ExonHit\'s fresh faces

Company creates two business units to refocus its resources

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PARIS—Seeking to have a business structure that is more targeted to its chosen markets and that puts its human and technological resources to work more efficiently, drug and diagnostic discovery company ExonHit Therapeutics has created two commercial business units: the Molecular Diagnostics and Genomic Services Unit and the Therapeutics Unit.Using its internal resources, ExonHit Therapeutics plans in 2008 to launch new whole-genome microarrays for rats and mice, partner its EHT0202 compound for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders on the basis on the results of a first Phase II study, and organize its infrastructure to commercialize its first blood-based diagnostic for Alzheimer's disease.In addition, ExonHit expects that its long-standing collaboration with Allergan for the discovery, development and commercialization of drugs for neurodegenerative diseases, pain and ophthalmology will result in further progress over the next two years."The reorganization is really driven by our technological maturation and our product launches, especially in the diagnostics field," says Philippe Rousseau, CFO of ExonHit. "These two divisions have essentially already been in our company for years. This is simply a different way of organizing things that were already done in the company."He adds that the change, while important, is not revolutionary, and mostly represents a reallocation of people within ExonHit."We've been driven by research since the company's conception but we want to build up marketing, and sales in stronger roles, too," Rousseau notes. "Now, people who have up to this time been doing many different things will be more focused on single tasks, especially on the research side."The two divisions will work closely on many tasks, he notes, particularly because the diagnostics and genomics unit will continue to make the microarrays that are used in research work on the therapeutics side for identifying new markers.The management board and the supervisory board have noted that they set up this new organization of the company "to best realize the value of the company's intellectual property portfolio." ExonHit's founders are expected to transfer leadership to a new management board to be elected before March 31, 2008."We have been working closely with the founders in order to achieve this new organization," said Laurent Condomine, chairman of the supervisory board, in a news release about the reorganization. "The founders will continue to serve the company in an advisory capacity."The company named Matt Pando head of the Therapeutics Unit, and it brought on Anders Ingvarsson as vice president of marketing of molecular diagnostics and James Douglas as vice president of corporate strategy and projects. Aside from these high-profile additions, Rousseau says no significant increases in staff size are planned at this time—or decreases, for that matter."Two years ago we had 50 people; now we have about 70," he notes. "There could be some small growth in 2008 but that depends on market conditions and partnerships we enter into and the like. For the moment, we just wanted to ensure that we have our current people allocated well. You see this kind of reorganization with a lot of small biotech companies as they mature. Our success in the future will be driven by our products, and we want to make sure we have the assets on hand to be sure we've done all we could to make it work." DDNeditconnect: e020813

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