WORCESTER, Mass., Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Verax Biomedical, Inc., a leading developer of rapid tests for detecting bacterial contaminants found in blood cells and tissue, has announced the appointment of James Koziarz, Ph.D. of Highland Park, Illinois, to its board of directors. Previously, he was corporate vice president, hepatitis/retrovirus research and development and assay technical support for Abbott Laboratories.
Dr. Koziarz has extensive senior management experience in research and development, marketing, and quality control in the area of diagnostic assays, with particular expertise in blood transfusion screening and new technology evaluation. During his distinguished 24-year career at Abbott Laboratories, he held numerous high level R&D and management posts, including corporate vice president for diagnostic products research and development, prior to his retirement in 2004.
Prior to joining Abbott in 1980, Dr. Koziarz was a postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry at the University of Chicago. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from DePaul University, a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Chicago, and won a National Research Service Award as a post- doctoral fellow. Currently, he is a candidate for a master's degree in liberal arts at the University of Chicago.
"Jim Koziarz is one of the most highly admired and respected executives and researchers in the diagnostics field today and his expertise will be invaluable as we transition Verax from R&D to commercialization," said Jim Lousararian, CEO of Verax Biomedical. "His appointment to our Board of Directors is indicative of the high level of excitement and anticipation in the blood safety community for our Verax Platelet PGD test, which is currently in clinical trials."
The Platelet PGD Test is an easy-to-use, disposable device designed to detect the presence of a broad range of bacterial contaminants in platelets just prior to transfusion. Bacterial contamination in platelets and red blood cells represents the single greatest risk for lethal infections in transfusion medicine today. An estimated 10 million platelet units are transfused each year into patients in North America, Europe and Asia, and experts estimate that as many as 1 in every 2,000 units could be contaminated with bacteria.
To combat the risk of bacterial contamination, the American Association of Blood Banks requires all of its members to detect and limit contamination in platelets. Current culture testing methods miss at least half of all bacterial contaminations and take up to three days before results are available. In comparison, the Verax Platelet PGD Test is designed to produce results in less than 30 minutes, and targets all species of bacteria known to cause diseases in humans.
About Verax Biomedical, Inc.
Based in Worcester, Mass., Verax Biomedical (www.veraxbiomedical.com) is a leader in the development of rapid tests designed to detect a broad range of bacterial contaminants based upon its proprietary Pan Genera Detection (PGD) technology. The first target application for its technology is to test for the presence of bacterial contaminants in the blood supply. Bacterial contaminants in platelets and red blood cells represent the greatest lethal infectious risks in transfusion medicine today, and no rapid, simple methods are presently available to effectively address this threat. Over 17 million patients receive in excess of 60 million units of these individual blood components annually in North America, Europe and Asia.
CONTACT: Sam Everett
Verax Biomedical, Inc.