Cel­gene R&D vet jumps to biotech: 'It’s about short­en­ing the cy­cle'; No­var­tis ex­o­dus con­tin­ues as William Chou takes the helm at Aru­vant

Jorge Di­Marti­no has been turn­ing over the same ques­tion in his head since he was a kid: How does every hu­man cell start out the same, with the same wiring, yet end up so dif­fer­ent?

It’s a ques­tion that brought him to Berke­ley and Stan­ford, Genen­tech, the up­per ech­e­lons of Cel­gene and now, as Cel­gene is swal­lowed by Bris­tol-My­ers Squibb, Kro­nos Bio. The small mol­e­cule biotech has hired Di­Marti­no to be their CMO.

“I’m chomp­ing at the bit,” he told End­points News. 

To ask about why liv­er or stom­ach cells are the way they are is re­al­ly to ask about tran­scrip­tion: How does the cell read the code and why? Which in turn is to ask about RNA and epi­ge­net­ics. When Di­Marti­no first con­sid­ered these ques­tions, he was think­ing as a kid fas­ci­nat­ed by na­ture.

“It’s hard to wrap your head around,” he said.  “How do you go from a sin­gle fer­til­ized zy­gote to de­vel­op­ing mul­ti­ple tis­sues?”

Endpoints News

Unlock this article instantly by becoming a free subscriber.

You’ll get access to free articles each month, plus you can customize what newsletters get delivered to your inbox each week, including breaking news.