Ann Arbor-based Genetics Squared, a company developing gene-based assays for the prediction of cancer recurrence, announced that it will change its corporate name to Everist Genomics and has appointed Prasad Sunkara as its new president and CEO, effective immediately.
In connection with these changes, the company is poised to launch its first prognostic gene-based laboratory test, called OncoDefender-CRC, intended to help guide treatment decisions following surgery for Stage I and II colon cancer and Stage I rectal cancer.
“We believe that our new corporate name more accurately reflects our company’s broader mission to develop and commercialize a range of prognostic products that will give physicians more patient-specific clinical information so that they can make informed decisions and improve clinical outcomes,” Sunkara said.
Sunkara succeeds Bill Worzel, who co-founded Everist in 2002 and led the company through cutting-edge research in genetic programming and molecular prognostics to prepare the company for commercialization. Worzel will remain with company in the new role of Chief Technology Officer.
“With a new name and expanded leadership, Everist Genomics begins a new era in our evolution from a research-based start-up to a commercial enterprise,” Worzel said. “As we prepare to launch the first of several innovative products that promise to change the way we predict the evolution and recurrence of disease, Prasad’s track record of managing biotechnology and medical device companies will prove invaluable for Everist. I look forward to continuing to contribute to the company’s success as Chief Technology Officer as we continue to innovate our product portfolio based on even more advanced and effective algorithms.”
Sunkara has held executive roles at a number of biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, including Cytovia Inc., Molecular Therapeutics Inc. and Cascade Pharmaceuticals Inc. Most recently, he served as chairman of medical diagnostics company Angiologix, in which Everist previously acquired a controlling interest. Sunkara has more than 30 years of corporate, financing, research and development and management experience in cancer, cardiovascular and CNS disease indications. Sunkara has also co-founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of four previous companies, the most recent of which was Ann Arbor-based Molecular Imaging Research Inc. which he successfully sold to Charles River Laboratories in September 2008. He received a Ph.D. in microbial biochemistry from Indian Institute of Science and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in cell and tumor biology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.
Worzel, who has served as Everist’s CEO since 2006, was instrumental in forming partnerships with several academic institutions, along with the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, to conduct clinical studies validating the company’s patented prognostic technology. Under his guidance, the company also obtained a 21st Century Jobs Fund Award from the State of Michigan and raised more than twice the original amount funded by the state. He formerly served as the Chief Technology Officer at Widevine Technologies, an Internet company based in Seattle, Wash.
Everist’s acquisition of a controlling interest in Angiologix provides the company a promising candidate to add to its prognostics pipeline. The new product, AngioDefender, is a sensor device that measures data related to endothelial function, a key risk indicator for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, to screen patients for preventative therapy. The company plans to launch AngioDefender in Europe and India during the second quarter of 2011 and in the North America during the fourth quarter of 2011.
Everist was a key supporter and early investor in the company.
More at www.everistgenomics.com.