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About Us -

Leadership

SGI's management team, board of directors and scientific advisory board are some of the world's foremost leaders in their fields. Our combined scientific and business expertise is leading to breakthrough science and important market-driven commercial applications of this research.

Synthetic Genomics

J. Craig Venter, Ph.D.

J. Craig Venter, Ph.D.

Co-Founder, Chairman, CEO, Co-Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. J. Craig Venter is regarded as one of the leading scientists of the 21st century for his invaluable contributions in genomic research, most notably for the first sequencing and analysis of the human genome published in 2001 and the most recent and most complete sequencing of his diploid human genome in 2007. In addition to his role at SGI, he is founder, president and chairman of the J. Craig Venter Institute. Craig was also the founder of Human Genome Sciences, Diversa Corporation and Celera Genomics. He and his teams have sequenced more than 300 organisms including human, fruit fly, mouse, rat, and dog as well as numerous microorganisms and plants. Craig is also the key leader in the field of synthetic genomics. This work, trying to create the first synthetic genome, is leading to extraordinary advances in engineering microorganisms for many vital energy and environmental applications used at SGI. Craig is the author of more than 200 research articles and is among the most cited scientists in the world. He is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and scientific awards including the 2008 National Medal of Science. Craig is also a member of many prestigious scientific organizations including the National Academy of Sciences.

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Hamilton O. Smith, M.D.

Hamilton O. Smith, M.D.

Co-Founder, Co-Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Hamilton Smith is the scientific director of the Synthetic Biology team at the J. Craig Venter Institute. Hamilton received the 1978 Nobel Prize for his work on the discovery of restriction enzymes, which are essential tools used in the field of recombinant DNA technology. He is widely considered one of the experts in DNA library construction and DNA manipulation techniques. Hamilton was formerly the senior director of DNA Resources at Celera Genomics. Prior to joining Celera, he joined the scientific team at The Institute for Genomic Research, a position he held after leaving the Johns Hopkins University where he was professor of molecular biology and genetics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Joseph Mahler

Joseph Mahler

Chief Financial Officer

Joseph Mahler joins SGI from FuelCell Energy Inc, a publicly-traded developer and manufacturer of ultra-clean stationary fuel cell power plants, where he had been employed since 1998. Mahler played a leading role at the company as Senior Vice-President, CFO, Corporate Treasurer and Secretary. In these roles he raised more than $500 million from seven public offerings. He was also instrumental in helping shape the company's business strategy as they grew from 120 employees to more than 400 and expanded operations to serve global markets in Europe and Asia. Prior to his employment with FuelCell Energy, Mahler was the VP and CFO for Earthgro Inc. where he worked closely with the CEO and management to significantly increase sales and profitability. Earlier in his career, he was a partner with the accounting firm Ernst & Young and other predecessor firms and was employed from 1974 to 1992. Mahler received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Boston College in 1974, and his certification as a public accountant in 1978.

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Todd Peterson

Todd Peterson, Ph.D.

Chief Technology Officer, Senior VP of R&D at Synthetic Genomics Vaccines, Inc.

Dr. Peterson has over 20 years experience in industrial research and development in the areas of molecular biology, nucleic acids and genomics product and technology development. His experience encompasses clinical diagnostics, life science research tools and pharmaceutical discovery technologies and market segments. Prior to joining SGI, Dr. Peterson led Genomics and Synthetic Biology R&D at Life Technologies, a global leader in life science research tools. Prior to Life Technologies, Dr. Peterson held research and development positions with increasing responsibilities at Genicon Sciences, Trega Biosciences, Hybritech and Gen-Probe where he focused on product and technology research, development and commercialization. Dr. Peterson was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Cologne Germany and received his Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine.

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Toby Richardson, Ph.D.

Toby Richardson, Ph.D.

