About PGDx

Board of Directors

Douglas Ward
Douglas Ward
Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Doug Ward joined Personal Genome Diagnostics as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors in May 2016 from Roche, where he served as Vice President Companion Diagnostics (CDx) for Ventana Medical System. He has more than 25 years of experience within the diagnostic market and most recently has been responsible for creating Ventana’s CDx strategy, establishing Ventana’s innovative pharma partnering co-development business model, and achieving the market leading position in tissue based companion diagnostics. Prior to joining Roche, Mr. Ward served as President of the America’s Commercial Operations for GE Healthcare Life Sciences Business. Previously, he was Country Head of the UK and Ireland for Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics and Vice President of Marketing and Scientific Affairs for Bayer Diagnostics’ Molecular Diagnostics business unit. In addition, he has held leadership positions with Chiron Diagnostics and Ciba Corning Diagnostics. Doug received his BA from Ohio Wesleyan University in Pre-Medicine and Pre-Professional Zoology.
Luis Diaz
Luis Diaz, MD
Founder
Dr. Luis Diaz is a leading authority in oncology, having developed personalized diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for cancer. Dr. Diaz is a pioneer in circulating tumor DNA analyses in human cancer, having performed landmark studies in the field. Dr. Diaz is Head of the Division of Solid Tumor Oncology in Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Department of Medicine. He is also a medical oncologist who cares for people with advanced colon cancer and pancreatic cancer and a researcher applying cancer genetics to find new ways to diagnose and treat the disease.  Dr. Diaz has undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Michigan, and completed post-doctoral training at Johns Hopkins University.
Victor Velculescu
Victor Velculescu, MD, PhD
Founder
Dr. Victor Velculescu is internationally known for his discoveries in genomics and cancer research. He and his colleagues have pioneered a variety of genomic technologies and were the first to perform genome-wide sequence analyses in human cancer. These analyses identified a variety of genes not previously known to be involved in neoplasia, including PIK3CA as one of the most highly mutated genes in human tumors. He is Professor of Oncology and Co-Director of Cancer Biology at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Dr. Velculescu has a B.S. from Stanford University, and MD, PhD degrees and postdoctoral training from Johns Hopkins University.
Justin Klein
Justin Klein, MD, JD
Independent Director

Justin focuses on medical device, healthcare technology, and biopharmaceutical company investments. He serves as a director of Advanced Cardiac Therapeutics, Cartiva, ChromaCode, FIRE1, Intact Vascular, Personal Genome Diagnostics, PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals, Relievant Medsystems, Senseonics (NYSE: SENS), VertiFlex, Vesper Medical, and VytronUS. Justin’s past board memberships and investments include CV Ingenuity (acquired by Covidien), Nevro (NYSE: NVRO), Topera (acquired by Abbott), TriVascular (NASDAQ: TRIV), and Ulthera (acquired by Merz). He is also a member of the advisory boards for the National Venture Capital Association’s Medical Industry Group and its Medical Innovation and Competitiveness Coalition (MedIC), as well as a member of AdvaMed's Business Development Committee.

Justin worked for the Duke University Health System—reporting directly to the hospital CEO on health system strategy, finance, and clinical service unit operations—as Duke built one of the nation's first and largest healthcare integrated delivery systems. Justin concurrently earned his MD from the Duke University School of Medicine and his JD from Harvard Law School. He has also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Duke University, where he earned his AB in Economics and his BS in Biological Anthropology and Anatomy.

James LaFrance
James LaFrance, MBA, CPA
Independent Director
Mr. James T. LaFrance, also known as Jim, serves as Chief Executive Officer and President of LaFrance Consulting. Mr. LaFrance served as the Chief Executive Officer and President of Vermillion, Inc., from April 2014 to December 2014. He served as an Acting Chief Executive Officer of Omnyx, LLC for GE Healthcare from January 2012 to October 2013. He served as Head of Digital Pathology at GE Healthcare. He has 30 years of diagnostic industry experience. From August 2009 to December 2011, he further served as a consultant in the medical diagnostics for LaFrance Consulting LLC. From 2001 to 2009, he held leadership positions at Ventana Medical Systems Inc. and served as its Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Vice President of North America and Vice President of International Operations, during which he led the integration of Ventana into Roche Diagnostics. Mr. LaFrance spent 16 years with Bayer Diagnostics in various management roles, as Vice President of Marketing & Business Development - the global Near Patient Testing division. He ran his own management consultancy. He has been the Chairman at Vermillion, Inc. since December 12, 2013. He has been Director of HTG Molecular Diagnostics, Inc. since December 1, 2015. He served as a Director of Mitomics Inc. Mr. LaFrance has a BA in Economics from the University of Connecticut, MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Notre Dame and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Garry Allen Nicholson
Garry Allen Nicholson
Independent Director
Mr. Nicholson has more than 30 years of pharmaceutical and biotech oncology experience. He led the global oncology franchise at Pfizer in the role of President, Pfizer Oncology from May 2008 through April 2015. His responsibilities included global commercialization and sales, clinical development and regulatory strategy, and business development. Under his leadership, the company developed and executed the global regulatory and launch strategy for Ibrance® (palbociclib), the first CDK4/6 inhibitor approved in the U.S. and Europe. During his tenure at Pfizer, Mr. Nicholson served on the board of directors of the Pfizer Foundation and was a member of the company’s Portfolio, Strategy and Investment Committee, which set corporate R&D priorities and investment strategy. In addition, he was an advisor to AMPATH, a consortium of North American universities and health centers, Moi University, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, and the Government of Kenya that helps build sustainable healthcare systems in developing nations.   Earlier in his career, Mr. Nicholson held various leadership positions in the oncology division of Eli Lilly and Company. Most recently, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of XTuit Pharmaceuticals, where he also was a member of the board of directors. Mr. Nicholson began his career in healthcare as a staff pharmacist at Emory University.   He currently serves on the board of directors of G1 Therapeutics, Inc., Five Prime Therapeutics, Inc., TESARO, Inc., and SQZ Biotechnologies.   Mr. Nicholson holds an MBA from the University of South Carolina and earned his B.S. in Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Kavita Patel, M.D.
Kavita Patel, M.D.
Venture Partner
Kavita Patel, M.D., joined NEA in 2017 as a Venture Partner on the healthcare team. In addition to her role at NEA, Kavita is a practicing primary care physician at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Her research and reports at Brookings focus on patient-centered care, payment and delivery system reform, workforce issues, and health reform implementation.  Her expertise has earned her a regular expert commentary spot on radio and print media, including National Public Radio, CBS, Newsweek, and MarketWatch. Kavita also served in the Obama Administration as director of policy for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement in the White House, where she played a key role in design of healthcare reform legislation. She also has a deep understanding of Capitol Hill from her time spent on the late Senator Edward Kennedy’s staff. As deputy staff director on health, she served as a policy analyst and trusted aide to the Senator and was part of the senior staff of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee under Senator Kennedy’s Leadership. Kavita also has a research and clinical background having worked as a researcher at the RAND Corporation and a practicing physician in California and Oregon.  In addition to these accomplishments, Kavita serves on the board of several organizations including Dignity Health, Tesaro, and SSM Health Care. She is also a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. She earned her medical degree from University of Texas Health Science Center and her master’s in Health Services Research from the University of California Los Angeles.