• Professional appointments support strategic growth
    Gavin Burns
  • Vincent Smith
  • Jessica Rich

Company News

Professional appointments support strategic growth

Jan 18 2024

Genomics company Broken String Biosciences has appointed Gavin Burns, PhD, as Vice President of Quality and Operations with responsibility for building and optimising Broken String’s teams, processes and systems required to develop and scale its Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)-based DNA break-mapping platform technology in support of gene-editing applications.

He brings over 20 years’ experience in research, operations, and quality assurance from across the genomics sector, including as former Associate Director of Quality at Illumina, providing set-up and operations support for the accredited Illumina Laboratory Services in the UK, the provider of sequencing services for the successful NHS/Genomics England 100,000-genome project. He has also held senior quality and operational roles at several UK-based start-ups, most recently serving as Director of Quality and Operations at Biocrucible.. He holds a PhD in Genomics from the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge and Gothenburg University, Sweden.

Felix Dobbs, PhD, Chief Executive Officer at Broken String commented: "Gavin’s expertise in quality strategy and implementing robust processes will be key to executing our growth plans as part of our Series A goals. As well as supporting scale-up operations in these areas, Gavin will ensure that our INDUCE-seq platform meets the quality needs of our partners who are developing the next generation of transformative gene editing therapies. We are thrilled to have Gavin on board as we build towards a future where gene editing therapies can be safely delivered to all who need it.”

Prior to Gavin’s appointment the company also announced two senior appointments with the addition of Chief Technology Officer Vincent Smith PhD and Jessica Rich, VP Business Development. Vince will lead product development, providing leadership and the expertise required to build the INDUCE-seq technology into a gold standard for the assessment of off-target effects during gene editing. Based in Boston, MA, Jessica is Broken String’s first US hire, expanding the Company into this key market. Jessica will oversee the development of commercialisation strategy, enabling the Company to capitalise on early commercial traction and accelerate growth across the US, Europe and Asia.

Having held executive-level positions at Base Genomics and Exact Sciences Innovation, Vince began his career in genomics at Solexa, as one of the primary scientists contributing to the chemistry underpinning Illumina sequencing. As VP of Consumable Development at Illumina, he led a global team developing assays and consumables for industry leading NGS platforms.He holds an MA from Oxford University and a PhD from Imperial College London, both in Biochemistry.

With over 20 years in the life sciences industry, Jessica has held several senior leadership roles, including Senior Director of Sales and Regional Marketing at Bionano, Senior Director of Commercial Development at Synthego and Chief Commercial Officer at 54gene. She was also part of Illumina’s commercial team for 8 years, where she was pivotal in the expansion of microarray products into new markets and applications.

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