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New chief scientific officer at Rhythm

US-based biopharma names former head of obesity research at Merck, Dr Lex Van der Ploeg, as chief scientific officer

Former head of obesity research at Merck, Dr Lex Van der Ploeg has been named chief scientific officer at US biopharma Rhythm.

Van der Ploeg spent more than 17 years at Merck Research Laboratories (MRL), where his other positions included vice president, basic research and site head at both MRL Boston and MRL San Diego.

At Merck, he directed drug development programs in metabolism, oncology, and neurodegenerative diseases, and put 10 product candidates into clinical development.

After leaving Merck, Van der Ploeg became head of R&D at Abraxis Health.

Dr Keith Gottesdiener, CEO of Rhythm, said of the appointment: "Lex has considerable experience with the biology and genetics of the metabolic pathways we are targeting with our ghrelin and melanocortin 4 receptor clinical programmes."

Dr Van der Ploeg praised Rhythms' metabolic peptide programmes, claiming the company had considerable potential to make important drugs.

He said: "I am very pleased to join this excellent team to help develop this exciting portfolio of drug candidates for obesity, diabetes, and GI metabolic disorders."

1st December 2011

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