Management and Key Personnel

photo of Ron Helm

Ronald Helm, JD

Chief Executive Officer

Ronald Helm became the CEO and principal owner of Pacific Biomarkers in September of 2011 in the transition that made Pacific Biomarkers a privately held company. Mr. Helm had become chairman and CEO of Pacific Biometrics, Inc. in August of 2002. In 2009, the name of the company was changed to Pacific Biomarkers.

Mr. Helm is a co-founder of Saigene Corporation and served as Chairman and CEO until July of 2002. Prior to forming Saigene in 1996, Mr. Helm was Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of a biotech company in Southern California and has held senior management positions in the industry since 1992.

For nearly nine years, Mr. Helm served as the Associate Dean for Development and Professor of Law at Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California and following that, was the Senior Vice-President and General Counsel of ComputerLand Corporation, which became Vanstar Corporation (a NYSE company). Mr. Helm went on to found the California law firm of Helm Purcell and Wakeman, where he remained "of counsel" until 2000. He also served as a Managing Director of ComputerLand Europe, an independent private company with 130 retail outlets in 15 countries. Mr. Helm is a member of the Bar of California State and the United States Supreme Court.

photo of Elizabeth Teng Leary

Elizabeth Teng Leary, PhD, DABCC

Co-founder and Sr. Scientific Advisor

Dr. Leary, co-founded Pacific Biometrics, Inc. (Pacific Biomarkers) and Pacific Biometrics Research Foundation (PBRF) in l989. She served as the Vice President of Laboratory Services until the spring of 2000 when she became Chief Scientific Officer. As the Pacific Biomarkers Laboratory's Chief Science Officer, Dr. Leary lends her expertise within the company and consults actively for the diagnostic and pharmaceutical industries. Her areas of focus are in laboratory support of clinical trials and product research in cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and diabetes.

Dr. Leary served as a director of clinical chemistry and industry consultant for 13 years prior to joining Pacific Biometrics, Inc. Dr. Leary received her degrees in Biochemistry from University of California at Berkeley and Purdue University. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry. Dr. Leary is the director of the CDC Cholesterol Reference Network Laboratory at PBRF (one of ten in the world). She is past chair of the Pacific Northwest chapter of American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) and the Lipids and Vascular Diseases Division of AACC, and past president of the North American Chinese Clinical Chemists Association. She has published over 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals and books, and is a recipient of several grants and awards.

photo of Amar Sethi

Amar A. Sethi, MD, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Sethi earned his M.D. in 1996 from the University of Copenhagen, School of Medicine, Denmark and Ph.D. in 2003. The title of the studies leading to this degree was “Common Mutations in the Angiotensinogen Gene and Risk of Elevated Blood Pressure, Ischemic Heart Disease and Ischemic Cerebrovascular Disease” from the same institution. In 2005 Dr. Sethi completed a 7-year training programme to become board certified in Chemical Pathology by the National Board of Health, Denmark.

During this time Dr. Sethi held multiple positions on the senior clinical staffs of various departments including Clinical Biochemistry and Clinical Cardiology at Copenhagen University Hospital. In 2005 Dr. Sethi entered a postdoctoral position at the Lipoprotein Metabolism Section of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Pulmonary and Vascular Medicine Branch at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland, USA. More recently he was in charge of the Immunology section at the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Center at the NIH.

Dr. Sethi’s research has focused on the identification and characterization of mutations affecting atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases, and, more recently, on cholesterol metabolism, with special emphasis on the function of HDL in the reverse cholesterol transport pathway and development of HDL raising therapies, including the study of apolipoprotein-AI mimetic peptides in animal models of atherosclerosis.

Currently, Dr. Sethi is focusing on the development of novel and innovative biomarkers to elucidate the role of HDL function in patients with ischemic heart disease. Dr. Sethi holds numerous awards, honors, and grants both in Denmark (The Danish Medical Research Council) and in the US (National Institutes of Health). He has years of experience as lecturer at the University of Copenhagen, School of Medicine. He has also served as an ad hoc reviewer for multiple international peer-reviewed journals, presented extensively at international scientific meetings, and has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and books.

photo of Michael Murphy

Michael Murphy, PhD, DABCC

Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Murphy became Senior Vice-President, Operations of Pacific Biometrics, Inc. in May of 2005. He also served as Director of Laboratory Services from 1998 -1999 before returning to the commercial clinical diagnostic laboratory industry.

As Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Murphy manages all aspects of the Pacific Biomarkers service business including laboratory operations, client and information services, and quality assurance. Dr. Murphy also works closely with other members of the Pacific Biomarkers senior management team to help grow the service business.

Dr. Murphy brings more than 20 years of laboratory experience to Pacific Biomarkers. His experience includes various environments such as clinical diagnostic, commercial reference, and clinical trial and research laboratories. Dr. Murphy has served in administrative and technical directing capacities in all of these settings. He has also served as a principle investigator in several research and diagnostic studies. His areas of expertise include technical and administrative laboratory operations, method standardization and quality assurance, laboratory consultation and support, information systems and laboratory automation. Research and clinical areas of interest include diabetes, infectious diseases, cardiovascular and oncology testing. Dr. Murphy received his B.S. from Xavier University and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Chemistry.

photo of John Jensen

John P. Jensen

Vice President and Controller

John Jensen became Controller for Pacific Biometrics, Inc. in 2005.

As Controller, Mr. Jensen is in charge of preparation of all financial reports that summarize the organization‘s financial position, such as income statements, balance sheets, and budgets. He manages the preparation of special reports required by regulatory authorities as well as oversees the accounting department, banking, cash management, risk management, and the annual audit.

Mr. Jensen has a strong background in financial management with over twenty five years experience in a variety of sectors including manufacturing, professional service, and retail medical supplies. He has broadened his skill sets beyond the financial role and held senior management positions including Director of Operations for Seattle Lab and Vice President of Operations for Utility Inc.

Mr. Jensen received his Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration with a Minor in Mathematics at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington. He also serves the community as chair of the Planning Policy Commission for the City of Issaquah and is a member of the King County Metro Transit Advisory Committee.

photo of Maribeth Raines

Maribeth Raines, PhD

Vice President of Laboratory Services

Dr. Raines became Vice President of Laboratory Services in June 2012 and manages the Laboratory Operations, Clinical Biomarkers, and Research and Development Groups at Pacific Biomarkers.

Dr. Raines is biochemist with a broad-based background in a variety of areas but especially in oncology, inflammation, and virology as well as in biomarker discovery, development and commercialization. Prior to joining Pacific Biomarkers, Dr. Raines served as Director of Scientific Affairs for Quest Diagnostics Clinical Trials where she helped establish biomarker, anatomic pathology, and flow cytometry testing for clinical trials and drug development. She was also responsible for building strategic alliances in emerging markets, standardizing processes, and harmonizing test results among multiple laboratories for global biomarker deployment. Dr. Raines also has in vitro diagnostic (GMP) experience having served as Director of Research and Development for Nichols Institute Diagnostics. Prior to joining Quest, she served as Director of Research and Development at Biosource/Invitrogen where she was responsible for new product development and manufacturing of reagents and assays for use in drug discovery, functional proteomics, and biomedical research. Dr. Raines was also an Assistant Professor at the UCLA School of Medicine in the Department of Radiation Oncology where she ran an NIH/NCI funded independent research laboratory involved in cytokine and growth factor receptor signal transduction. She has served as participating faculty for UCLA’s NIH funded Tumor Cell Biology Program and Breast Cancer Training Programs.

Dr. Raines received her PhD in Biochemistry from Michigan State University and completed her postdoctoral training in Hematology Oncology Departments at both UCLA and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Her PhD thesis on the oncogenic activation of c-erbB was instrumental to our current understanding of the EGF receptor and its role in cancer.

photo of Tonya Aggoune

Tonya K. Aggoune

Director of Project Services

Ms. Aggoune is the Director of Project Services which includes responsibility for the Project Management, Data Management, and IT Departments of Pacific Biomarkers. She joined the company in 1997 as the Manager of Information Systems, which included the data management and information technology functions. In 2000, she also became responsible for the Project Management Department (then known as Client Services).

