OpGen Announces Planned Leadership Transition at Next Generation Sequencing and Bioinformatics Subsidiary Ares Genetics


Dr. Arne Materna to join Ares Genetics as new Managing Director and CEO to lead Ares into next phase of its growth 

Dr. Andreas Posch, while stepping down as Managing Director and CEO to pursue new opportunities, remains on board throughout 2021 as special advisor to facilitate smooth transition

GAITHERSBURG, Md. and VIENNA, Austria, Dec. 09, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OpGen, Inc. (Nasdaq: OPGN, “OpGen”), announced today a planned transition in the leadership of its wholly owned subsidiary Ares Genetics GmbH (Vienna, Austria; “Ares Genetics”). Dr. Andreas Posch, founding CEO of Ares Genetics, has decided to step down as Managing Director and CEO of Ares Genetics at his own request, effective December 31, 2020. As part of the transition planning following the successful business combination with OpGen, Dr. Achim Plum will also step down as Managing Director of Ares Genetics effective December 31, 2020 at his own request. Dr. Posch and Dr. Plum will both continue to support Ares Genetics as special advisors to facilitate a smooth transition into the next growth phase of Ares Genetics in 2021.

Dr. Arne Materna has been appointed Managing Director and CEO of Ares Genetics effective January 1, 2021. Dr. Materna brings a wealth of experience in the development and commercialization of leading-edge bioinformatics platforms and products with a particular focus on microbiology and next-generation sequencing. He joins Ares Genetics from CosmosID Inc. where he served as Vice President Product. Before CosmosID, Dr. Materna held leadership positions and senior roles at QIAGEN, CLCbio (acquired by QIAGEN in 2013) and Pacific Biosciences. He obtained his doctorate in life science at the University of Konstanz, Germany, and gained experience in microbial genetics and microbiome research as a post-doctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), prior to joining the industry in 2010.

“It has been a great honor to serve as the CEO of Ares Genetics. I am incredibly proud of the technology leadership and award-winning solutions in next-generation sequencing based, AI-powered antibiotic susceptibility testing that the Ares Genetics team and its globally leading partners have accomplished together,” said Dr. Andreas Posch. “I would particularly like to thank all employees, customers, partners and stakeholders as well as Achim and the OpGen and Curetis teams and boards for their invaluable contributions and support over the last years. I am excited about the next chapter and I am looking forward to working in tandem with Arne during the transition into the next phase of Ares Genetics’ growth, as we continue to anticipate accelerating demand for artificial intelligence and next-generation sequencing applications as offered by the unique Ares Genetics portfolio of products and solutions.”

Dr. Achim Plum commented, “Building Ares Genetics from scratch, together with Andreas from the initial idea to a unique solutions provider in next generation molecular biology has been an incredible journey and a most rewarding experience. I would like to thank all those that made this possible, in particular the team at Ares Genetics, the colleagues in the Curetis and OpGen management and boards, and all the Austrian institutions that supported us including the Research Promotion Agency (FFG), the Vienna Business Agency, and the Austrian Business Agency. In Arne, whom we have known for years and have closely collaborated with during his time at QIAGEN, we have found the ideal successor to lead Ares Genetics through the next growth phase, and I am very much looking forward to supporting him in the next steps of this journey in an advisory role.”     

“On behalf of the entire OpGen group of companies and its Board of Directors, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to Andreas and Achim for their outstanding entrepreneurial commitment and many achievements at Ares Genetics, taking the company from an ambitious idea to a disruptive digital diagnostics platform that is mature for productization in partnerships with leading diagnostics players,” commented Oliver Schacht, President and CEO of OpGen. “We all want to thank Andreas for his exceptional leadership, contributions, dedication and track record as CEO, that have established Ares Genetics as globally recognized technology leader in next-generation sequencing based antibiotic susceptibility testing. We respect his and Achim’s decisions to pursue other interests and we are pleased that they will remain very much involved and hands-on with Ares Genetics as special advisors. We wholeheartedly welcome Arne as the new CEO of Ares Genetics. His skill set and experience are ideally suited to successfully lead Ares Genetics as a key part of the OpGen business throughout the next phase of strategic partnering, productization and commercial growth.” 

