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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Personal Genomes

Recently, Dr Craig Venter created a stir by announcing that he was, for the princely sum of half a million dollars, providing the opportunity for high net worth individuals (presumably!) to have their whole genome sequenced. In fact, Dr Venter is interested from a scientific standpoint in acquiring comprehensive information about genetic variation in a number of individuals. It is a neat way of funding this endeavour if the individuals are prepared to pay for the activity themselves. But what would they gain for their money? Will useful information be provided or is this just another trophy purchase? Who gets the most out of this unusual contract? The view of some commentators has been that the CD containing their genetic code that these wealthy individuals will receive will have little more than novelty value. They argue that our understanding of the genome is so rudimentary that little interpretative value can be extracted at this stage.


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By Nick McCooke, Chief Executive Officer of Solexa

Nick McCooke, Chief Executive Officer of Solexa, was formerly President of Seattle-based genomics company Rapigene (now part of Qiagen NV), which under his leadership built one of the world's first fully operational high-throughput genotyping facilities.

From 1991 to 1998, he held a number of general management positions at Innovex (now part of Quintiles) including President of Innovex Japan, with responsibility for setting up a successful business based in Tokyo. Previously Nick worked for the UK biotech company, Celltech, in a number of commercial and general management roles. He holds a BSc and MSc in Engineering and an MBA from the London Business School.

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Nick McCooke
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