Since joining Pacific Biomarkers as the head of Information Systems, Ms. Aggoune has been responsible for information technology (IT), computer operations, and the Laboratory Information Systems database. She is also the principle liaison between Pacific Biomarkers and client Data Management personnel to develop requirements for reporting, data transfer, and other custom database applications for pharmaceutical and diagnostic studies. Pacific Biomarkers recognizes the benefit of a close relationship between project management and data management in a company whose product is information (laboratory data); thus Ms. Aggoune became responsible for heading the Project Management Department in 2000. This team oversees project management of our pharmaceutical and diagnostic/referral studies. The team is responsible for coordinating the laboratory services needed to meet the sponsor's study requirements and serves as the principle liaison between the sponsor's project management and Pacific Biomarkers.

Ms. Aggoune has a BA in Biological Sciences and BS in Electrical Engineering. Her background includes extensive experience as a systems engineer in aerospace research and laboratory information systems in the Health Care industry. As an engineer at Boeing Aerospace, she designed and developed prototypes for computer based training systems, paper-less maintenance systems, and command/control/communication systems. She later joined National Health Laboratories (later became Labcorp) as Assistant Manager of Information Systems where she was able to bring together her experience with computer systems/software and her background in biological sciences.

photo of Timothy Carlson

Timothy Carlson, PhD, RD, NRCC

Senior Director of Laboratory Services and Biomarker Innovation

Dr. Carlson joined Pacific Biometrics in 1998 as a Senior Scientist. He was promoted to the position of Laboratory Director in May of 2000 and is is responsible for the scientific and technical integrity of laboratory procedures and policies. He also serves as a science and technical consultant to internal and external Pacific Biomarkers clients.

Dr. Carlson has broad training and experience in basic and clinical sciences. He has received grant research awards from the National Institutes of Health, American Blood Systems Research Foundation , American Association of Blood Banks, and the American Heart Association. Dr. Carlson has published more than 75 research papers, chapters, and abstracts in the areas of nutrition, chronic disease, and hemostasis. He is a registered clinical chemist and dietitian, and holds a PhD in Biochemistry.

He has completed his post doctorates in Protein Chemistry and in Clinical Chemistry. He was a Fogherty International Scholar at the University of Lund in Malö, Sweden. Dr. Carlson served on the American Association for Clinical Chemistry Abstract Review Committee, as the Editor of The Nutrition Forum, on the newsletter of the Nutrition Division of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry Nutrition, and as Secretary for the Lipoproteins and Vascular Disease Division of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry.

photo of Dora Schranz

Dorota Schranz, PhD

Director of Scientific Affairs

Dr. Schranz joined our company in February 2005 as a Senior Scientist. From February 2009 she was directing the R&D group and was responsible for development, evaluation, and validation of methods, including technology transfers for routine and research use at Pacific Biomarkers.

As Director of Scientific Affairs, Dr. Schranz provides scientific and technical consultation to customers regarding implementation of new clinical tests and laboratory technology, and recommendations for pharmaceutical clients on test selection in clinical study protocols. With her in-depth knowledge of scientific aspects of clinical laboratory testing, she serves as a liaison between Research & Development and Business Development groups at Pacific Biomarkers, ensuring the scientific validity and high quality of services.

Dr. Schranz has 20 years of experience in both basic and clinical research with expertise in clinical biochemistry, endocrinology and immunology. Her academic research focused on understanding the etiology of diabetes mellitus and assay development for early diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. She has published research articles, chapters and abstracts primarily in the area of diabetes and development of diagnostic assays. She holds a Ph.D. in Immunochemistry and Masters Degree in Clinical Chemistry. Prior to joining Pacific Biomarkers, Dr. Schranz completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Washington, and a fellowship in Clinical Chemistry. She was awarded a Juvenile Diabetes Foundation research grant.

photo of Dave Swezey

Dave Swezey

Director of Laboratory Operations

David Swezey became the Director of Laboratory Operations in 2009. In this role, he oversees all of the analytical testing services in the main laboratory at Pacific Biomarkers. His position works closely with both the Science & Technology and Quality Assurance departments. A key component of his responsibilities includes employing engineering principles to improve laboratory processes and procedures at the pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical phases of testing. His 15 years of experience in working with laboratory robotics is applied in streamlining complex testing in the Laboratory. He is also responsible for the training program for new Laboratory employees.

