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Biotech Entrepreneur, Ex-RNAi Executive Shoots Two in California

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Biotechnology entrepreneur and former Traversa Therapeutics CEO Hans Petersen has been arrested for allegedly shooting University of California, San Diego, researcher and Traversa Co-founder Steven Dowdy, Gene Silencing News has learned.

According to the San Diego Police Department, Petersen approached Dowdy's residence in the early morning this week and "fired a gun multiple times" into Dowdy's bedroom. Dowdy was struck once in the lower back.

Hours after Dowdy's shooting, Petersen allegedly broke into the home of the brother of his estranged wife. Police said that he also shot his brother-in-law in the stomach, but was disarmed and subdued during an ensuing physical fight. He was arrested at the scene.

An investigation revealed that Petersen was angry at Dowdy over the loss of his job at Traversa, and blamed his brother-in-law for his troubled relationship with his wife.

Petersen served as CEO of Traversa from mid-2006 until early 2011.

Traversa was founded to commercialize an RNAi delivery technology developed in Dowdy's lab that combines protein transduction domains linked with a double-stranded RNA binding domain. Despite promising results early on, the technology failed to pan out, and in mid-2012 Traversa shut its doors, according to GSN.