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People In the News: Aug 8, 2014

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Asuragen said this week that it has appointed Matthew McManus as CEO and president.

McManus was most recently CEO and president of PrimeraDx, and MDx platform developer recently acquired by Qiagen. Prior to this, he was head of Cleveland Clinic Laboratories and chief operating officer of the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. He holds an MD and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and an MBA from Boston College.

Asuragen also said this week that it has named Darin Leigh as senior vice president of commercial operations and Eric Lindquist as vice president of business development, companion diagnostics.

Prior to joining Asuragen, Leigh was vice president of global commercial operations with Luminex. He also served in strategic marketing and sales roles at Abbott Laboratories. Lindquist has held senior roles in business development, sales, and marketing at HTG, Ventana/Roche, Apocell, Vysis/Abbott, and Veridex.

Exosome Diagnostics has appointed Thomas McLain to be its CEO. Mclain most recently was CEO of Vermillion, and previously was CEO at Claro Scientific, and chairman, CEO, and president of Nabi Biopharmaceuticals. McLain replaces James McCullough, who was founding CEO of Exosome.

Former Life Technologies leader Greg Lucier will work with Organovo Holdings, a 3-D biology company, as a corporate advisor. He will advise the company on various corporate issues.

Lucier was chairman and CEO of Life Technologies for 11 years before it was acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific, in 2014, and he oversaw the merger of Applied Biosystems and Invitrogen that created Life Technologies in 2008. He currently serves on the board of NuVasive Corporation, RainTree Oncology Services, CareFusion, and is board chairman for the Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Alan Grossman has been named head of MIT's Department of Biology, as of Aug. 1. He was an associate department head from 2012 until June, when he became interim head after Tania Baker stepped down from the leadership position.

Grossman was director or co-director of the biology graduate program for seven years, and he helped establish and direct MIT's graduate program in microbiology. His research involves using genetic, molecular, genomic, and other approaches to study how bacteria sense internal and external conditions and control basic cellular processes. Currently, he is working to define mechanisms regulating bacterial DNA replication and cellular responses to replication stress.

Grossman received a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1984, and joined MIT's biology department in 1988.

Bio-Rad Laboratories said recently that it has appointed Joel McComb to its board of directors.

Since mid-2010 McComb has founded three technology companies in the life science and diagnostics markets under the umbrella of Point Break Capital. The technologies focus on RNA expression, cancer profiling, and pathology. McComb previously served as vice president and general manager of Illumina's Life Science business unit, where he was responsible for leading global product development, business strategy, and overall operations. Prior to joining Illumina, McComb held two high-level positions at General Electric, serving as president of GE Healthcare Life Sciences-Discovery Systems and president of GE Healthcare Interventional Medicine. McComb has also served as president and CEO of Innovadyne Technologies, and held a series of executive, product development, business, and sales positions at Beckman Coulter.

Insight Genetics said this week that it has added six employees, growing its expertise in scientific research and development and quality assurance.

Rebecca Smith and Lance Thomas have joined the company as scientists. Smith will support the Insight Genetics R&D team in late-phase projects for transition to clinical use. She was previously a developmental neurobiology postdoctoral fellow at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Thomas will lead the design and execution of early phase projects and support the next-generation sequencing division at Insight. He was previously a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Frank McMahon, Sajid Qadri, and Ryan Vincent have joined the company as research associates. McMahon will oversee the expansion of Insight's histopathology division and support biomarker development projects. He previously gained significant research experience in molecular pathology at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the Allergy Pulmonary and Critical Care and Translational Pathology departments. Qadri will work on NGS projects, having previously served as a research intern for the company. Vincent will help design and advance projects as part of Insight's R&D team.

Finally, Andrew Dahlhauser has joined the company as a quality assurance associate, responsible for implementing Insight's quality management system processes within Insight and with the company's external clients.

Horizon Discovery has named Emmanuelle gene editing scientists Charpentier, Keith Joung, and Feng Zhang to its scientific advisory board.

Charpentier is head of the Department of Regulation in Infection Biology at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, and is known for her work on bacterial immunity and discovering functional components of the bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 system. She also co-founded ERS Genomics and CRISPR Therapeutics.

Joung is scientific co-founder of Editas medicine, associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School, and associate chief of pathology research at Massachusetts General Hospital. His lab has developed methods for targeted genome editing using zinc finger nucleases, transcription activator-like effector nucleases, and CRISPR-Cas9.

Zhang is a W.M. Keck Career Development professor with a joint appointment in the Biological Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences departments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also is one of the core members of the Broad Institute and an investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. He successfully engineered the CRISPR-Cas9 system for genome editing in mammalian cells.

Foundation Medicine has hired Lisa Ricciardi to be senior VP of corporate and business development, a newly created position. She will be responsible for overseeing the company's biopharmaceutical partnerships and corporate and development activities across the company.

Ricciardi previously was senior VP of licensing and development at Pfizer, a venture partner at Essex Woodlands Health Ventures, and a senior VP of US and international business development at Medco Health Solutions.

Tauriga Sciences said this week it has appointed Daniel Hassett to serve on its scientific and medical advisory board. Hassett was co-founder and chairman of the SAB at Pilus Energy.

Tauriga said his expertise in microbiology will be useful as the company advances a commercial pilot test to scale up its synthetic biology platform with the EPA's Test and Evaluation facility and the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati.

Molecular Health has added Fadi Braiteh to its advisory board. Braiteh is an oncologist with the Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada. He completed three fellowships at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in medical oncology, phase I drug development, palliative care, and symptom management, and an internal medicine internship and residency at the Yale School of Medicine.

Biocept, an oncology MDx firm specializing in circulating tumor cells and circulating tumor DNA biomarker analysis, has named Amy McNeal as senior director of managed care and reimbursement strategies.

McNeal joins Biocept from GE Healthcare where she was manager of the North American managed care unit. Prior to this, she was executive director of sales and contracting at Pathology, a specialty women's health laboratory. She has also previously led health plan contracting efforts for Quest Diagnostics.

Verisante this week named Kenneth Beer and Philip Werschler to its clinical advisory board.

Beer is a Florida-based dermatologist and a volunteer assistant professor at the University of Miami and a consulting associate with the Department of Medicine at Duke University.

Werschler is a dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon and an expert in medical and cosmetic dermatology.

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