Genesis Establishes High Level Development Team

Published: Thu 26 Sep 2002 01:19 PM
Genesis Research Establishes High Level
Strategic Development Team
Dr Douglas Williams to Join Company from Amgen Inc
Genesis Research and Development Corporation Ltd (NZSE/ASX: GEN) today announced that it has enhanced its commercial capability by establishing a strategic development unit. The unit will be charged with identifying programmes, processes and technologies that will enable Genesis to respond more rapidly to the emerging opportunities in the changing global biotech industry.
The strategic development unit comprises Dr Andrew Shenk, who formerly headed its Plant Division, and long time Genesis Director, Dr Douglas Williams, who today announced his resignation from his post as Senior Vice President, Basic Research of Amgen Inc, the world’s largest biotech company.
“We’re delighted that Doug has agreed to join the company,” said Genesis Chief Executive, Jim Watson. “His experience, commercial acumen, international reputation and network of contacts will be of incalculable benefit as Genesis looks to evolve a stage further from being a New Zealand-based discovery company into an organisation developing commercial products for the international market.
“It’s evident to all that the biotech sector is currently in a global slump. Rather than simply riding that out, the Board determined to use the opportunity to make Genesis more competitive scientifically and able to respond more rapidly to emerging commercial opportunities. By establishing the new Strategic Development unit and staffing it with people of the calibre of Doug and Andy we are looking to step up the rate at which we commercialise our discoveries.
“Earlier this year we appointed a US-based business development unit, which has been looking to identify new partnership opportunities. The Strategic Development unit will be instrumental in translating the feedback and prospects identified in North America into realisable projects and goals.
Douglas E. Williams
Douglas E. Williams, Ph.D, is a Director of Genesis Research & Development Corporation Ltd. He previously served as Senior Vice President in Seattle for Amgen Inc, where he was responsible for discovery research and new scientific technology development.
Dr Williams joined Amgen in July 2002 when it acquired Immunex Corporation, where he was Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, with responsibility for discovery research and new scientific technology development as well as the Company’s Information Technology group.
He joined Immunex in February 1988 as a staff scientist in Biochemistry, became head of Immunex’s discovery research department in 1994 and was appointed Chief Technology Officer in October 1999.
Dr Williams has served on the Board of Genesis Research & Development Corporation Ltd since 1995, and was elected to the Immunex Board in 1996. He also serves on the Boards of Amnis Corporation, Seattle, and Seattle Genetics, Bothell, WA.
Dr. Williams holds a B.S. Magna Cum Laude in biological sciences from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and a Ph.D. in physiology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Prior to joining Immunex, Dr. Williams served on the faculty of the Indiana University School of Medicine.
About Genesis
Founded in 1994, Genesis is a New Zealand-based biotechnology company committed to the development of innovative products in health and plant biotechnology from its broad genomic platform. Genesis partners with industry leaders to develop products that have global market potential through the mining of its extensive microbe, plant and mammalian EST databases.
Genesis’ Health Sciences Division focuses on signalling pathways involved in immune diseases and cancer and has an extensive patent portfolio. It has three programmes in human clinical development utilising PVAC™ and AVAC™ for the treatment of psoriasis, atopic dermatitis (eczema) and asthma. Additional pre-clinical programmes are developing YB-1, FGFR5 and Epigen as targets for treatment of cancer and immune mediated diseases. The patented BioStore solutions for storage of tissues and living cells are also in pre-clinical development. Collaborations are maintained with Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN), Corixa Corporation (NASDAQ: CRXA), SR Pharma (LSE: SPA), and Jurox Pty Ltd.
The Plant Sciences division is focusing on key cell signalling genes - novel hormones and transcription factors - to control commercial traits including growth rates and wood fibre quality in trees, nutritional content of forage grasses, flowering control, salt and cold tolerance. It has developed comprehensive plant EST databases including the world’s largest EST database for commercial forestry species. It has research collaborations with ArborGen LLC, Wrightson (NZSE: WRI), HortResearch, AgResearch and Landcare. Genesis is also undertaking significant unpartnered research programmes in novel plant hormones. A number of patents are held including 12 steps in the production of lignin.
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