Burrill’s Bet on Seattle, Yamada Exits Gates Foundation, Stewart Parker’s New Gig, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

2/17/11Follow @xconomy

This week the Seattle life sciences beat was all people coming and going from high-profile jobs, which may say something about where the action is heading.

Steve Burrill, the biotech jack of all trades from San Francisco, likes to say he’s a “geographic agnostic” when it comes to looking around for the best investments in biotech. Since he’s nobody’s hometown homer, I asked him why he’s coming back to keynote our city’s big local biotech conference for the second year in a row.

H. Stewart Parker, the founder and longtime CEO of Seattle-based Targeted Genetics, has found a new job as the CEO of the Infectious Disease Research Institute. This means that IDRI, one of the “best-kept secrets” in the Seattle global health research community, will be taking on a new direction with someone who has loads of biotech business experience and connections.

NanoString Technologies, the Seattle-based maker of a digital genetic analysis instrument, added a new VP of sales, and a VP of marketing, to complete the makeover of its senior management team.

Tachi Yamada, the president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s global health program the past five years, said he’s stepping down from that role in June. Yamada, a former chairman of R&D at GlaxoSmithKline, still has local ties through his role as a senior advisor to Frazier Healthcare Ventures. He has dropped hints about wanting to stay in Seattle, and also to make his next career move in his native Japan.

—Seattle-based Mirador Biomedical, the maker of a device to help doctors avoid dangerous needle puncture errors in hospitals, said it has hired a new VP of sales to pitch its new FDA approved product.

—Bothell, WA-based Marina Biotech (NASDAQ: MRNA) raised $5.1 million in a stock offering this week to finance clinical trial work on its lead RNA-based drug candidate.

—We even had a personnel move to report on here at Xconomy Seattle, which I raved about in these pages on Monday. We’ve hired Curt Woodward, former Olympia reporter for the Associated Press, to cover the Northwest technology, venture capital, and cleantech scene. I will stay here as the editor of this bureau, and national biotech editor. For me, it means I will still edit stories about things like Cheezburger, but I should have more time to write stories about Seattle biotech that’s really in my wheelhouse.

—Here’s one last guest editorial which comes from a Seattle tech entrepreneur, Dan Shapiro, which I’m sure will resonate across disciplines into the local biotech community. This is a hard-hitting post about the sticky issues surrounding non-disclosure agreements, which Shapiro says often amount to nothing more than “NDA terrorism.” If you’re one of those people curious about what it takes to write a good guest editorial for Xconomy, read this and take note.

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