Gentris Corporation, a global leader in applied clinical pharmacogenomics, announced today that Rick Williams has joined the organization as chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors. In his role as CEO of Gentris, Williams will ensure that the company’s scientific leadership continues to provide biotechnology and pharmaceutical sponsors with the benefits of cutting-edge advancements in individual patient response and biomarker utilization. As genomics, expression studies, and other clinical protocols are further integrated into drug development and medical practice, Gentris plans to expand its capabilities to meet the growing worldwide needs of clients and partners.
“Rick is recognized internationally as a dynamic and exceedingly capable leader. On behalf of Gentris, I am particularly pleased to welcome Rick to this vital role for Gentris,” said Sam Tetlow, chairman of the board of Gentris Corporation. “It is a testament to his background, and to the organizations and individuals he has worked with previously, that Rick brings a world-class set of values and capabilities to the company. Gentris has built a strong foundation and with Rick’s leadership and external focus the company is well positioned to accelerate its contribution to medicine and patient care.”
Entering its second decade, Gentris collaborates with leading bio/pharma companies and academic researchers to ensure the successful clinical application of new advances in pharmacogenomics. Gentris works with customers to create biomarker assays, define patient-responder recruitment criteria, and design protocols with improved end-points while reducing clinical trial costs and enhancing the probability of commercial success. For example, Gentris validated IL28B as a novel biomarker to measure efficacy responses in new hepatitis C therapies.
“We are proud of the scientific, regulatory, and business accomplishments that Gentris has achieved during its first decade,” said COO Dawn Bordeaux and CSO Scott Clark. “We look forward to new growth opportunities as Rick Williams assumes the position of chief executive officer.”
Williams is an experienced executive who has been involved with a number of successful for-profit ventures (Merck, Genentech, Amerisource Bergen, and CellzDirect-Invitrogen) and non-profit organizations (The Hamner Institutes at RTP and North Carolina Biotechnology Center). Early in his career, as Genentech’s director of marketing and health economics, Williams helped to introduce biotechnology to the US medical community and build the initial commercial platform at Genentech.
“Genentech’s success with Herceptin for breast cancer launched a new era in pharmacogenomics. Today, more drug treatments are being developed to generate the right response in the right patient using biomarkers that are increasingly being incorporated into the decision-making process,” said Rick Williams, CEO of Gentris Corporation. “I am confident that Gentris will play a more prominent role as individualized medicine becomes a global standard of care in the 21st century.”
During the past three years at The Hamner Institutes, Williams set up international academic partnerships, an Accelerator, and the Hamner-China Biosciences Center. Additionally, he helped to establish the Hamner-University of North Carolina Institute for Drug Safety Sciences as well as the Drug Discovery Center of Innovation, a virtual drug-discovery network funded by a $2.5m grant from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
Williams is active in community service, serving as an advisor for Gov. Beverly Perdue’s China Council and North Carolina State University’s School of Management as well as special programs for the Council for Entrepreneurial Development. He is a member of the board of directors for the North Carolina China Center and the Drug Discovery Center of Innovation.