HOUSTON, March 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Lasergen, Inc. is expanding its team and realigning its board of directors as it begins development of a next-generation sequencing platform to address the needs of clinical applications. The actions follow a recently announced collaboration agreement and $80 million investment from Agilent Technologies, enabling funding of both the team's expansion and the commercialization of sequencing instrumentation and software.
"This investment and collaboration agreement with Agilent are among the many successes Lasergen has seen over recent years as we have moved forward with the development and commercialization of our unique sequencing chemistry," said Thomas C. Thompson, chairman of the Lasergen board of directors. "The Lasergen team has proven the success of its chemistry on its prototype instruments, and the addition of Agilent's support will allow us to further the development of a complete sequencing platform."
As part of Lasergen's expansion, the company has added Timothy Burcham, Ph.D., as chief technology officer, to drive development of the sequencing platform. Dr. Burcham brings nearly three decades of life science and product development experience as an expert in developing and launching commercial instruments, including development of both the SOLiD and the 5500 sequencing systems. Dr. Burcham has been a member of the Lasergen Scientific Advisory Board since 2015.
The Lasergen board of directors will be rearranged to accommodate three seats from Agilent; however, Lasergen leadership will remain in place. In particular, James R. Lupski, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc. (hon), FAAP, FACMGG, FAAAS, FAAS, Cullen Professor in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, and Professor of Pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine, will remain a clinical leader. Dr. Lupski is a Board Certified Clinical Geneticist and Clinical Molecular Geneticist and a member of the Human Genome Sequencing Center (HGSC). "Lasergen has assembled a first-class team of scientists and engineers focused on developing innovative sequencing chemistry," said Dr. Lupski. "I am pleased to be a member Lasergen's Board of Directors and a part of this exciting mission. Genomics will forever change clinical practice and ushers in the emerging field of precision medicine - there is an urgent need for more and better ways to sequence genomes."
Additionally, Steven D. Arnold, M.B.A, will be added to the board of directors for his expertise in corporate leadership and investment management. Arnold is a respected management consultant who has both led and served as a director for a number of companies. Specific to healthcare management, he holds board positions that include Houston Methodist Research Institute, Curing Children's Cancer Fund and Texas Children's Hospital Cancer Center.
"Dr. Burcham's experience, as well as the strength of our board of directors, will provide invaluable expertise to guide our products into the clinical research and diagnostics market," said Mimi Healy, Ph.D., president and CEO of Lasergen. "We are excited about the vision, knowledge and passion they will provide as we continue the development of our innovative products and further expansion of our team."
Lasergen is a research and development company dedicated to the advancement and commercialization of unique nucleotide chemistries with particular focus on sequencing. While Lasergen's proprietary photocleavable chemistry can be used in a wide variety of applications, the Lightning Terminators are specifically being developed as part of an NGS platform that includes chemistry, instrumentation and software. The Houston, Texas-based company was founded in 2002.
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SOURCE Lasergen, Inc.