Elizabeth H. Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco, Carol W. Greider of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore, MD, USA) and Jack W. Szostak of Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston) have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2009 for their work in telomeres, which play important roles the areas of aging and cancer because of their role in limiting the number of times a cell can divide.

In Chemistry, the Nobel Committee gave its annual prize to three structural biologists who described the structure and function of the ribosome: Venkatraman Ramakrishnan of the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology (Cambridge, UK), Thomas Steitz of Yale University (New Haven, CT, USA) and Ada Yonath of the Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot, Israel).

Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics (Amsterdam) has named Jorn Aldag CEO. Aldag has more than 25 years of experience in corporate management and finance, most recently as president and CEO of Evotec AG. Sander van Deventer has stepped down as interim CEO of AMT but will continue as a scientific advisor to the company.

Ian Clark and Pedro Granadillo have been elected to the board of directors of Dendreon (Seattle). Clark is currently head of global product strategy and chief marketing officer at Roche's pharma division, and, beginning January 1, 2010, will become CEO and head of North American commercial operations at Genentech, now a part of the Roche Group. Granadillo recently retired after a 30-year career at Eli Lilly, where he was most recently senior vice president of global manufacturing and human resources.

Cellectis (Romainville, France) has announced the appointment of Sylvie Delassus as senior vice president, communications. She previously served as public relations director at the Institut Pasteur and head of communications for the R&D subsidiary of Aventis and was most recently with the French Agency for Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety.

Thomas E. Hughes has been named to the board of directors of miRagen Therapeutics (Boulder, CO, USA). He brings more than 20 years of drug discovery and development expertise to the company, previously serving as Novartis's vice president and global head of the cardiovascular and metabolism disease area and as CEO of Zafgen.

OXiGENE (S. San Francisco, CA, USA) has announced the resignation of John A. Kollins from his position as CEO and as a member of the board of directors in order to pursue other interests. Peter Langecker, executive vice president and chief development officer, will serve as interim CEO while the company conducts a search for a permanent replacement.

Five Prime Therapeutics (San Francisco) has announced the appointments of Aron Knickerbocker as vice president business development, Marc Belsky as vice president finance and Lauretta Cesario as vice president human resources. Knickerbocker was most recently senior director, business development at Genentech. Belsky joins the company after serving as vice president and chief accounting officer for Cell Genesys. Finally, Cesario comes to Five Prime from Affymetrix, where she served as vice president human resources.

Daniel Levitt has joined CytRx (Los Angeles) as chief medical officer. He has been consulting with several biotech and pharma companies since early 2009, after serving as executive vice president, R&D at Cerimon Pharmaceuticals, CMO and head of clinical and regulatory affairs at Dynavax Technologies, and chief operating officer and head of R&D at Affymax.

Amarin (Dublin) has announced that Thomas Lynch will step down from his position as CEO, while remaining as chairman of the board of directors. Declan Doogan, the company's head of R&D, will serve as interim CEO. In addition, Amarin has named Manus Rogan and Joseph Anderson to the board. Rogan is co-founder and managing partner at Fountain Healthcare Partners and Anderson is a partner at Abingworth LLP.

CeQur (Montreaux, Switzerland) has named Eric Milledge as chairman of its board of directors. Milledge has worked at Johnson & Johnson for 34 years, most recently as company group chairman of Lifescan.

Xinjie (James) Mu has been appointed chief financial officer and as a director of Sinobiopharma (Nantong City, China). He succeeds Lequn Huang as CFO. Mu was most recently an independent consultant working for China-based US public companies. Previously he served as CFO of Jingwei International.

AcelRx Pharmaceuticals (Redwood City, CA, USA) has announced the appointment of Nigel Ray as vice president of business development, a newly created position. Ray has over 20 years of industry experience, most recently as vice president of business development at Limerick BioPharma and previously at DURECT and ALZA.

Robert J. Rubin has been appointed to the board of directors of Soligenix (Princeton, NJ, USA). He previously served as president of the national health policy and management consulting firm The Lewin Group, assistant surgeon general in the United States Public Health Service and assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the US Department of Health and Human Services. Currently, he is a clinical professor of medicine at Georgetown University's School of Medicine.

Sequenom (San Diego), in conjunction with the completion of an independent investigation related to the test data for the company's noninvasive prenatal test for Down syndrome that found deficiencies in the company's disclosure controls and procedures, has terminated the employment of president and CEO Harry Stylli, senior vice president of R&D Elizabeth Dragon and CFO Paul Hawran. Sequenom's board of directors has appointed chairman of the board Harry F. Hixson, Jr. and director Ronald M. Lindsay to serve as interim CEO and senior vice president of R&D, respectively, and has designated controller Justin J. File as principal financial and accounting officer.

Jay Therrien has been named vice president, global sales for next generation sequencing at Life Technologies (Carlsbad, CA, USA). He most recently served as director of sales for Asia Pacific and Japan for Illumina, which he joined in 2004.