwide licensing and external research at Merck. He also served as a vice president at Sirna Therapeutics, which was acquired by Merck. Before the acquisition, he was vice president of legal affairs and patent counsel for Sirna.
At Nektar, Chowrira will report to President and CEO Howard Robin, who had been the president and CEO of Sirna prior to the acquisition.

Sigma-Aldrich’s chief administrative officer and chief financial officer Michael Hogan plans to retire sometime this summer after the company names his successor, Sigma-Aldrich said this week.
Hogan said he is leaving the company to pursue volunteer and civic activities. The company is searching for his replacement.

Qiagen has named Lynda Merrill as vice president of molecular diagnostics sales for Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Australia.
Merrill, who will be based in the UK, formerly was a vice president at Gen-Probe. She also served in management roles at Boehringer Mannheim.

Thermo Fisher Scientific has promoted Marc Casper to the post of chief operating officer, a new position at the company.
Casper formerly was Thermo Fisher’s president of Analytical Technologies. He started with the company in 2001 as Life Sciences president, and he formerly was CEO and director of Kendro Laboratory Products.
He also had been president of the Americas region for Dade Behring, and he was a strategy consultant at Bain & Company.

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.