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Leadership Team

Outstanding Talent, Outstanding Management

Metabolon has assembled an outstanding group of talented, experienced managers to develop and execute the business plan. We also have an impressive staff that includes specialists in biochemistry, mass spectrometry and software development.

John Ryals, Ph.D.
President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board

JohnryalsDr. Ryals has served as president, CEO and chairman of the board of directors at Metabolon since April 2002. Prior to joining Metabolon, he was chief executive officer, president and founder of Paradigm Genetics, Inc., a publicly traded agricultural biotechnology company focused on industrializing the process of gene function discovery. There, he raised over $100 million in equity financing, including an initial public offering in 2000 and a follow-on offering in 2001, and closed on R&D partnerships valued at over $200 million. Dr. Ryals has 30 years of experience in the biotechnology industry, including senior research positions at Novartis and Ciba-Geigy, and currently serves on the board of directors at AgBiome, a provider of early-stage R&D for agriculture, and the advisory board of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University. He earned a B.A. in biology, chemistry and music from the University of North Texas and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in molecular biology from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Mike Milburn, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer

Mike MilburnDr. Milburn has served as chief scientific officer since 2005 and is responsible for global metabolomics technology development and research operations. Before joining Metabolon, he was senior vice president of research and corporate development at Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, where he led the preclinical/clinical development of drugs in metabolic disease and neurodegeneration. Prior to Sirtris, Dr. Milburn was senior vice president of research at Plexxikon and was responsible for the development of its proprietary high-throughput, scaffold-based chemical technology platform. He also held various research positions at Glaxo and GlaxoWellcome from 1991 to 2001. Dr. Milburn received his Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and was a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School.

S. Todd Lynch, C.P.A.
Chief Financial Officer

Todd LynchMr. Lynch joined Metabolon in 2005 as chief financial officer. He is a certified public accountant with nearly 30 years of executive and financial experience with life sciences companies and public accounting. Prior to joining Metabolon, Mr. Lynch was vice president of global finance for the clinical division of Inveresk, a contract research organization and subsidiary of Charles River Laboratories. He also served in various finance-related roles for GlaxoSmithKline and gained seven years of public accounting experience with Coopers & Lybrand, where he specialized in healthcare and manufacturing. Mr. Lynch holds a B.S. in accounting from East Carolina University.

Steve Watkins, Ph.D.
Chief Technology Officer

Steve WatkinsDr. Watkins has served as chief technology officer at Metabolon since 2012. After founding Lipomics Technologies, Inc., an early metabolomics company specializing in lipid metabolism, in 2000, he served as its CEO until its 2008 sale to Tethys Bioscience. While at Tethys, Dr. Watkins served as chief technology officer and was focused on the creation of new diagnostic tests employing both lipomic and proteomic technologies. In 2012, he facilitated the transfer of the lipomic assets from Tethys to Metabolon. In 2011, Dr. Watkins joined the Harvard School of Public Health as a senior visiting scientist and worked in the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases with Gokhan Hotamisligil. Dr. Watkins earned his B.S. from Cornell University and his Ph.D. from the University of California-Davis. His post-doctoral research focused on the development of technology for profiling lipid metabolites. He has authored over 70 papers on lipids and lipid metabolism, along with several book chapters, and is a frequent speaker at national nutrition and metabolic disease meetings.

Chris Bernard
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Chris BernardMr. Bernard joined Metabolon in 2009 to direct the expansion and management of the metabolytics business. He came to Metabolon from Abaxis, Inc., where as vice president of sales and marketing he built the sales, marketing, technical and customer service groups for the medical diagnostics business. Prior to that, Mr. Bernard held various sales and sales management positions at Cytyc Corp., now Hologic, Inc. He holds a B.A. in psychobiology from Hiram College, is a cytologist certified by the American Society for Clinical Pathology, and is currently on the board of directors for the Hiram College Integrated Entrepreneurship Program.

Eric Button, M.Sc., M.B.A.
Senior Vice President, Diagnostics

Eric ButtonMr. Button joined Metabolon in 2011 as the senior vice president of diagnostics. Prior to that, he was president of GlycoMark, Inc., an R&D-stage diabetes testing company from 2002 to 2011. Previously, he was president and CEO of Amplistar, Inc., a company dedicated to pursuing new approaches to cancer diagnostics. In 1993, he founded Innovex Diagnostics/NovaDx, a diagnostics company focused on osteoporosis and arthritis. Earlier in his career he served in various marketing capacities at Hybritech, a subsidiary of Eli Lilly, where he led the business group responsible for the PSA prostate cancer test. Since 2001, he has been an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and has served as a guest lecturer on entrepreneurship and marketing at the Wake Forest University School of Business. Mr. Button holds an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an M.Sc. in molecular genetics from the University of British Columbia-Vancouver.

William A. Pettit
Vice President, Human Resources

Bill PettitMr. Pettit is a human resources executive with proven abilities as a change agent building high-performance organizations and developing management teams. He has in-depth expertise in strategic human resources planning, organization development and talent acquisition and management. After graduating from Amherst College, he began his career with the Bristol Myers Company, where he held progressively more senior roles during an 11-year tenure. He then served as senior vice president of human resources and administration for Pharmacia (now Pfizer) supporting the Americas. He moved into the biotechnology industry in 1996, accepting responsibility as senior vice president of human resources for Ligand Pharmaceuticals. Most recently, he served as vice president of human resources and administration for Intrexon Corporation.

Robin Fastenau, M.B.A.
Vice President, Corporate Marketing and Communications

Robin F 2Ms. Fastenau joined Metabolon in 2014 and has responsibility for its strategic communications and corporate branding. She has 14 years of experience in corporate communications, investor relations and public affairs and has held senior-level positions in a number of industries. She has extensive experience in U.S. and global communications in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries from GlaxoSmithKline, Trimeris, Triangle Pharmaceuticals (now Gilead Sciences) and consulting. Prior to her corporate communications roles, she was a vice president in the corporate finance team at an investment banking firm specializing in financial institution clients. Ms. Fastenau earned a B.S. in business administration with an economics concentration from Meredith College and holds an M.B.A. from Wake Forest University. She also completed graduate-level life sciences course work in the D.D.S. program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.