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Rubicon Genomics

4355 Varsity Dr
Suite E
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

James Koziarz

When James Koziarz started looking for an opportunity, find the right one depended a single word and the multiple ways of looking at it: growth.

Koziarz, who has a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Chicago, spent 25 years working at Abbott Laboratories before retiring. He spent the last 11 of those years working as corporate vice president of research and development. He also served as business unit general manager for two separate units in Abbott Diagnostics before retiring in 2004. Koziarz worked as an advisor for a venture capital firm in Chicago, where he still lives, when he came onto the board of Ann Arbor-based Rubicon Genomics.

"I started working with startup companies across the Midwest," Koziarz says. "One of the assignments was serving on the board at Rubicon Genomics."

He stepped into the role of president & CEO in 2008 because he liked the 14-year-old firm's genetic testing technology and its high growth ceiling. He also had an eye on some professional growth opportunities Rubicon Genomics presented.

"It was a good place for me to grow a little bit into the areas of genetics," Koziarz says.

University of Michigan professors John Langmore and Vladimir Makarov co-founded Rubicon Genomics with the idea to “advance the translation of human genetics laboratory knowledge into practical medical applications,” according to the company's website. The firm is commercializing sample-specific nucleic acid library preparation products used in research and clinical testing. Its molecular biology tools for genetic, epigenetic and expression analysis of difficult samples to facilitate gene-based research, drug development and diagnostics.

Sales of Rubicon Genomics' nucleic acid library preparation products, ThruPLEX®-FD Prep Kits and PicoPLEX™ WGA kits, have jumped 85 percent in 2013. Koziarz credits the rise of genetic testing in the life sciences industry and his firm's good timing with the right product for its growth. He expects even more sales in 2014.

That has helped it continue to expand its staff. There were four employees when Koziarz joined the company. There are 25 employees by the end of 2013. The firm is now looking to add interns and another nine employees in 2014.

Rubicon Genomics is moving to a bigger facility in 2014 to accomodate that growth. The new space, which is on the south side of Ann Arbor, will feature room for the increasing number of employees, research and development, manufacturing of its kits and a host of other varied uses that are expected to help the firm grow.

"Our goal is to grow faster than the market," Koziarz says. "That is something I think is doable for us."

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