WESTBOROUGH, Mass., June 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- GenomeQuest Inc. today announced it has appointed Gerry A. Higgins, Ph.D., a nationally recognized scientist and pioneer in genomics research, as the company's first Healthcare Innovation Officer. In his new role, Dr. Higgins will focus on applying the company's proprietary technology to the development of whole genome and multi-gene diagnostics for the medical community, working closely with clinicians at hospitals and academic research centers, and partnering with commercial laboratories and pharmaceutical companies.
"A major challenge of pushing whole genome diagnostics beyond the research project stage and toward a routine test to be used by laboratories and hospitals is how to manage and interpret massive volumes of gene sequence data," Dr. Higgins said. "I joined GenomeQuest because they offer the technology to make whole genome diagnostics available to patients today - not 10 years from now."
Dr. Higgins brings a wealth of relevant knowledge and experience in the corporate, federal and academic sectors to help fortify GenomeQuest's position as the global leader in sequence data management. Most recently, Dr. Higgins was lead author of a report from the National Institutes of Health titled Information Technology Assessment Report and Strategic Roadmap on Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology. The report addresses how NIH can help advance personalized medicine to the clinic. He also has served as vice president for Hoffmann-La Roche Pharmaceuticals, helping integrate personalized medicine into the company's product line. Previously, he was director of clinical informatics and chief innovation officer for MedStar Health, a large ten hospital network, where he focused on the integration of genomics into electronic health records. In 2001, Dr. Higgins founded and raised financing for a start-up company, SimQuest, a Silver Spring, Maryland company that focused on biomedical informatics, medical modeling and simulation. After selling the company to Laerdal Medical Corporation, he went on to serve as US vice president of R&D.
Dr. Higgins has obtained more than $65 million in grants, contracts and corporate funding for research and development projects, and he has authored more than 330 peer-reviewed publications, books and technical monographs. Additionally, he has authored more than 15 research roadmaps in biomedical informatics, biomarker databases, medical simulation and advanced learning technologies for both federal research and non-profit organizations.
"Gerry is a critical hire for us as we advance our company into the rapidly-advancing whole genome diagnostics market," said GenomeQuest Chief Executive Officer Richard Resnick. "His knowledge and experience at the intersection of clinical care and bioinformatics will be instrumental in making us the go-to company for delivering diagnostics at multi-gene and whole genome scales."
GenomeQuest, the global leader in sequence data management, helps life science organizations realize the full promise of genomics. The core technology of the company is the GQ-Engine-a sequence database engine that is purpose-built for storing, managing and analyzing sequence data at whole- and multi-genome scale. GenomeQuest serves nine of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies and is a research standard at Syngenta, Biogemma and other leading agricultural companies. Learn more at www.genomequest.com.