August 2010

ASBMB Members in Industry


Although a majority of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology community hails from the world of academia, the society also has a rich and diverse set of members in the industry sector. In this special Science Focus, we profile just a few of these “industrious” individuals to showcase the scope of research being carried out in this arena: Bruce MorimotoJohn PurcellJay Slack and Patricia Weber.  (Titled "ASBMB’s Industrial Revolution" in print version.)



Bruce Morimoto

Vice President for Drug Development

Allon Therapeutics Inc. Vancouver, BC

Not long ago, Bruce Morimoto was presenting research at a conference in which the speaker ahead of him described his 400-employee biotech firm as a “small company.” When it was Morimoto’s turn to speak, the V.P. for drug development at 20-member Allon wryly noted, “Well, if they’re small, we must be micro.”

Not that Morimoto would want it any other way. “Working at a really small company is much like running a lab in academia,” he says. “There’s a real sense of ownership, and everyone on the team is empowered to do whatever it takes to get the job done; that kind of environment fits my personality well.”

At Allon, which specializes in combating neurodegenerative diseases, Morimoto’s job entails moving drugs from discovery to market, which means he oversees a little bit of everything, from basic chemistry to manufacturing.

Morimoto never envisioned having such responsibilities when he was an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles; in fact, back then, he believed his only options for pursuing his fondness of science were to become a physician or engineer.

But, his chemistry lab teaching assistant introduced him to undergraduate research, and his eyes opened up to a whole new world of possibilities.

He continued on the academic path, first getting his doctorate at UCLA (finishing the undergraduate project he started), then moving on to a postdoctoral fellowship with Daniel Koshland at the University of California, Berkeley and finally a faculty position at Purdue University.

Life seemed settled, but a few years into his professorship, Morimoto headed to the San Francisco Bay Area for a two-day consulting trip with a biotech company. Once he was done, the company surprised him by offering him a position.

NEXT PAGE 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

First Name:
Last Name:

Comment on this item:
Our comments are moderated. Maximum 1000 characters. We would appreciate it if you signed your name to your comment.


There aren't any comments on this item yet. Tell us what you think!


Page 1 of 1

found= true898