April 29, 2002
Volume 80, Number 17
CENEAR 80 17 p. 8
ISSN 0009-2347


Applera appoints insider Kathy Ordoñez, transfers gene database


In an unexpected move, Applera Corp. has named one of its own, Kathy Ordoñez, as president of its Celera Genomics unit, filling the position that Craig Venter vacated in January (C&EN, Jan. 28, page 17). Her job will be to oversee the company's transition from a provider of genetic information to a provider of drugs.

Applera has two units: the $1.6 billion-per-year Applied Biosystems and the $89 million-per-year Celera Genomics. Ordoñez, 51, is currently president of Celera Diagnostics, a joint venture between the two units.

She does not have the pharmaceutical experience that Applera earlier said it believed it needed to meet its goal of transforming the company. Celera Diagnostics' focus is on the development of new molecular and protein diagnostic tests.

However, Ordoñez did work for a drug company, Hoffmann-La Roche, for 15 years, during nine of which she was president and CEO of Roche Molecular Systems. In choosing her, an Applera spokesperson says the company decided that its need for "good old-fashioned leadership" and a person who knows how to use advancing technologies was more important than hiring someone from the pharmaceutical industry, from academia, or from the ranks of entrepreneurs.

Ordoñez obtained a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Hartwick College, Oneonta, N.Y. She holds five patents and has authored several publications.

Separately, Applera announced that it will transfer the marketing and distribution of Celera's genetic database to Applied Biosystems. Under this new arrangement, Celera executives can concentrate on developing the firm's fledgling drug business. Also, channeling Celera's genomic information through Applied Biosystems' sales units should provide customers with "unprece- dented integration of information, assays, products, and services," says Applera CEO Tony L. White.


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