Vice President, Bioinformatics & Information Technology

Dr. Toby Richardson has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of bioinformatics, enzymology, and molecular biology. Prior to joining SGI Toby spent ten years at Diversa Corporation, where he established and managed the company's informatics department. During this time his team developed some of the first tools to annotate, store and mine metagenomic information from environmental samples. As a Post Doctoral Researcher at the Scripps Research Institute, he worked on isolation, cloning and structural characterization of human cytochrome P450s. Toby earned a B.Sc. Hons in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Molecular Toxicology, both from the University of Surrey, UK.

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Dan Gibson

Dan Gibson, Ph.D.

Vice President, DNA Technology

Dan joined SGI in February of 2011 after spending more than 6 years at the JCVI where he was a key member of the team that created the first synthetic cell. He has had an immediate impact on SGI by bringing the synthetic genomics tools he developed at JCVI to SGI, and leading the DNA synthesis team that developed a rapid approach for producing accurate influenza genes used in synthetic flu vaccine production. Dan and his team advanced automated DNA synthesis, assembly, and error correction methods which justified the formation of SGI-DNA and expanded collaboration with IDT, formed the foundation of the Digital to Biological Converter, and generated numerous commercial opportunities through the sale of synthetic DNA, reagents, and instrumentation.

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Thomas Ishoey, Ph.D.

Thomas Ishoey, Ph.D.

Vice President, Product and Technology Development

Prior to joining Synthetic Genomics, Dr. Ishoey was Chief Technology Officer of Glori Energy. Dr. Ishoey has extensive experience in applied microbiology and biotechnology research and development. He has pioneered the use of micromanipulation of microbial size cells for whole genome amplification and genomic analysis and applied the technology for the discovery of uncultured microbes from diverse environments like subsurface environments, marine sediments, soil, bioreactors and human biopsies. Dr. Ishoey's experience also includes design, construction and operation of bioreactors using anaerobic microbes and applying these methods for quantitative studies of anaerobic metabolism.
Dr. Ishoey holds a master's degree in chemical engineering and a doctorate in biotechnology, both from the Technical University of Denmark. He has also worked as visiting researcher at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for a two-year period.

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Laurence Warden

Laurence Warden

Vice President of Engineering and Instrumentation

Mr. Warden joined Synthetic Genomics in June of 2013. Prior to joining SGI, he was Vice President of Engineering for IOS Technologies, where he recently completed a 3D Dental Impression and Restoration Manufacturing System for in-office use. Mr. Warden brings over 25 years of product development experience in the Medical Device and Laboratory Equipment industry, including 20 years of personnel and project management experience in a FDA/GMP environment. During his career, Mr. Warden has developed Class 1 thru 3 Medical Devices, including intravenous infusion pumps for IMED Corporation, non-invasive superconducting neural diagnostic systems for Biomagnetic Technologies, Inc., and a wavefront-based ophthalmic diagnostic device for Ophthonix , Inc. In the laboratory system field, Mr. Warden led mechanical development of Accumetric's point-of-care whole blood assay system, as well as the instrument portion of Genicon Sciences's system for ultra-low level detection of DNA, RNA, and proteins. Mr. Warden holds more than 25 US patents and has received numerous awards for both the technical and design aspects of his developed products

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Jim Flatt, Ph.D.

Jim Flatt, Ph.D.

President, Genovia Bio

Dr. Jim Flatt joins SGI from Mascoma Corporation, where he served as Executive Vice President of Research & Development and Operations and Acting President in the second half of 2009. In addition to leading a team of nearly 70 scientists and engineers, Jim oversaw the team responsible for the engineering, construction and operation of a pilot cellulosic ethanol facility. Before joining Mascoma Corporation, Jim was the Senior Vice President of Research for Martek Biosciences. Jim received a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, a Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Fernanda Gandara

Fernanda Gandara

President, SGI-DNA, Sr. Vice President, Business Development

Ms. Fernanda Gandara joined Synthetic Genomics in 2007 and is responsible for Business Development. She also represents SGI on the board of two subsidiaries: Synthetic Genomics Vaccines, Inc. (focused on new vaccine development) and Agradis (focused on Agricultural biotechnology). Prior to SGI, Fernanda worked at British Petroleum in several areas including Technology Strategy and Venturing, focused on identifying opportunities and negotiating and structuring equity investments, joint-ventures and sponsored research agreements with small companies, universities and national labs in the Bioenergy sector. Prior to that she worked with management consulting at BCG and Accenture, where she spent most of her career. Fernanda earned a MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business in California and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Escola de Engenharia Maua in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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Sammy Farah, Ph.D,

Sammy Farah, Ph.D.

