15 Dec Platypus Technologies appoints Richard Schifreen as president, CEO
Madison, Wis. Platypus Technologies, a developer of nanotechnology-based products for the biotechnology and sensor industries, has announced the appointment former Promega and Mirus Bio executive, Richard S. Schifreen, Ph.D, as president and CEO effective Dec. 10, 2008.
Schifreen succeeds Jeff Williams, who was appointed to the position in July 2007. The company said in a press release that Williams left to pursue opportunities in molecular biology.
Prior to joining Mirus Bio Corporation in 2005, Schifreen was director of technology and business development at Promega Corp. in Fitchburg. At Mirus, he served as vice president of research products at Mirus Bio, a position that was eliminated when the company was purchased last summer by Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant.
He is also a founding faculty member for the Masters of Science in Biotechnology program offered by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and a member of the Cardiovascular Medicine Advisory Board supporting the Wisconsin Institute of Medical Research. Prior to his appointment as president and CEO, Schifreen served two terms as a member of the Board of Directors of Platypus Technologies.
“I’m very excited about being here,” he said, and indicated that his first task will be to evaluate the company’s five-year plan and to then move quickly to bring to market gas sensors based on the company’s proprietary liquid crystal display (LCD) technology.
“I think that we are going to be very aggressive in terms of developing the LCD technology,” he said.
Schifreen believes that this position is a perfect fit for him.
“I have a very diverse background in avenues of commercialization. We currently have two areas — we have existing products in the cell biology area and we have product technology that we are developing in the liquid crystal sensor area. I have experience in developing both areas.”
Platypus Technologies develops products for the analytical and life sciences based upon the application of nanotechnology. Utilizing recent advances in nanoscale and material science, the company markets tools for use in proteomics, cell-based studies, and environmental monitoring.
The company’s main focus is to develop LCD-based gas sensors that will be used for health monitoring, detecting pesticides, and for biodefense purposes. The company has supported this research over the years with $16 million in federal government grants, and had been looking to raise venture capital.
Platypus also markets a cell migration assay platform that is not related to the company’s main LCD technology, but generates revenue to help support R&D on the LCD sensor products. Schifreen noted that this is a bootstrapping strategy similar to what was successfully employed at Mirus Bio before it was purchased by Roche.
Platypus Technologies is located in the New Venture Center Campus in Fitchburg and currently has 20 employees. Schifreen anticipates adding more in the near future.