LAWRENCE, Kan. and DUBLIN, Ireland, July 26 /PRNewswire/ -- IdentiGEN Ltd., a leading provider of DNA-based solutions to the agriculture and food industries in Europe, today announced the formation of a new subsidiary, IdentiGEN North America, Inc., and the hiring of Donald R. Marvin as president and chief executive officer. The new company will focus on the North American commercialization of IdentiGEN's proprietary TraceBack(TM) DNA tracking system, which enables guaranteed verification of the source of meat products throughout the entire chain of production -- from the animal of origin up through the producer, meat packer, food retailer and right to the consumer's plate. The TraceBack system is practical and cost effective, requiring few changes in current handling or processing procedures, and it has been successfully commercialized in Ireland and other countries in Europe. IdentiGEN is now bringing its system to the U.S. and Canada, to help ensure the safety and quality of the $80 billion North American market for beef and pork.
The capability to identify and trace the exact source of meat products through the entire supply chain provides important potential benefits from public health, economic and consumer perspectives, and would be particularly valuable in the event of any challenges to the safety of the meat supply from communicable disease outbreaks. Moreover, meat traceability enables processors and retailers to ensure the accuracy of the products they deliver, including specialty meat products such as premium, organic, kosher or halal products. In Europe, consumers have already demonstrated their preference for TraceBack-guaranteed and branded beef and pork.
Donald Marvin, the new company's president and chief executive officer, has been a biotechnology entrepreneur and leader in the commercialization of new life sciences diagnostic and research technologies and products for more than 25 years. He is currently president and CEO of Cairn Associates Inc., a life sciences strategy consulting and investment firm.
"Our DNA-based TraceBack system offers producers, packers and retailers the first proven, practical and affordable means to trace the origin of meat back through the supply chain in the event of a disease outbreak or for any other concern, and we are proud now to be able to introduce this service into North America," said Patrick Cunningham, Ph.D., chairman of IdentiGEN Ltd. "We are especially pleased that our North American expansion will be led by Don Marvin, a life sciences executive with extensive experience in starting and growing entrepreneurial companies, who will direct our efforts to bring the benefits of our innovative identification system to the vast market for beef and pork in North America."
As an identifier, DNA is unique, accurate, permanent and tamper-proof. The TraceBack system is based on the analysis of individual DNA samples from each animal, similar to the use of DNA for forensic identification of humans. The company's technology, which was designed by researchers and population geneticists from Trinity College in Dublin, combines high-throughput, low cost DNA analysis with a carefully selected and validated panel of genetic markers -- single nucleotide polymorphisms (or SNPs) -- as identifiers. IdentiGEN has also developed proprietary DNA collection and analysis methods that simplify the entire process so that the TraceBack system can be easily implemented throughout the existing production and supply infrastructure. The DNA-based system enables identification of an animal, or products from that animal, at every stage of the supply chain; IdentiGEN has also developed proprietary techniques to enable identification of the origin of products containing meat from multiple animals, such as ground beef.
"The value that consumers place on IdentiGEN's unique and cost effective ability to help guarantee the origin and safety of the meat they buy has been demonstrated in Europe, where the TraceBack system has been operational since 2000," said Mr. Marvin. "My past experience in the human DNA identity and genetic variability testing business has given me a first-hand appreciation of the power of 'nature's bar code', and I believe that our DNA-based TraceBack system offers a solution of unparalleled accuracy, simplicity and practicality that will enhance the safety and quality of our food supply and provide tangible benefits to the producers, sellers and consumers of meat products."
Before founding Cairn Associates, Mr. Marvin was a co-founder of Nasdaq-traded Orchid BioSciences, a pioneer in human DNA identity testing, where he served as its chief operating officer, chief financial officer and senior vice president of corporate development. Previously, Mr. Marvin was president and CEO of Diatron Corporation, a biomedical company developing fluorescence-based instrument systems for the clinical diagnostics industry. His prior experience includes strategic planning, business development, technical administration and operations at PepsiCo, Abbott Laboratories and Bayer AG, as well as domestic and international marketing and sales for the clinical diagnostics subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim. Mr. Marvin is an experienced fund-raiser, having completed private and public financings that have raised over $250 million for his companies.
Mr. Marvin currently serves on the Board of Directors of Tepnel Life Sciences PLC and Melior Discovery, Inc., and also participates in several angel investment groups. He received his B.S. degree from Ohio State University and his M.B.A. from Iona College.
IdentiGEN Ltd., a privately-held venture-backed company, is a leading provider of DNA-based solutions to the agriculture and food industries. The company was founded as a spin-out from the Institute of Genetics, Trinity College, and is built on a tradition of research excellence. The company's core area of expertise, genetic identification, is being deployed in a variety of ways to enhance consumer confidence in the safety and quality of food products. Through IdentiGEN's patented DNA-based TraceBack system, retailers, meat processors, producers and local governments, for the first time, have the tools to unequivocally trace the identity of meat back to its source. This capability has been shown to help reassure consumers as to the safety and quality of their meat products, while providing supply chain participants with a powerful technique to differentiate their product offerings. The TraceBack system has been successfully commercialized in Ireland and other European countries since 2000. IdentiGEN is also a major provider of BSE (or "mad cow disease") and GMO (or genetically-modified organism) testing services in Europe. Additional information on IdentiGEN Ltd. can be found at http://www.identigen.com.
IdentiGEN North America, Inc. GendeLLindheim BioCom Partners
Donald R. Marvin Barbara Lindheim & Stephen Gendel
President and CEO +1 212 918-4650
+1 785 856-8800
Ronan Loftus, Ph.D.
Business Development Director
+353 (1) 648 8362