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Verax Biomedical, Incorporated Appoints Scott McKenzie and Nancy Hornbaker



5/9/2007 10:46:30 AM

WORCESTER, Mass., May 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Verax Biomedical, Inc., a leading developer of rapid tests for detecting bacterial contaminants found in blood cells and tissue, has announced two key executive appointments: R. Scott McKenzie as senior vice president of operations, and Nancy Hornbaker as vice president of regulatory affairs.

Prior to joining Verax, McKenzie was site director of the Abbott Diagnostics immunoassay manufacturing facility in Longford, Ireland, where he took the site from green field to operational status in 19 months and supervised the hiring and training of 340 employees. Previously, he was divisional vice president of Abbott Diagnostics/ Abbott Molecular and vice president for Vysis, Inc., both of Downer's Grove, Ill. Earlier, McKenzie held posts with ATC Diagnostics, Inc. and GENE-TRAK Systems, both of Framingham, Mass. and SCOTT Laboratories, Inc. of West Warwick, R.I. He began his career at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass. and earned a B.S. from MIT and an M.S. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Before joining Verax, Hornbaker was a regulatory consultant for Biologics Consulting Group and has advised Verax in regulatory affairs since 2002. Previously, she was director of regulatory and clinical affairs for Bayer Diagnostics and held similar positions at Chiron Diagnostics and Baxter Diagnostics. Earlier, she held a regulatory position at Abbott laboratories. Hornbaker is experienced in all facets of clinical trial coordination and regulatory submissions and also has direct experience with blood testing products. She earned a B.A. from Kalamazoo College and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

"Both Scott McKenzie and Nancy Hornbaker have strong track records in areas of key importance to us right now," said Jim Lousararian, CEO of Verax Biomedical. "Scott's operational skills in Ireland will help tremendously as we ramp up production of the Verax Platelet PGD to more than 60 million units over the coming years with our manufacturing partner, British Biocell International."

"Nancy Hornbaker's expertise will be invaluable as we conclude clinical trials and prepare regulatory submissions to the FDA and similar organizations abroad and her experience in blood testing products is a real plus," Lousararian continued.

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 disease in humans.

About Verax Biomedical, Inc.

Based in Worcester, Mass., Verax Biomedical (http://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.

Verax Biomedical, Inc.

CONTACT: Sam Everett, +1-508-795-0535, severett@rdwgroup.com, for VeraxBiomedical, Inc.


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