There are two big reasons why Nick Lazaridis decided to join Gene Express as the company’s new president: “One is personalized medicine,” he says, “and the other is their technology.” That technology is the company’s StaRT-PCR platform, currently used by many clinical researchers for analysis of tissue, xenografts, and formalin-fixed paraffin embedded samples.
But with more than 18 years in pharmaceutical development, Lazaridis is bringing more than just his enthusiasm to the table. “First, is my relationship with the pharmaceutical industry in terms of product development and my knowledge of the FDA requirements to file acceptable data,” he says. “I also have a very good overall knowledge in terms of Good Manufacturing Practice, and that’s something new to the genomic arena.”
Experience with strict manufacturing standards will be a good fit for a company that touts assays produced under tight manufacturing conditions and its own proprietary standards methods. “I believe Gene Express has the only technology that provides standards and measurable results,” says Lazaridis. “I’m just trying to take the strengths of the technology and internal standards to basically every drug development phase [that] will need StaRT-PCR.”
Prior to Gene Express, Lazaridis spent five years at AAI Pharma, where he served as senior vice president of preclinical operations. Before that, he was senior vice president of laboratory services for AAI Development Services. Through the ’90s, he held several positions at AAI International, including director of analytical and chemical development and vice president of acquisition and integration of pharmaceutical operations.
Lazaridis is hopeful that StaRT-PCR will be a major player in the drug development market further down the road. “In five years, I would like to see our technology be the leading force of [quantifying] any biomarker that is out there.”