Genomics pioneer takes top technology role at Inivata


Inivata, a Cambridge UK leader in liquid biopsy, has hired a genomics thought leader as chief technology officer.

Dr Alan Schafer will spearhead the development of Inivata’s leading InVision® liquid biopsy technology platform and new product development.

He has over 25 years of genetics and molecular diagnostics experience. He was previously CEO of 14M Genomics, a cancer molecular diagnostics company and prior to that served as CEO of Population Genetics Technologies, a business specialising in infectious disease diagnostics and next-generation sequencing technologies.

Earlier roles include those of Global VP Technology Development at GlaxoSmithKline and VP Genetics at Incyte. More recently, Dr Schafer has worked as an independent consultant for the biotechnology industry, academia and the investment community, offering his expertise in genomic and biology technologies with a particular focus on the interface between science, technology and business. 

He holds a PhD from the University of Southern California and has authored numerous publications in the molecular genetics field.

Clive Morris, chief executive officer of Inivata, said: “Alan’s appointment to the leadership team reflects our commitment to continuing to advance our cutting-edge liquid biopsy technology platform. 

“He brings a wealth of experience in molecular diagnostics which will help to ensure that we remain at the forefront of innovation in the space as we drive our platform closer to patients in need.”

Schafer added: “Inivata’s pioneering technology offers the potential to transform the lives of cancer patients and it is a very exciting time to join the company as it rolls out the RaDaR™ assay for the detection of residual disease and recurrence. 

“This is clearly a key area of focus for potential biopharma partners and I look forward to working with the rest of the executive team to drive forward Inivata’s strategy.” 

Inivata’s technology is based on pioneering research from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge. Its lead product, InVisionFirst®-Lung is commercially available internationally and through NeoGenomics in the US. 

It offers competitive sensitivity and turnaround, providing molecular insights that enable clinicians to make more informed treatment decisions for advanced NSCLC patients.

Inivata has also launched the personalised RaDaR™ assay – allowing the highly sensitive detection of residual disease and recurrence. Inivata is partnering with pharmaceutical, biotechnology companies and commercial partners in a range of early and late stage cancer development programs. 

The company has a CLIA certified, CAP accredited laboratory in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina and R & D laboratories at Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge UK.

Earlier this year Inivata received $25 million investment from the US. Inivata formed a strategic collaboration with Nasdaq-quoted NeoGenomics, Inc for the commercialisation of its InVisionFirst®-Lung liquid biopsy test in the United States.

NeoGenomics is a leading US-based cancer diagnostics and services company. As an established player in the field with significant commercial reach and scale it is a highly complementary partner to advance the commercialisation of Inivata’s  InVisionFirst-Lung.

As part of the collaboration, NeoGenomics agreed to make a $25 million equity investment in Inivata to take a minority shareholding with an option to buy the UK/US business outright and secured a seat on the Inivata board. 

Inivata said the new funding would be used to accelerate the company’s range of liquid biopsy products, including further development work on RaDaR.


Published on: 16.11.20

Article sourced from Business Weekly