Veracyte Names New CMO As It Builds Out Lung Diagnostic Business

Xconomy San Francisco — 

Diagnostics firm Veracyte (NADSAQ: VCYT) has named Neil Barth as its new chief medical officer. Barth founded an oncology clinic in Orange County, CA, and has served previously as CMO of the diagnostic companies Agendia and Ambry Genetics.

The new hire comes as South San Francisco, CA-based Veracyte tries to build momentum for its Percepta test that classifies suspicious lung nodules as benign and helps patients avoid unnecessary medical procedures. The firm is competing against Seattle’s Integrated Diagnostics (Indi), which has a similar “rule-out” test called Xpresys Lung that analyzes proteins drawn from a patient’s blood sample.

Rule-out molecular diagnostics represent a new type of business, as I wrote about recently. New U.S.  guidelines that will likely send millions more people at higher risk for cancer for lung screens could boost demand for the Veracyte and Indi tests.

Veracyte makes its money from Afirma, a rule-out test to help classify thyroid nodules as benign. The firm recently reported second quarter revenues of nearly $12 million, all from Afirma, and a net loss of $9.1 million. First quarter 2015 revenues were $11.2 million, with a $7.6 million net loss. Veracyte reported a net loss of $29 million in 2014.

Veracyte’s previous CMO Rick Lanman left last September to take the same position at Bay Area diagnostics firm Guardant Health, a maker of blood-based cancer genetic tests.

Photo “Normal Lung X-Ray” courtesy of Yale Rosen via a Creative Commons license.