“I Would Like to See Widespread Reimbursement of Clinical Genomic Testing as Well as Screening” – Gavin Stone
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Gavin Stone is an electronics engineer by training who has navigated his career into the life sciences via the wireless communications and semiconductor industries. He joined Edico Genome in 2013 to lead corporate development and marketing for the DRAGEN™ Bio-IT Processor, the world’s first next-generation sequencing bioinformatics chip to massively speed up genomic medicine. Previously Gavin managed numerous high volume cellular products and software platforms at Broadcom. Prior to that, he was part of the Zyray Wireless team that developed a 3G cellular processor. Zyray Wireless was acquired by Broadcom in 2004 for $100 million. Before joining Zyray he held various engineering and marketing roles with U.K. and South African based companies developing cellular networks, web technologies and mobile internet based solutions.
What are you working on right now?
Our DRAGEN product is already widely recognised for its speed. We actually have two Guinness World RecordsTM to prove it (one for Fastest Diagnosis, set with Rady Children’s Institute of Genomic Medicine, and one for Fastest Analysis of 1,000 Human Genomes, set with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia). But right now my team and I are building on our strong brand recognition to showcase DRAGEN’s extremely high accuracy. Really getting the message across that ultra-rapid speed doesn’t require compromise in other facets, as proven by our success in the recent PrecisionFDA variant calling challenge. This is truly only the tip of the iceberg for DRAGEN and the Edico Genome family.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your work at the moment?
Definitely scaling! We have such high demand and adoption of DRAGEN that finding the right people fast enough to join our team is a constant challenge.
Name one big development that you would like to see in your field in the next 18 months.
I would like to see widespread reimbursement of clinical genomic testing as well as screening. This continues to be something that holds back an industry with such incredible potential.
What are you most proud of in your career?
The ability to learn new things – and enjoy doing it. I started out as an electronic engineer, navigated into a variety of different business and marketing roles and then into genomics. It all required vast amounts of new learning and a fearless attitude that I am grateful for.
Which scientists, living, dead, or fictional, would you invite to dinner, and why?
Nikola Tesla, because I think he should be far more appreciated for what he invented and discovered. Gregor Mendel, so that I could tell him all about what his early discoveries have led to. And, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, because he knows a great deal about everything and would keep the conversation going at a cracking pace.
What advice do you wish someone had given you at the start of your career?
I have been fortunate to have really good mentors throughout my career who have given me the advice I needed when I needed it. Find good mentors and listen to advice.
Opinions and views expressed in The Short Read are the interviewee’s and not those of the home institution.
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