UNION CITY, Calif., April 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Abaxis, Inc. (NasdaqGS: ABAX), a medical products company manufacturing point-of-care instruments and consumables for the medical, research, and veterinary markets worldwide, announced today changes to its executive management team.
Mr. Alberto "Al" Santa Ines, 68, chief financial officer and vice president of finance of Abaxis for the past 15 years will retire effective July 31, 2015. Mr. Ross Taylor, currently the Company's vice president of business development and investor relations, will transition into the roles of chief financial officer and vice president of finance of Abaxis.
Mr. Santa Ines commented, "In May of 1999, I joined Abaxis as a consultant, an unknown company with an innovative product with the potential to revolutionize blood testing protocol. In 2001, chief executive officer Clint Severson asked me to be the interim CFO and I gladly accepted the challenge. When I took on the responsibility Abaxis had $2.0 million cash and $2.5 million drawn on a line of credit with a bank. Thus, my goal as interim, and eventually as permanent CFO, was to improve the company's cash position. In the following years, I would implement some tough and controversial decisions with that goal in mind. We took calculated risks and made numerous adjustments. But after years of hard work, we've grown the company to approximately 700 employees with more than $133 million in cash, equivalents and investments and absolutely no debt."
"For the past 15 years," Mr. Santa Ines continued, "I have had the privilege of being a part of the success story that is Abaxis. I have watched the company grow from $13 million sales in 1999 to more than $200 million in sales in calendar 2014. I am tremendously proud of the work we've done and although it's time for me to move on to the next chapter, I have absolutely no doubt that Abaxis will continue to flourish for many years to come."
Ross Taylor joined Abaxis as vice president of business development and investor relations in October 2014. Mr. Taylor has more than 18 years of experience in the investment and securities industries, as a securities analyst covering the healthcare sector. Prior to joining Abaxis, Mr. Taylor most recently served as Senior Vice President, Equity Research Analyst at CL King & Associates, from 2005 to 2014, covering Healthcare Equipment and Supplies companies with a focus on the animal health and dental sectors. Mr. Taylor holds an A.B. degree in Economics from Duke University and an MBA with concentrations in accounting and finance from Columbia Business School.
Clint Severson, chairman and chief executive officer of Abaxis, Inc., commented, "I am grateful to Al Santa Ines for his dedication and contributions in making Abaxis a financially sound company with a tremendous balance sheet. Al has been intimately involved in executing on the strategic plan that has positioned Abaxis as one of the leaders in diagnostic point-of-care sector. I am pleased that Ross Taylor has agreed to become our next chief financial officer. I know that Al will be a great resource to Ross during this transition period in the upcoming months. I am thankful and confident that Ross will provide the entire Abaxis team the financial leadership to move forward from a position of strength as we proceed to the next level of our development as a leading competitor in the diagnostic point-of-care business."
Mr. Donald Wood, chief operating officer of Abaxis, has been promoted to president and chief operating officer. Mr. Wood has served as chief operating officer since April 2014 for Abaxis. Mr. Wood joined Abaxis in October 2007 as vice president of operations and has also served as chief operations officer from April 2009 to April 2014. From April 2003 to September 2007, Mr. Wood was the vice president of operations of Cholestech Corporation, a medical products manufacturing company that was subsequently acquired by Inverness Medical Innovations, Inc. in September 2007. From July 2001 to March 2003, Mr. Wood served as vice president of Bone Health, a business unit of Quidel Corporation, a manufacturing and marketer of point-of-care diagnostics, and was responsible for Bone Health Product Operations, Device Research and Development, and Sales and Marketing. He also served as Quidel's vice president of Ultrasound Operations from August 1999 to July 2001. Prior to joining Quidel, Mr. Wood was the director of Ultrasound Operations for Metra Biosystems Inc., a developer and manufacturing company of point-of-care products for osteoporosis, from July 1998 to August 1999 prior to Quidel's acquisition of Metra Biosystems Inc.
Additional executive promotions include:
Mr. Michael Wilkerson, formerly senior director of manufacturing and materials, has been promoted to vice president of operations;
Mr. Gregory Bennett, formerly senior director of manufacturing engineering, has been promoted to vice president of engineering; and
Ms. Amrita Sethi, formerly senior director regulatory affairs, quality assurance, environmental health & safety, has been promoted to vice president of regulatory affairs & quality system compliance.
Mr. Severson, continued, "I am pleased with the composition of this management team. They all bring specialized skill sets that will help strengthen our organization for continued success. Their extensive experience and knowledge in the areas of our operations that they respectively oversee provides us a competitive advantage in healthcare and animal health industries. Our goal is to continually build and strengthen the depth and breadth of our management team allowing us to appropriately manage the growth of Abaxis into the future. As CEO I remain fully committed to driving innovation in our product lines and unlocking the full potential of our point-of-care diagnostic testing solutions to grow our customer base and drive shareholder value in the years to come."
Abaxis develops, manufactures, markets and sells portable blood analysis systems for use in any veterinary or human patient-care setting to provide clinicians with rapid blood constituent measurements. The system consists of a compact, 5.1 kilogram (11.2 pounds), portable analyzer and a series of single-use plastic discs, called reagent discs, which contain all the chemicals required to perform a panel of up to 13 tests on veterinary patients and 14 tests on human patients. The system can be operated with minimal training and performs multiple routine tests on whole blood, serum or plasma samples. The system provides test results in less than 12 minutes with the precision and accuracy equivalent to a clinical laboratory analyzer. The veterinary business also provides to the animal health and research market a line of hematology instruments for point-of-care complete blood counts (CBC), a specialty instrument to screen for and detect clotting disorders and to measure equine fibrinogen levels, a handheld instrument for the rapid assessment of certain critical care tests and rapid point-of-care tests for Heartworm infections, Parvovirus, Giardia, Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, and FeLV-FIV. For more information, visit http://www.abaxis.com.
This press release includes, and our conference call will include, statements that constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the "Reform Act"), including but not limited to statements related to the closing and timing of closing of the transaction, Abaxis' cash position, financial resources and potential for future growth, market acceptance and penetration of new or planned product offerings, and future recurring revenues and results of operations. Abaxis claims the protection of the safe-harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Reform Act. These forward-looking statements are often characterized by the terms "may," "believes," "projects," "expects," "anticipates," or words of similar import, and do not reflect historical facts. Specific forward-looking statements contained in this press release or in Abaxis' conference call may be affected by risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, those related to risks related to the transition of its U.S. medical sales to Abbott, potential excess inventory levels and inventory imbalances at the company's distributors, losses or system failures with respect to Abaxis' facilities or manufacturing operations, fluctuations in quarterly operating results, dependence on sole suppliers, the market acceptance of Abaxis' products and services, the continuing development of its products, required United States Food and Drug Administration clearance and other government approvals, risks associated with manufacturing and distributing its products on a commercial scale free of defects, risks related to the introduction of new instruments manufactured by third parties, risks associated with competing in the human diagnostic market, risks related to the protection of Abaxis' intellectual property or claims of infringement of intellectual property asserted by third parties and risks related to condition of the United States economy. Readers should also refer to the section entitled "Risk Factors" in Abaxis' annual report on Form 10-K, recent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and Abaxis' other periodic reports filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date the statements were made. Abaxis does not undertake and specifically disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
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