Harry Hixson Jr., who left his posts as president and chiefoperating officer of Amgen Inc. in February, has resurfaced aspresident and chief executive officer of Genesys TherapeuticsCorp., a start-up gene therapy company.
Hixson told BioWorld that he has invested in a seed round offinancing for San Diego-based Genesys and plans to investfurther in the first financing round. The company hopes tocomplete the financing within a few weeks, said Dr. IvorRoyston, one of the founding scientists.
Part of Genesys' core technology consists of an exclusivelicense from the University of California, San Diego, for use ofgenetically engineered fibroblasts to treat central nervoussystem diseases. A patent is about to issue on that technology,Royston said.
The company is looking at other technologies, Royston said, butisn't prepared to discuss them at present.
Genesys' founding scientists, all of whom are majorstockholders, are Royston and doctors Rusty Gage, TheodoreFriedmann, Inder Verma and Robert Sobol.
Royston is president and science director at the San DiegoRegional Cancer Center (SDRCC), a non-profit group started in1990 to conduct laboratory and clinical research inimmunotherapy and gene therapy. Royston also holds anappointment at the UCSD Cancer Center.
The immunotherapy program at SDRCC seeks to activate apatient's immune system and to use antibodies andlymphocytes to treat cancer. The gene therapy program looksat ways to replace defective genes associated with cancer andto block cancer-promoting genes.
Sobol is conducting cancer research at UCSD. Friedmann isprofessor of pediatrics and molecular genetics at UCSD andworks on gene therapy. Gage is a member of the department ofneuroscience at UCSD. Verma is a professor in the molecularbiology and virology laboratory at The Salk Institute, which islocated in La Jolla, as is UCSD. -- Karen Bernstein
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