President, Synthetic Genomics Vaccines, Inc.

Sammy brings extensive vaccine expertise and over 15 years of scientific, business and executive management experience in the biotechnology industry to SGVI. He came to SGVI from Immune Design Corp. where he was Chief Business Officer and a leader on the executive management team responsible for corporate strategy and business development. Prior to that role, Sammy was at Versant Ventures where he specialized in biotechnology investing and new company formation; and at Merck & Co., Inc. where he led technology support for multiple commercial vaccine franchises before joining the business development and licensing group to evaluate and execute new external technology and research partnerships. Dr. Farah received his Masters of Business Administration from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, a Ph.D in Biochemical Engineering from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Scientific Advisory Board

Clyde Hutchison, Ph.D.

Clyde Hutchison, Ph.D.

Chairman, Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Clyde Hutchison is a molecular biology pioneer who developed site directed mutagenesis techniques and is the world's foremost expert on mycoplasmas, the bacteria with the smallest known genomes. Clyde is a distinguished investigator of the Synthetic Biology team at the J. Craig Venter Institute. He is Professor Emeritus of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Kenneth H. Nealson, Ph.D.

Kenneth H. Nealson, Ph.D.

Member, Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Ken Nealson is the director of the Microbial and Environmental Genomics group at the J. Craig Venter Institute. His present work focuses on the study of biogeochemical processes in ultra-basic (i.e. pH ≥ 11.5) environments, and extracellular electron transport as it relates to the cycling of iron and manganese oxides. Ken is also actively involved with the use of bacteria both for bioremediation of toxic wastes, and for energy production in biofuel cells. He is the co-chair of the Committee on the Origin and Evolution of Life, and a member of the Space Studies Board - both National Academy of Sciences committees. Ken received his BS degree in biochemistry (1965), and Ph.D. in microbiology (1969), both from the University of Chicago, and did post-doctoral work at Harvard University.

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George Poste, Ph.D.

George Poste, Ph.D.

Member, Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. George Poste is Chief Scientist, Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative at Arizona State University. He assumed this post in February 2009. From 2003 to 2008 George founded the Biodesign Institute at ASU. In addition to his academic post he serves as Chief Executive of a consulting company, Health Technology Networks. George is Chairman of Orchid Biosciences, and serves on the Board of Directors of Monsanto, Exelixis and Caris Dx. From 1992 to 1999 he was Chief Science and Technology Officer and President, R&D of SmithKline Beecham. During his tenure at SB he was associated with the successful registration of 31 drug, vaccine and diagnostic products. In 2004 George was named as 'R&D Scientist of the Year' by R&D Magazine and in 2006 he received the Einstein award from the Global Business Leadership Council.

George has published over 350 research papers and edited 14 books on pharmaceutical technologies and oncology. He has received honorary degrees in science, law and medicine for his research contributions and was honored in 1999 by HM Queen Elizabeth II as a Commander of the British Empire for his contributions to international security. George is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal College of Pathologists and the UK Academy of Medicine, a Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University and a member of the Council for Foreign Relations. He is a member of the Defense Science Board and Health Board of the US Department of Defense (DoD) and the US Institute of Medicine Board on Global Health. George is Chair of the DOD Task Force on Bioterrorism and the newly launched DOD Task Force on Synthetic Biology.

