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Genome tech company names CMO

Cambridge, Mass.-based human genome interpretation company Knome Inc. named Jonas Lee its CMO and head of consumer genomics, Lee told Direct Marketing News Jan. 9.

Lee will report to Knome CEO Martin Toler, whose appointment was also announced today. The company’s previous CEO, Jorge Conde, will remain with the company as chief strategy officer. All posts are effective immediately.

As CMO, Lee will lead a sales and marketing team of 11 people, he said, adding that his first goal is to build better brand recognition and make Knome synonymous with genome interpretation.

Knome decided it needed a CMO because “we’ve moved from being just a science-based company now to having more of a business focus,” he said. “The science has evolved and we have several products that we’ve brought to the market — and once you’re in the market, you have to do something about marketing.”

Knome interprets the human genome and builds tools to help others do the same, said Lee. Its main customers are academic and pharmaceutical researchers and clinics. Knome’s genome technology helped to identify the gene that causes Parkinson’s Disease, reported Bio-IT World. The find was announced in July 2011.

Academic researchers typically turn to Knome to find out what about a certain gene causes an illness, such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s Disease, while drug companies and biotech companies utilize Knome products to understand why people react to the same drugs in different ways, Lee said. Hospitals need genome information to be able to make better diagnoses and treatment decisions.

Lee is a founding member of Knome’s board of directors. Before Knome, he served as COO and CFO of Versus Financial; as managing member and co-founder of investment management company Redbrick Partners; and as CEO and founder of GiftCertificates.com.

Toler was formerly the CEO of NormOxys, a drug developer located in the Boston area. He was also previously director of worldwide business development at Pfizer.

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