Sanford-Burnham News Archive

Burnham Institute for Medical Research Appoints First Chief Business Officer


LA JOLLA, Calif. , October 20, 2009

Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham) announced today that Dr. Paul Laikind will join Burnham as Senior Vice President, Business Development and Chief Business Officer in November. Dr. Laikind is a seasoned entrepreneur with extensive experience in business development. He is the cofounder of three biotech companies – Gensia Pharmaceuticals, Viagene and Metabasis Therapeutics. He most recently served as the President and CEO of Metabasis and remains a member of the board of directors.

“We are entering a new era at Burnham,” said Gregory T. Lucier, CEO and Chairman of Life Technologies Corporation, who serves as the Chairman of Burnham’s Board of Trustees. “The Institute is bringing in the talent we need to strategically evaluate our research assets and position them, through licenses, collaborations or spin-outs, for commercialization.”

Dr. Laikind has a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego. He is the inventor on several key patents that formed the basis of companies and over the course of his career he has established corporate partnerships with pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Dr. Laikind is charged with leading Burnham’s business development activities on an international basis, representing Burnham’s campuses in California and Florida. This includes developing strategies and identifying resources for advancing Burnham’s technology toward clinical and commercial applications, working with faculty scientists to launch new biotechnology companies for advancing institute technology, and increasing revenue opportunities through corporate partnering.

“Dr. Laikind’s experience as an entrepreneur – taking research from discovery to company formation and into development – will bring a new energy to our efforts to translate our basic research into therapies and cures,” said Dr. John Reed, President and CEO of Burnham.

Dr. Laikind is one of several recent key hires intended to leverage Burnham’s technology infrastructure for drug discovery into expanded corporate partnerships and other collaborations. Last month, Burnham announced the hiring of Dr. Michael Jackson as the Vice President of Drug Discovery and Development. In his role, Dr. Jackson oversees the chemical biology and drug discovery efforts of the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics (CPCCG) at Burnham’s La Jolla, California and Orlando, Florida campuses.

“With significant support from the National Institutes of Health, and the private sector, Burnham is on the leading edge of a new approach to drug discovery,” said Dr. Laikind. “Rapid change over the past few years has resulted in a pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry that is more and more dependent on non-profit medical research institutions for providing today’s leads that result in tomorrow’s important new medicines. Burnham is a clear leader in this field and I look forward to joining the team and helping accelerate the progress of promising basic research into the clinic and beyond.”

Dr. Robert Zaugg, currently Vice President of Business Development at Burnham, has submitted his resignation in order to assume another position.

About Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute is dedicated to discovering the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow. Sanford-Burnham takes a collaborative approach to medical research with major programs in cancer, neurodegeneration and stem cells, diabetes, and infectious, inflammatory, and childhood diseases. The Institute is recognized for its National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center and expertise in drug discovery technologies. Sanford-Burnham is a nonprofit, independent institute that employs more than 1,000 scientists and staff in San Diego (La Jolla), Calif., and Orlando (Lake Nona), Fla. For more information, visit us at

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