"During the dash to sequence the human genome, Craig Venter's adversaries called him "Hitler", "an asshole", and "an opportunistic maniac and leech". Collins sometimes ended presentations with a slide of a double helix made entirely of money, preaching against those who would sell the human genome as a commodity. The publicly funded scientists often vilified Venter when talking to reporters, which had its intended effect in the media as newspapers and magazines ran stories about Venter cashing in on human DNA. It was Time magazine that dubbed him the "bad boy of science", leading Venter to tell his wife: "I don't mind being bad boy. I just don't want to be evil boy.""
Nature: Science Update Portrait of a serial sequencer
"Craig Venter is trapped - in a comfy white armchair overlooking the spring leaves and water of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.
Artist Lewis Miller is sketching his portrait and the human genome pioneer has to sit still for half an hour. It's not something Venter is used to."redux [01.31.03]
NPR: Science Friday J. Craig Venter
"J. Craig Venter's company, Celera Genomics, decoded the human genome faster and more cheaply than a large federally-funded effort. Join host Iraq Flatow and Venter for a discussion about his philosophy and vision for genomics. Who should own the human genome?"redux [11.26.02]
The Scientist Minimal controversy
[requires 'free' registration]
"Craig Venter's "minimal genome" project announced Wednesday is not about creating a new life form and probably doesn't pose much of a biowarfare threat, researchers say. The high-profile project was just funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE) with $3 million going to the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives (IBEA), one of the non-profit research institutes Venter founded after leaving the newly profit-minded Celera Genomics early this year.
According to some scientists, the new project won't even define the minimal genomethe basic gene set required for lifebecause there can be no single minimal genome."redux [10.15.02]
Genomeweb Can Craig Venter Save Human-Genome Sequencing?
"But we're asking the philanthropic community to say, 'How about funding 100 genomes for patients with these diseases? Diseases that you care about or ethnogeographic groups to make sure there's sufficient diversity in the population or in some cases you yourself or your family as part of a legacy,' and everybody would have their data be part of a database that would be used for genome analysis in comparing clinical records, genotype/phenotype correlations, obviously in an anonymous fashion."
"It was misrepresented the first time in the press that this was the millionaires' genome project. Hopefully, it would not just be millionaires' genomes, although I think that would be an interesting study. I think we would find them to be remarkably similar to all the other genomes, but I think what we'd expect to happen is that there would be groups that support diseases that they really care about getting solved that they know are not going to get solved with the current paradigm..."redux [10.03.02]
Wired News Get Your Red-Hot Genome CD
"Mapping and reading J. Craig Venter's genome took 15 years, $5 billion and some of the world's most sophisticated computers.
Wouldn't you, too, like your genome decoded?
Venter says he plans to offer the service, with the goal of burning individual human's entire DNA sequences onto shiny compact discs."redux [05.03.02]
Wired News Genetic Fate Is in Venter's Hands
"Coming from a man whose life revolves around the study of genes, this might sound surprising: People are not the sum total of their genes.
But J. Craig Venter, former president of Celera Genomics and genome mapper extraordinaire, wants the American public to know that genes are not fate and he's launched a nonprofit organization to prove it. "redux [01.28.02]
The Washington Post Celera Changed, Venter Couldn't
"As all that was happening, people who know him say, White, Venter's boss, was getting grumpy. He well knew that Celera, under its original business plan, could not deliver long-range earnings growth that would justify what the market was paying for Celera shares. One top genetic scientist said White snapped to him in the midst of the publicity barrage, "'This is all nice, but we need a business plan.'"
They quickly came to the same conclusion as many minds before them: In biology and medicine, the only business plan that offers the potential of extraordinary profits is drug development. All the biotechnology superstars have been companies with hit drugs."redux [01.22.01]
BBC News Genome pioneer steps down
"Dr Craig Venter, the US scientist who led the private effort to decode the human genome, has quit as boss of his company Celera Genomics."
""We are now at a critical juncture where my best contributions can be made in a scientific advisory role, allowing the rest of the organisation to continue Celera's progress toward becoming a successful pharmaceutical business.""redux [06.09.00]
Forbes Celera's Worth Still Up In The Air
"Great discoveries do not necessarily make great businesses. Businesses have to sell something. Celera Genomics doesn't sell or make anything tangible. It hawks service and information. It sells access to lists of genes and computers that can sort through those messy lists. Samuel Broder, the company's executive vice president and chief medical officer, makes Celera sound like some kind of consulting company, or perhaps a library."
"Venter's quest could be a fable, with all sorts of morals about the power of capitalism and the importance of a single, brilliant, willful individual who used the market to shake the ivory towers of science. But those morals only hold if Celera succeeds, if business and science blend to propel the company into the future with breathtaking speed without rocketing it into the realities of the marketplace. Celera could become one of the great business success stories. It could also be a financial train wreck."
Right now, that makes it a very volatile stock."redux [07.17.00]
BBC News Celera plans next step
"Craig Venter, head of Celera Genomics which last month completed the map of the human genome, has outlined his next goal.
Speaking at a conference he said his new task was to map the proteins which drive all chemical reactions in the body."
""A big part of the business is the straightforward providing of information, but I'm not complacent just to do that," Venter said."
“Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.”BIOINFORMATICS IN THE 21st CENTURY
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