As part of its corporate restructuring, Genelabs TechnologiesInc. has brought on Irene Chow, former senior vice president ofdrug development at Ciba-Geigy Corp. USA, to head its newlycreated pharmaceuticals division.

Genelabs of Redwood City, Calif., announced Wednesday that itis reorganizing its business into two operating units,pharmaceutical and diagnostic. The move is intended tomaximize the commercial potential of the company'sdiagnostics products, which brought in $4.2 million in revenuesfor the first six months of the year, as well as speed thecompany's pharmaceutical products through clinical trials andinto the marketplace.

"Genelabs has made significant inroads into the commercialworld by launching its diagnostics business," said Frank Kung,the company's president and chief executive officer. Butbecause the price tag for developing new drugs is very high,"we would not be able to finance the whole pharmaceuticaldevelopment program out of the diagnostics business."

Chow, whose track record at Ciba-Geigy includes navigating theFDA process for approval of 10 new drug applications (NDAs)and filing more than 26 investigational new drug applications(INDs) in five years, has taken up the challenge of applying her"time-to-market" expertise to Genelabs' pharmaceuticals. Chowsaid she has many innovative ideas about how to finance thedevelopment of the pharmaceuticals, but she told BioWorldthat she is still discussing how to implement them.

Genelabs' (NASDAQ:GNLB) AIDS therapeutic, GLQ223, which is apurified form of trichosanthin, is currently in Phase II clinicaltrials. And its product for treating multidrug-resistant cancer,GL331, entered Phase I trials at the University of Texas M.D.Anderson Cancer Center in Houston in April.

The company has diagnostics for detecting hepatitis E andhepatitis X viruses. The latter is believed to be responsible fortransfusion-transmitted hepatitis not caused by hepatitis B or Cviruses.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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