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Ajaz Hussain’s Unusual Career Move
This is pretty old news, but it certainly took me by surprise. Just glanced at the online masthead and the byline of an article from the November 2007 issue of Biopharm International andÂ learned that Dr. Hussain has moved from Sandoz to... Philip Morris International?Â (OK.Â Talk amongst yourselves....)
His new title is :Â Vice President of Biological Systems Research and Development.Â This was unheralded anywhere in the press, and there didn't seem to be any news releases on PM's web site.
Could the company whose name is still synonymous with the world's most toxic consumer product be trying its hand at developing cures?Â New nicotine-based pharmaceuticals would be far too easy.Â I'm thinking---biosimilars? Transgenics and theÂ Â cultivation of specific human enzymes in specialized tobacco plant strains?Â On a more "macro" level, are they planning to conquer the smoke-cessation product market?
Right now, phama is just a notch or two above big tobacco on the public opinion radar. Still, moving to a company with a troubled reputation must have caused a few qualms to Dr. Hussain, who has always worked for the "white hats"----first at academia, then FDA, then for a generic drug company.Â Some of his fans might view this move as selling out.Â More likely the attraction of doing important and well-funded research overcameÂ any qualms.Â
It will be interesting to see how the company's portfolio changes over time.Â Perhaps, in a few decades, Morris will be viewed as a "healing" company?Â (And pharma, with its new "personalized medicine" infrastructureÂ will, once again, top the public opinion charts)
Dr. Hussain will be speaking at IFPAC next week.Â Emil Ciurczak will be interviewing him for his views on biosimilars development and the role of bioanalytics, which promises to be extremely interesting.Â Stay tuned...