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Slowly But Surely, Nucleic Acids Will Become Future of Diagnostics, Says Madsen

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If Gary Madsen has his way, EraGen will be known in the next few years for its nucleic acid testing technology. The new chief technical officer for the company, Madsen brings with him 17 years of experience with Abbott Laboratories, mostly in the diagnostics division. He also worked most recently at veterinary testing product firm Idexx Labs.

“EraGen has spent the last three years basically developing technology, and my job is to work with inside R&D and outside companies to start commercializing the technology,” Madsen says. He’ll be focusing on licensing, distribution, codevelopment, and collaborative research opportunities with other firms, and the range of potential partners is broad. “From companies that provide reagents and instruments for the life sciences research market to companies that do clinical diagnostic testing,” he says.

Madsen, 49, has spent much of his career in diagnostics and is very familiar with the field, from antigen- and antibody-based tests to molecular diagnostics. “I thought nucleic acid testing was going to be the next big growth engine,” he says. He still feels that’s right, but “it’s happening a lot slower than a lot of people thought it would because of the complexity of the technology that’s currently available,” he concedes.

There’s also a lot of technology available, or at least being hyped, but Madsen firmly believes that EraGen will have its niche. “Our technology should be a breath of fresh air for making nucleic acid testing simpler … especially for quantitative, real-time PCR,” he says.

— Meredith Salisbury

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