/Company/Management Team
Blake Simmons, (Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder):

With 15 years of business management experience related to startup biotechnology companies Blake has an expert understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with the OMICs market. While serving as the Site Leader in Huntsville, AL for Thermo Fisher Scientific, he was responsible for business operations associated with RNAi, cDNA and other large-scale genomic resources. Blake was an integral part of startup Open Biosystems and served as Director of Operations with responsibility for all aspects of development, maintenance, manufacturing and world-wide delivery of genome-scale gene content. Between 1996 and 2002 Blake worked at Research Genetics (acquired by Invitrogen in 2000) where he managed the manufacturing and distribution of genomic research tools, including the world’s largest collection of cDNA clones. Blake received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Gwen D. Fewell, PhD, (Chief Commercial Officer and Co-Founder):

Gwen has over 10 years experience in startup and biotechnology companies in the life science research market and is a domain expert in both the technologies and market dynamics. Most recently, Gwen led global product marketing of the RNAi and Gene Expression portfolio at Thermo Scientific Genomics. Prior to the acquisition of Open Biosystems, Gwen was Director of Product Marketing. Her responsibilities included oversight of product management and marketing teams with responsibility for commercializing several new products, including the first vector-based RNAi whole genome product on the market. Prior to Open Biosystems, Gwen was a senior scientist at Sigma Genosys in the gene expression analysis division. Gwen earned a PhD as a Neuroscience fellow at Florida State University and performed postdoctoral studies at Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati exploring the genetic role of homeobox genes in brain development and later worked on the genetics of pediatric medulloblastomas in the Department of NeuroOncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX.

Rusla Du Breuil, PhD, (Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder):

Rusla is a senior scientific professional with 25 years of research experience spanning both academic and commercial entities, specializing in OMICs technology development and associated intellectual property. Rusla most recently was Associate Director of R&D at Thermo Fisher Scientific and successfully completed the development of several new products that contributed to the growth of the gene modulation portfolio. Previously, Rusla worked as a research scientist at startup Open Biosystems and later had responsibilities for scientific collaborations with academic and commercial partners, as well as directing the R&D team. Prior to Open Biosystems, Rusla worked as a scientist at Research Genetics, developing high throughput methodologies for the screening of molecular lesions. Rusla started her career in the molecular diagnostics of leukemias and lymphomas, developing high-throughput screening techniques for molecular diagnostics. Rusla has a PhD in Molecular Medicine from University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.