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Chemist Tapped to Head Genomics Institute

The Swiss life sciences giant Novartis is expected to name University of California, Berkeley, chemist Peter Schultz as the director of its new Novartis Institute for Functional Genomics. Last spring, the company announced that its philanthropic arm--the Novartis Research Foundation--would spend $250 million over 10 years to bankroll the San Diego-based institute. The center is expected to hire some 100 researchers to sort out the function of newly discovered genes as a basis for new drugs.

Schultz has pioneered the use of techniques such as combinatorial chemistry and DNA chips for drug development. His appointment is "a good hire for Novartis and a tough break for Berkeley," says Harvard University biologist Tim Mitchison. "He's not someone to let anything stand in his way."