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November 25, 2008
Jones Lang LaSalle
Curing Cancer
with Gold


We’re always amazed at what our biotech friends are up to, like CytImmune Sciences, which is attempting to revolutionize cancer treatment through nanomedicine (repairs at the molecular level). We recently visited the CEO, Dr. Larry Tamarkin, at his Rockville office to hear how the 20-year-old company is planning its international phase II human clinical trials.


It looks purple, but Larry is holding a bottle of gold nanoparticles (the bling of biotech). CytImmune’s lead drug compound, Aurimune, is recombinant human tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF), a toxic agent with known anti-cancer properties that is bound to the surface of colloidal gold nanoparticles cloaked with polyethylene glycol. That may sound like gibberish, but preclinical studies show that when injected into the blood stream, this bling avoids healthy organs and targets tumors instead.


A Long Island-native, Larry was a research scientist at NIH and head of the Psychoneuroimmunology Program at the National Institute of Mental Health, before leaving to start a diagnostic company measuring hormones of our immune. The successful research product component of CytImmune was sold in 2005 to redirect new money to fund the company’s current product. When not working, Larry likes to bike along the Potomac, play tennis, and watch political talk shows. Nanomedice has not been able to develop a cure yet for the latter.

Gem Finder

Our federal IT friends are always talking about needing to find and hire new employees (even in this economy), especially those with security clearances. We recently sat down with Pragmatics HR Director Kerri Koss Morehart, who’s been dealing with the issue for nearly 20 years. “No one yet has a silver bullet that makes it possible to clone these people, so my approach is to work just as hard to keep them as to recruit them,” says Kerri.  She tries to take a personal approach with as many of the company’s 425 employees as she can (and not just the high-security ones), such as grabbing coffee or going out to lunch, to keep in touch with what they are thinking and doing.


Here’s Kerri with Pragmatics’ employee Andy Vogt at a contract award party. So how does Kerri find these people? She attends the typical job fairs and uses online sites, but credits the company’s employee referral program most. “If people are happy and take pride in their work, they are more likely to recommend bringing like-minded people on board,” Kerri says. A suburban Pittsburgh native, Kerri came to Pragmatics after spending two years as recruiting director at Fannie Mae and 18-plus years as the VP for recruiting and training at SRA.  She’s a big Steelers fan (“It’s a religion,” she says) and makes her own jewelry, which is logical considering her day job is finding gems (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Military Move Made Easy

Last week we met Kartik Nair, Tom Pugliese, Mitra Galt, Danny Michael, Vishal Parekh and Tom Lutterbie of SRA who worked on the U.S. Transportation Command’s Defense Personal Property System that helps military families in all service branches manage their moves. “What used to take a week now can be done in a day,” says Army Lt. Col. Bill Carberry, Joint Program Manager for DPS, who joined us on the phone from Illinois. SRA started on the $66.5 million contract four years ago and last week it launched for military families to use. “Now service members can sit at their kitchen table and plan their move instead of taking time for personal office appointments and dealing with paperwork,” Tom L. says.

David Stegon recently visited a government CIO, CTO and another big wig at OMB. Who? You’ll know soon enough. In the meantime send story ideas to David@Bisnow.com.

Nixon Peabody
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