Dr. Arne Materna said, “Already today, Ares Genetics is a well-known brand name in the NGS and AI-powered bioinformatics space thanks to its unique ARESupa Universal Pathogenome Assay and ARESdb antibiotic resistance database for molecular antibiotic susceptibility prediction. Expanding upon this strong technology foundation, Ares Genetics and OpGen have the potential to transform clinical microbiology with the next-generation of data-driven solutions for infectious disease diagnostics. Having followed the successful development of Ares Genetics closely from the start and having already collaborated with the Ares Genetics team during my time at QIAGEN, I am thrilled to join the OpGen group as the new CEO of Ares Genetics. I will make it my mission to continue growing the business, evolving the company and building value for OpGen’s shareholders with the support of a stellar team and globally leading collaborators.”

About Ares Genetics
Ares Genetics was incorporated in March 2017 as a subsidiary of Curetis GmbH to leverage assets in genetic antibiotic resistance testing originally developed with involvement of the Ares Genetics leadership team at Siemens and acquired by Curetis GmbH in 2016 after Dr. Achim Plum had joined the Curetis Executive Team from Siemens Healthineers in 2015. Under Dr. Andreas Posch’s leadership, Ares Genetics evolved from a start-up into a globally leading provider of AI-powered solutions for molecular antibiotic susceptibility testing and grew from an Austrian, Vienna-based start-up to an international next-generation sequencing (NGS) solutions provider as part of the OpGen group of companies, with significant revenue growth, including strategic licensing and R&D partnerships with QIAGEN, Sandoz and other globally leading diagnostics companies. To date, Ares Genetics offers NGS-based clinical microbiology assays for epidemiology, infection control and research via its award winning, AI-powered bioinformatics platform ares-genetics.cloud under the brand name ARESupa - Universal Pathogenome Assay. In a recently published multi-center study and in collaboration with leading U.S. medical centers such as Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, Ares Genetics demonstrated that ares-genetics.cloud can accurately predict antibiotic susceptibility based on complex DNA signatures that are detected by NGS. The combination of high-resolution NGS and AI-powered data interpretation can enable accurate as well as comprehensive molecular antibiotic susceptibility testing and has the potential to provide information on antibiotic therapy response much faster than current culture-based approaches. Ares Genetics and OpGen’s other group companies address one of the major 21st century healthcare challenges, as microbial infections and antibiotic resistance are estimated to have caused 700,000 deaths globally in 2016, a number that is projected to dramatically increase to 10 million deaths annually by 2050 if no countermeasures are taken.

About OpGen, Inc. 

OpGen, Inc. (Gaithersburg, MD, USA) is a precision medicine company harnessing the power of molecular diagnostics and bioinformatics to help combat infectious disease. Along with subsidiaries, Curetis GmbH and Ares Genetics GmbH, we are developing and commercializing molecular microbiology solutions helping to guide clinicians with more rapid and actionable information about life threatening infections to improve patient outcomes, and decrease the spread of infections caused by multidrug-resistant microorganisms, or MDROs. Our product portfolio includes Unyvero, Acuitas AMR Gene Panel and Acuitas® Lighthouse, and the ARES Technology Platform including ARESdb, using NGS technology and AI-powered bioinformatics solutions for antibiotic response prediction.

For more information, please visit www.opgen.com.  

Forward-Looking Statements by OpGen

This press release includes statements regarding a planned leadership transition at OpGen’s subsidiary Ares Genetics GmbH.  These statements and other statements regarding OpGen’s future plans and goals constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and are intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that are often difficult to predict, are beyond our control, and which may cause results to differ materially from expectations. Factors that could cause our results to differ materially from those described include, but are not limited to, our ability to successfully, timely and cost-effectively develop, seek and obtain regulatory clearance for and commercialize our product and services offerings, the rate of adoption of our products and services by hospitals and other healthcare providers, the fact that we may not effectively use proceeds from recent financings, including our November 2020 private placement, the realization of expected benefits of our business combination transaction with Curetis GmbH, the success of our commercialization efforts, the impact of COVID-19 on the Company’s operations, financial results, and commercialization efforts as well as on capital markets and general economic conditions, the effect on our business of existing and new regulatory requirements, and other economic and competitive factors. For a discussion of the most significant risks and uncertainties associated with OpGen's business, please review our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are based on our expectations as of the date of this press release and speak only as of the date of this press release. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

OpGen Contact:
Oliver Schacht

Press Contact:
Matthew Bretzius
FischTank Marketing and PR

Investor Contact:
Megan Paul
Edison Group

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Source: OpGen, Inc.