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Stephan Herrera, Nassim Usman

Nektar Therapeutics, which is developing drugs based on proprietary pulmonary and pegylation technology platforms, this week appointed Stephan Herrera as its senior director of investor relations and corporate affairs.
Previously, Herrera held a similar role at Sirna Therapeutics, which was acquired by Merck earlier this year (see RNAi News, 1/4/2007). At Nektar, Herrera will work under President and CEO Howard Robin, who was formerly president and CEO of Sirna.

RXi Pharmaceuticals, the RNAi drugs spin out of CytRx, said this week that it has appointed Catalyst Biosciences CEO Nassim Usman to its scientific advisory board.
Prior to joining Catalyst, Usman held several positions at Sirna Therapeutics, including vice president of research and development, CSO, and COO. Usman left Sirna in 2005 (see RNAi News, 4/8/2005).

The Scan

Positive Framing of Genetic Studies Can Spark Mistrust Among Underrepresented Groups

Researchers in Human Genetics and Genomics Advances report that how researchers describe genomic studies may alienate potential participants.

Small Study of Gene Editing to Treat Sickle Cell Disease

In a Novartis-sponsored study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that a CRISPR-Cas9-based treatment targeting promoters of genes encoding fetal hemoglobin could reduce disease symptoms.

Gut Microbiome Changes Appear in Infants Before They Develop Eczema, Study Finds

Researchers report in mSystems that infants experienced an enrichment in Clostridium sensu stricto 1 and Finegoldia and a depletion of Bacteroides before developing eczema.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Specificity Enhanced With Stem Cell Editing

A study in Nature suggests epitope editing in donor stem cells prior to bone marrow transplants can stave off toxicity when targeting acute myeloid leukemia with immunotherapy.