Biotech veteran Donald E. Pogorzelski takes over as Nuclea CEO
PITTSFIELD — Patrick J. Muraca, the founding CEO of Nuclea Biotechnologies Inc., has left the company to head another biotech firm that will soon be offered to Nuclea's shareholders.
Nuclea's board of directors has appointed Muraca the president and CEO of NanoDX, a development stage company in Albany, N.Y.
The board has appointed biotechnology industry veteran Donald E. Pogorzelski to replace Muraca as Nuclea's new president and CEO. Pogorzelski, a former president of Genzyme Diagnostics, and Muraca have already assumed their new roles.
A Pittsfield native, Muraca co-founded Nuclea in 2005. Although he no longer runs Nuclea, Muraca is still one of the company's larger shareholder.
Muraca termed his move from Nuclea to NanoDX as a "mutual decision" between he and the board. A startup, NanoDX is a spinoff of Nuclea that is affiliated with the SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany.
Nuclea is moving from a focus on research and development to the commercialization stage, and Muraca said Pogorzelski is better suited to handle that aspect of the business.
Nuclea originally considered adding Pogorzelski as a board member before naming him president and CEO, Muraca said.
"It's been 10 years having the company go from research to commercialization," Muraca said. "My skill set is developing companies. Don, coming in, has an amazing resume. My wheelhouse is entrepreneurial development. His is commercialization.
"The board thought I did such a good job developing Nuclea that they want me to develop NanoDX," he said.
Attempts to reach some Nuclea board members for comment on Thursday were unsuccessful.
Pogorzelski, who lives in Cambridge, joined Genzyme Diagnostics in 1988 and served as company president from 1996 until the firm was sold to Sekisui Chemical in 2011.
He has also served as northeast regional marketing manager for Abbott Laboratories diagnostic division in Boston, and on the board of directors of Diffinity Genomics in Rochester, N.Y.
Now 65, Porgorzelski has most recently served as an angel investor for startup companies and as a member of different academic and corporate boards.
"My primary focus has been on angel investing and working on small companies," Pogorzelski said. "I'm not quite dead. I have energy and enthusiasm and I know this space.
"This is my sweet spot," Pogorzelski said referring to his expertise in commercialization. "I've spent about 35 years in this space and I know it. The company is at a point in time where commercialization meets and matches the skill set that I bring.
"This is a great opportunity to take and grow the company," he said.
One of Berkshire County's few biotech firms, Nuclea develops and commercializes unique Food and Drug Administration approved diagnostic tests for prostate and breast cancer, diabetes and other metabolic syndromes.
The company has facilities in Cambridge, Pittsfield and Worcester. Pogorzelski said it's too early to tell where Nuclea will concentrate its resources going forward.
"There are lots of fronts, but I don't have the data to make those decisions right now," he said.
NanoDX is developing a microfluidic computer chip that can perform antibody-based protein immuonoassays on minute amounts of blood and other sera in approximately three minutes.
"This is a very quick test and uses very little bodily fluid," Muraca said.
Immunoassays are biochemical tests utilized to detect the presence or quantity of a substance, like a protein, based on its capacity to act as an antigen or antibody, according to medical terminology.
NanoDX is currently seeking Class 1 device status with the FDA for the nanochip. Because NanoDX is associated with Nuclea, it can use Nuclea's diagnostic testing platform, Muraca said.
The company currently has two employees, and is expecting to add two more from Nuclea in the next two weeks, and have as many as 15 within two years, Muraca said. It also has a 1,500-square-foot laboratory in Albany.
Muraca said "we're going to build this very quickly" and that NanoDx should be available for investment by Nuclea shareholders by the end of 2015.
In July, NanoDX was one of two nanotechnology companies affiliated with the SUNY Polytechnic Institute to join Start-Up New York, a state-run program that allows businesses in New York to operate tax free for a decade by expanding or relocating to select college and university campuses, according to the Albany Business Review.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.