Multiplex testing for infectious disease enables prompt diagnosis and therapy

By: Alan Lenhoff   
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Homi Shamir
President and CEO
Luminex Corporation



Professional:

I joined Luminex Corporation in October 2014. Previously, I served as President and CEO of Given Imaging from 2006 to 2014. Prior to that, I was the Corporate Vice President at Eastman Kodak Company and President of Eastman Kodak´s Transaction and Industrial Solutions Group. I served for more than 10 years at Scitex Corporation, including as its President and CEO from 2003 to 2004.

Education:
I hold a Bachelor of Science from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University.

Personal:
My responsibilities allow me to travel all over the world, so I spend a lot of time visiting employees, customers, and partners. When I am able to take a little time off, I mostly enjoy relaxing and spending time with my family. We’ve lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, and now the United States, so we have developed a wide variety of cultural interests.

How would you characterize Luminex Corporation’s primary areas of expertise? Luminex Corporation develops, manufactures, and markets proprietary biological testing technologies, with applications throughout the life sciences industry. Our mission is to empower companies and laboratories to deliver reliable, timely, and actionable answers, and help providers identify and treat diseases effectively, thereby advancing healthcare.

What are the major categories of solutions that Luminex provides for its customers? As a pioneer in multiplexing, our xMAP Technology has been used by customers since 1999 across a wide range of applications and markets. In fact, xMAP technology-based systems are already in use by leading research laboratories as well as major pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and biotechnology companies. We continue to provide solutions for both clinical diagnostics and research markets with application areas such as infectious diseases, genetics, genomics, and proteomics research.

The company is well-known for its infectious disease multiplex panels, including the recently FDA-cleared NxTAG Respiratory Pathogen Panel. How can this product enhance the offerings of clinical labs? Many commonly encountered respiratory pathogens are difficult to diagnose based on symptoms alone, as they have similar clinical presentation. This presents a problem since clinicians need to be able to accurately identify an illness in a patient in order to effectively define treatment and control the spread of infection.

The NxTAG Respiratory Pathogen Panel enables laboratories to easily and simultaneously detect 20 respiratory pathogens in a single closed tube system, including the atypical bacteria Chlamydophila pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. The panel requires only minutes of hands-on time with no upstream reagent preparation, and has a simplified workflow that allows extracted samples to be added directly to pre-plated, lyophilized reagents. The closed tube format easily scales to accommodate changes in throughput needed to respond to seasonal changes in demand, especially during flu season.

With advantages such as rapid time to results and target masking for panel customization, the NxTAG Respiratory Pathogen Panel offers clear benefits.

ARIES System and ARIES HSV 1&2 Assay were also approved by the FDA last year. What are their key features? There has never been more pressure on clinical laboratories to increase efficiency while improving the overall quality of patient care through the delivery of accurate and timely data. The ARIES platform was designed to streamline workflow and raise the performance bar for all laboratory professionals, no matter how big or small the setting.

The ARIES System is a sample-to-answer molecular diagnostic system designed to increase laboratory efficiency, ensure results accuracy, and fit seamlessly into today’s lean laboratory environment. In order to minimize errors, it uses internal barcode scanning and other advanced features. Two independent modules each support from one to six cassettes, allowing for both STAT and batch testing. Both IVD and MultiCode Analyte Specific Reagents can be run simultaneously with a common Universal Assay Protocol.

Luminex supplies molecular reagents for a number of assays. How do you serve the clinical lab through that segment of your business? Luminex distributes reagents and instruments to exclusive partners spanning a wide range of industries and specialties, including clinical diagnostics. These partners add value to our technology, create powerful, customizable kits, and deliver service and support. They also offer the industry, market, and application expertise necessary to respond to customer needs quickly and effectively.

What are your chief functions as leader of a rapidly expanding biotechnology company? What impact have you had on Luminex since you became president and CEO in October 2014? How has it impacted you? I believe the main priorities of a CEO differ depending on the company’s stage of development. I joined Luminex at a time when its general business model had been established, had more than $200 million in revenue, and was profitable—yet the company’s dominance in multiplex testing technology had waned over the last few years. Therefore, my main focus has been getting Luminex back to that leadership role; making smart resource allocation decisions that prioritize projects to get us back in the role of “industry innovator” and that enable us to regain leadership in the markets we address.

Now in my third position as President and CEO of a publicly traded company, I have learned over the years that my job is like being a conductor of an orchestra. A good conductor will set the tempo, unify performers, and ultimately shape the sound of the ensemble. He or she will know how to get the best out of each instrument, and ensure that each one is synchronized with the rest of the orchestra. Take the violin, for example; it’s my role to ensure that the strength of the violin is harmonized with the rest of the ensemble. Conductors and leaders inspire the highest possible performance from the groups that they lead. I strive to continue to bring out the best in my team to ensure the best results for our customers, employees, and investors.

Multiplex testing for infectious disease enables prompt diagnosis and therapy
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Alan Lenhoff
Has served as Editor and Editorial Director for numerous periodical publications in a career of more than three decades. He has edited classroom periodicals for students, educational and promotional publications for healthcare organizations, program guides and member magazines for educational television, and a variety of publications for professional associations, among others. He holds degrees from Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Chicago. Alan has been editor of MLO since 2011.

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