David joined the company in 1997 as the Technical Supervisor in the Laboratory and moved into the position of Quality Assurance Manager in 2000. David received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. He then earned his license as a Registered Medical Technologist through an internship at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, California in 1979. After his internship he served as Chemistry Supervisor at Medical Group Pathology Laboratory until 1990, when he moved to the Seattle area and served as the Night Laboratory Manager for Laboratory Corporation of America in Kent, Washington until 1997.

photo of Jason Ray

Jason Ray

Quality Assurance Manager and Safety Officer

Jason Ray became the Quality Assurance Manager for Pacific Biomarkers Inc in 2009 after working in the department and as the Quality Assurance Supervisor for several years. As the Quality Assurance Manager, Jason leads the Quality Assurance department’s efforts to ensure the company’s quality objectives and regulatory requirements are met, as well as manage the document control system, internal audits, and regulatory and client audits. Additionally, Jason functions as the Safety Officer for Pacific Biomarkers Inc. and is responsible for ensuring safety compliance, injury investigation, and training.

Jason’s background includes 16 years of progressive responsibility and leadership roles throughout the industry including medical device, pharmaceutical, and diagnostic companies. Jason received his Bachelors of Science in Biology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Prior to joining Pacific Biomarkers in 2003, Jason developed a strong assay development background starting out as a QC technician at a medical device company, and continued to advanced to a position of Research Associate IV at a molecular diagnostic company where he designed and developed custom assays for clients ranging from the health, veterinary, and environmental fields. Jason owned and operated a small manufacturing business for 10 years supporting molecular research at university, governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations, and additionally has consulted for the diagnostic industry in the capacity of technical assay development, product development and launch, as well as manufacturing.

photo of Edwin Merrifield

Edwin Merrifield, PhD

Consulting Sr. Scientist

Dr. Merrifield joined Pacific Biometrics in January 2007 as a Senior Scientist. He was promoted to the position of Director, Biomarker Technical Operations in November of 2007 and is responsible for the technical direction and provision of client support for Clinical Biomarker Services. Dr Merrifield is also responsible for the establishment of a Bio-analytical laboratory within Pacific Biomarkers to support the needs of Bio-pharma companies in the areas of cell based assays, Western Blot and In-Cell Western analysis, LC/MS/MS and immunogenicity testing.

Dr. Merrifield has more than 25 years experience in the biotechnology industry, with a particular focus on GMP process development, GLP laboratory operations, technical transfer of processes and analytical methods, and assay development for biologic drugs. Dr Merrifield has published more than 25 research papers, chapters and abstracts in the areas of polysaccharide, glyco-conjugate and bio-similar analysis. He holds Ph.D in Carbohydrate Chemistry and completed two years of post doctoral study at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC where he was awarded a Killam Fellowship for the study period.

photo of Ken Waters

Ken Waters, JD

Director of Strategic Planning

Mr. Waters became the Director of Strategic Planning for Pacific Biometrics in September 2002. His primary focus is to assist the Company with corporate and strategic partnering activities.

Mr. Waters has also established his own business and legal consulting practice associating with several well-known firms. His clients have included AT&T, Williams-Sonoma, Commodore International, CMS Enhancements Inc., ComputerLand, Power Up Software, Peerless Systems Corporation, and CelluLand. Mr. Waters has specialized in the computer industry, corporate turnarounds, restructuring, and providing advice in the franchise field. He has had experience in manufacturing, retail, and distribution in companies of varying sizes. He has associated himself in the past with Frank Lynn & Associates in Chicago, and with Grisanti, Gaileff, and Goldreff.

Mr. Waters is the former CEO of ComputerLand Corporation, President of Power-Up Software, and President of Microage Corporation. During his tenure at ComputerLand, the company became the world's largest retail computer company with over 800 stores worldwide. At the time he was President, Microage Corporation was the largest public company headquartered in Arizona. Mr. Waters has a BA in Political Science/History and is a member of the California Bar Association. He was rated one of the Top 25 most influential executives in the computer industry by the Computer Reseller News for 1987 and 1988.