Pressure BioSciences (OTCQB:PBIO) says it has appointed Dr. Mickey Urdea to its board of directors, filling the vacancy of Wayne Fritzsche, who resigned last week to pursue a full-time management position with the company as it builds out commercially.
Dr. Urdea, who has a 30-year career in human diagnostics through a variety of capacities, will be a Class III board member. His term of office will expire at the 2014 annual meeting of shareholders. In addition to his responsibilities on the board, Dr. Urdea will lead the company's scientific advisory board.
The new board member has been involved in the discovery of new biomarkers, diagnostic test development, manufacturing and marketing.
He founded and is a managing partner for Halteres Associates, a biotechnology consulting firm, and also served as CEO of Tethys Bioscience, a proteomics-based diagnostics company involved in preventative personalized medicine.
Tethys' first product was the protein-based PreDx Diabetes Risk Score Test, which was introduced in 2008.
"Mickey's technical experience, gained from bench scientist to widely-recognized R&D leader spanning multiple successful cutting-edge technologies, will contribute strongly to the selection and development of key markets for our patented pressure cycling technology (PCT) platform," said Pressure BioSciences' chairman, Jeffrey N. Peterson.
"His entrepreneurial success in founding and leading nationally-acclaimed companies in biomarker discovery, personalized medicine, and healthcare strategic consulting will be immensely useful as we continue our aggressive PCT commercialization strategy."
The U.S. company operates in the growing biosample preparation market for life science research, which according to a recent report by AMI Research, was valued at $3.6 billion in 2011 and growing at an average of 18.5% annually through 2016.
In 2012, the company began to aggressively commercialize its patented pressure cycling technology (PCT), which uses rapid and repeating cycles of hydrostatic pressure at controlled temperatures to extract cell components in the preparation of a biological sample - such as DNA, RNA, and proteins from humans, animals and plants - for further study.
Through the second half of the year, the company entered into various distribution agreements and began to build its global brand.
In November, Pressure BioSciences inked a two-way strategic marketing, selling and distribution agreement with UK-based biomedical product provider Constant Systems, with the deal to expand Pressure's international reach into 12 additional countries.
This deal followed three global distribution deals back in the summer, and a deal with biotech services giant Thermo Fisher's (NYSE:TMO) Cole-Parmer unit, which agreed to carry the company's PBI Shredder SG3 system.
The company's PCT platform can also be used in several fields aside from the life sciences arena, with Pressure BioSciencesalready gaining traction in forensic sciences.
Earlier this year, the Florida International University was awarded a near $350,000 grant to improve rape case DNA testing usingPressure BioSciences' PCT platform. The FIU was awarded the grant from the Office of Justice Programs of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The goal of the grant is to develop a faster and more accurate method of processing DNA evidence for rape prosecutions. The PCT technology permits the user to selectively burst open and extract DNA from the perpetrator's sperm cells, while leaving the victim's own cells in the swab sample unbroken.
This new procedure is expected to be complete by the fourth quarter of this year.
Aside from forensics, its PCT-based products can also be used for the key $2 billion target market of mass spectrometry, an analytical technique used to determine the characteristics of molecules, to biomarker discovery, and counter-bioterrorism, among other uses.
"Since being introduced to PCT just three months ago, I have become fascinated with the current applications and extensive future potential uses of this cutting-edge technology platform," said Dr. Urdea in the statement.
"I believe PCT has the potential to gain widespread adoption and become a vital sample preparation tool to research and clinical laboratories worldwide."
Previously, Dr. Urdea was also business head of the molecular diagnostics group and chief scientific officer at Bayer Diagnostics, and was a member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Diagnostic Forum.
He is an author on nearly 200 peer-reviewed scientific publications, nearly 300 abstracts and international scientific presentations, and more than 100 issued and pending patents.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.