REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Oct. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Karius, the world leader in liquid biopsy for infectious diseases, announced Alec Ford as the company's new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Ford most recently served as the Chief Operating Officer of Myriad Genetics, where he led the design and execution of key business operations. Ford brings 30 years of significant experience helping emerging biotech companies achieve scale and in his new role as CEO, Ford will lead the company into its next phase of accelerated growth. Mickey Kertesz, Karius' Co-founder, will transition from his current CEO role and will now serve as President and Chief Product Officer where he will further expand the vision and applications of Karius' breakthrough technology.
"Mickey and his team have built an impactful and innovative company centered around a paradigm-shifting liquid biopsy technology for infectious diseases. Karius' talented team, top-tier investors, world-class collaborators, and strong customer base all demonstrate Karius' position as the leader in the field," said Karius CEO Alec Ford. "The opportunity to lead such a dedicated and talented team of scientists and other professionals at Karius is a unique opportunity to accelerate the founders' vision."
Infectious diseases are the second leading cause of death worldwide and many cases go undiagnosed due to limitations with current diagnostic methods. Karius pioneered the discovery and application of microbial cell-free DNA (mcfDNA), enabling non-invasive detection of pathogens throughout the body with its Karius® Test. The Karius Test uses novel genomics and AI to identify and measure the mcfDNA of more than 1,000 clinically relevant pathogens (including bacteria, fungi, DNA viruses, and parasites) from a single blood draw, informing doctors about the likely types and quantities of infectious microorganisms affecting their patients. The Karius Test delivers results typically the day after sample receipt, allowing doctors to better diagnose and treat their patients. Applications include diagnosing invasive fungal and other opportunistic infections in immunocompromised patients and diagnosing infections when invasive procedures are contraindicated or undesired.
"I am excited to welcome Alec as our new CEO and I am looking forward to working with him to establish Karius as the standard of care and to help more patients across a range of diseases," said Karius Co-founder, Mickey Kertesz. "I am confident that Alec's substantial business, commercial, and operational experience, his strong network and successful track record in building and scaling organizations will prove instrumental in this growth phase."
Over the past year, Karius has experienced tremendous growth. In February of this year, Karius announced $165 million in new funding, making it the largest AI healthcare deal of Q1 2020 according to CB Insights. The Series B funding round was led by SoftBank Group's Vision Fund 2, with additional participation from General Catalyst, HBM, and existing investors Khosla Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Since its founding in 2014, Karius has raised $254 million.
The Karius Test became commercially available in 2016 and is now being used in over 100 hospitals and healthcare systems across the United States. More recently, Karius was recognized by Forbes as one of America's top 50 most promising artificial intelligence companies.
Numerous published studies have demonstrated the impact of the Karius Test including more than 20 peer-reviewed publications and over 50 clinical studies. In 2019, the journal Nature Microbiology published the analytical and clinical validation of the Karius Test showing that the test more accurately and rapidly identified the likely pathogens causing an infection when compared to standard methods.
Karius is a life sciences company focused on generating genomic insights for infectious diseases with a non-invasive blood test that helps clinicians make rapid treatment decisions. By mapping each patient's microbial landscape from a single blood draw, Karius moves closer to a vision of a world where infectious disease is no longer a major threat to human health.