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Board of Directors

Juan Enriquez

Juan Enriquez

Co-Founder of SGI; Managing Director, Excel Venture Management

Mr. Juan Enriquez is an experienced business leader, author, and academic recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on the economic and political impacts of life sciences. He is currently a Managing Director at Excel Venture Management, a life sciences and healthcare venture capital firm. Juan was the founding director of Harvard Business School's Life Sciences Project and then founded Biotechonomy LLC, a life sciences research and investment firm. He has been an active investor in early-stage private companies in the biotechnology and information sciences sectors. While at Harvard, Juan wrote various articles and case studies, won a McKinsey Prize, and published the best-selling book As the Future Catches You, an analysis of the impact of genomics on business and society. His latest book, the Untied States of America, explores why, as technology advances, some countries are successful while others disappear. Juan serves on a number of boards including Cabot Corporation and The Harvard Medical School Genetics Advisory Council. He earned a BA and MBA from Harvard, with Honors.

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Steve Jurvetson

Steve Jurvetson

Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson

Mr. Steve Jurvetson is a Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ.com), a leading venture capital firm and one of the most active energy and cleantech investors, with affiliate offices around the world. Steve was the founding VC investor in Hotmail, Interwoven, and Kana. He also led the firm's investments in Tradex and Cyras (acquired for $8B), and in pioneering companies in synthetic biology and molecular electronics. Previously, Steve was an R&D Engineer at HP, where seven of his communications chip designs were fabricated. His prior technical experience also includes programming, materials science research and computer design at HP, the Center for Materials Research, and Mostek. At Stanford, Steve finished his BSEE in 2.5 years and graduated #1 in his class. He also received an MSEE and MBA from Stanford, and serves as Co-Chair of the NanoBusiness Alliance and President of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists.

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David Kiernan, M.D., J.D.

David Kiernan, M.D., J.D.

Co-Founder of SGI; Partner, Williams & Connolly

Mr. David Kiernan, a graduate of Duke University School of Medicine and Duke University Law School, has an extensive scientific and medical background. David is currently a litigation partner at Williams & Connolly in Washington, DC where his practice area of expertise encompasses commercial, intellectual property (patents and trade secrets), and products liability. His clients have included major pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

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Alfonso Romo

Alfonso Romo

Chairman and CEO of Plenus, S.A. de C.V.

Mr. Alfonso Romo is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Plenus, S.A. de C.V., and his expertise comes from a long and highly successful business career. Alfonso has been an active investor in many different industries worldwide, where by his leadership these companies consolidated there leading position in such industries as: Consumer Products, Insurance and Financial Services, Packaging, Seeds and Agribusinesses. Currently his investment sectors cover: Education for Profit, Financial Services, Biosciences, Molded Packaging and Infrastructure and Real Estate. In order to support social development, Alfonso has led and implemented innovative programs that contributed to the social and economic development of the agricultural sector; he also supported various educational, cultural and environmental programs. He is a member of the Board of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Cementos Mexicanos, and Gruma.

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Barry Schuler

Barry Schuler

Chairman and CEO of Raydiance, Inc.; Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson Growth Fund

Mr. Barry Schuler is Chairman and Co-founder of Raydiance, Inc., a DFJ Growth Fund portfolio company. Barry was formerly Chairman/CEO of America Online Inc. and is considered one of the pioneers of the Internet. He has made many notable contributions to the IT industry including developing early video games in the 1970s, pioneering the color desktop presentation category, co-developing the first commercial interactive ecommerce technology which included wallet-based 1-click checkout, co-developing the predecessor to interactive CRM technology developing the first version of America Online designed to appeal to mass market consumers, and notably a member and ultimately leader of the senior management team that matured AOL from $400M to $350B in market cap during 20 consecutive quarters of growth. In addition to SGI, Barry serves on the board of Hands-On Mobile, Inc., UBmatrix, Inc., Visto Corporation, and Raydiance, Inc. He graduated with a B.A. from Rutgers University.

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Greg Lucier

Greg Lucier

Chairman and CEO of Life Technologies

Mr. Greg Lucier serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Life Technologies, a global biotechnology company based in Carlsbad, California. The company is one of the largest providers of systems, biological reagents, and services supplying scientists around the world in every way that life sciences are applied. Under Mr. Lucier's leadership, the company has grown from $700 million in revenues when he took the helm in 2003 to $3.5 billion in sales today. Mr. Lucier also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Sanford- Burnham Institute for Medical Research, as a Director for BIO, the world's largest biotechnology industry organization, and he is a member of the board of directors for Carefusion Corporation, a New York Stock Exchange listed healthcare company. He is also actively involved with the Business Roundtable in Washington D.C. Mr. Lucier is a distinguished alumnus of Pennsylvania State University, where he earned his engineering degree, and holds a masters in business administration from Harvard Business School.

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Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay

Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay

Chairman, President and Chief Executive of the Genting Group

Mr. (Tan Sri) Lim Kok Thay is the Chairman, President and Chief Executive of the Genting Group, one of Asia's leading multinational corporations. Tan Sri Lim is instrumental in the internationalization of the Genting Group and was the key driver behind the development of the Group's casino projects world wide. Tan Sri Lims visionary foresight and entrepreneurial skills resulted in the birth of Genting Hong Kong Limited which has grown to be the third largest cruise line in the world and the leading cruise operator in Asia-Pacific. Tan Sri Lim guided the Genting Group to expand into other growth areas such as the power generation, plantation, property development, paper and paper-related manufacturing and oil & gas activities. For his invaluable contributions to Malaysia, he was bestowed the highly prestigious national award that carries the titleship of "Tan Sri" by His Majesty, the Yang DiPertuan Agong of Malaysia in June 2002. Tan Sri Lim also serves as the Joint Chief Executive of Asiatic Development Berhad, the plantation and property arm of the Genting Group and the Executive Chairman of Genting International P.L.C. In addition, he sits on the boards of other Malaysian and foreign companies, as well as on the Board of trustees of several charitable organizations in Malaysia.

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About Synthetic Genomics

Genesis of the Company

Leadership

Synthetic Genomics

J. Craig Venter, Ph.D.

Co-Founder, Chairman, CEO, Co-Chief Scientific Officer

Hamilton O. Smith, M.D.

Co-Founder, Co-Chief Scientific Officer; Scientific Director of the J. Craig Venter Institute

Joseph Mahler

Chief Financial Officer

Todd Peterson, Ph.D.

Chief Technology Officer, Senior VP of R&D at Synthetic Genomics Vaccines, Inc.

Toby Richardson, Ph.D.

Vice President, Bioinformatics & Information Technology

Dan Gibson, Ph.D.

Vice President, DNA Technology

Thomas Ishoey, Ph.D.

Vice President, Product and Technology Development

Laurence Warden

Vice President of Engineering and Instrumentation

Jim Flatt, Ph.D.

President, Genovia Bio

Fernanda Gandara

President, SGI-DNA, Sr. Vice President, Business Development

Sammy Farah, Ph.D.

President, Synthetic Genomics Vaccines, Inc.

Scientific Advisory Board

Clyde Hutchison, Ph.D.

Chairman, Scientific Advisory Board

Kenneth H. Nealson, Ph.D.

Member, Scientific Advisory Board

George Poste, Ph.D.

Member, Scientific Advisory Board

Board of Directors

Juan Enriquez

Co-Founder of SGI; Managing Director, Excel Medical Ventures

Steve Jurvetson

Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson

David Kiernan, M.D., J.D.

Co-Founder of SGI; Partner, Williams & Connolly

Alfonso Romo

Chairman and CEO of Plenus, S.A. de C.V.

Barry Schuler

Chairman and CEO of Raydiance, Inc.; Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson Growth Fund

Greg Lucier

Chairman and CEO of Life Technologies

Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay

Chairman, President and Chief Executive of the Genting Group

Hamilton O. Smith, M.D.

Co-Founder, Co-Chief Scientific Officer

J. Craig Venter, Ph.D.

Co-Founder, Chairman, CEO, Co-Chief Scientific Officer

Our Environmental Commitment

Investors

The company's largest investors include: BP plc; Biotechonomy LLC; Draper Fisher Jurvetson; Plenus, S.A. de C.V.; ACGT Sdn Bhd; and Meteor Group.

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