Executive Team

Roka Bioscience is led by a team of managers experienced in both the science and business of biological testing.

Paul G. Thomas
Founder / Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Thomas joined Roka Bioscience, a company focused on the development and commercialization of rapid, accurate and cost-effective molecular assays for biopharmaceutical processing, food safety and other industrial testing applications, as CEO and Founder in September 2009. Mr. Thomas previously served as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of LifeCell Corporation, a publicly traded regenerative medicine company, from 1998 until it was acquired by KCI in 2008. Prior to joining LifeCell, Mr. Thomas held various senior positions during his tenure of 15 years with Ohmeda, a world leader in inhalation anesthetics and acute care pharmaceuticals. Mr. Thomas received his M.B.A. degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and completed his postgraduate studies in Chemistry at the University of Georgia Graduate School of Arts and Science. He received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from St. Michael’s College in Vermont. Mr. Thomas serves as a Director of AbioMed, Inc. (NASDAQ: ABMD) a leading provider of medical devices that provide circulatory support to acute heart failure patients across the continuum of care in heart recovery. Mr. Thomas also serves as a Director of Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: AEGR) focused on the commercialization of a life-altering therapy for debilitating and fatal orphan diseases.

Steven T. Sobieski,
Senior Vice President / Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Sobieski joined Roka Bioscience in September 2009. He brings to Roka 20 years of financial management experience in a variety of roles in biotechnology and public accounting. Prior to joining Roka, Mr. Sobieski served from 2000 to 2009 as senior vice president and chief financial officer at LifeCell Corporation, a public company focused on developing and marketing reconstructive surgical products. Mr. Sobieski was vice president of finance at Osteotech, Inc., a public company focused on orthopedic products, where he also served in other positions, from 1991 to 2000. From 1981 through 1991, Mr. Sobieski was with Coopers & Lybrand, a public accounting firm. Mr. Sobieski received his BS in business administration from Monmouth University, his MBA degree with a concentration in accounting from Rutgers University, and he is a CPA. Mr. Sobieski serves as a director and chairman of the audit committee of Insulet Corporation, a public medical device company specializing in insulin infusion systems.

 

A.J. McCardell
Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations

Ms. McCardell joined Roka Bioscience in May 2010. Ms. McCardell brings 18 years of experience in the commercialization and sale of rapid microbiological detection systems in the food, pharmaceutical, and personal care markets. Before joining Roka’s Executive Team, Ms. McCardell was with Lonza Bioscience, serving as Global Director of Commercial Development for their Rapid Testing business from 2005 to 2010, and as the Business Unit Director of food safety testing for Strategic Diagnostics from 2001 to 2005.From 1992 to 2001, Ms. McCardell held positions of increasing responsibility at Dupont-Qualicon, where she assisted in the development, launch, and sale of the DuPont Riboprinter® and Bax® Systems, which became the market leader in molecular-based pathogen detection and identification systems for the food industry, and received the prestigious DuPont Marketing Excellence Award in 2001. Ms. McCardell received an M.S. degree in Soil Microbiology from the University of Delaware and conducted post-graduate studies in molecular microbiology at the University of Minnesota. She received her B.S. in Biology from Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania.

Wally Narajowski
Senior Vice President / General Manager

Mr. Narajowski joined Roka Bioscience as SVP and General Manager of the San Diego operation. He comes to Roka with over 25 years of experience in the business of life science. In the industry he is well known for his ability to take new technological concepts and turn them into successful businesses or major product lines. Before joining Roka, Mr. Narajowski served from 2005 to 2008 as president, chief executive officer of Pathway Diagnostics, a biomarker development and testing company, which was sold to Quest Diagnostics. Prior to Pathway, Mr. Narajowski served as vice president, general manager of Focus Diagnostics, an infectious disease reference laboratory and diagnostic product business. The majority of Mr. Narajowski’s career was with Abbott Laboratories where he served as vice president, general manager of critical care products, vice president, general manager of the infusion pump business, general manager of physician office diagnostics, and a director of research and development. Mr. Narajowski received his MS in bioengineering from the University of Utah, and his BS in electrical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Michael Becker
Vice President of Research and Development

Dr. Becker joined Roka Bioscience as Vice President of Assay Research and Development in September 2009. Before joining Roka, Mick worked 16 years at Gen-Probe, Inc. (now Hologic) in the Research Department where he invented a number of key core technologies including 2′methoxy modified primers and probes, specific target capture, nonspecific wobble target capture, smart capture probes and primers, molecular torches, real-time TMA, background reduction technology, and universal alkaline lysis. Mick has published over 100 papers and patents including over 40 issued US patents. Before joining Gen-Probe Mick was an Associate Professor in the Institute of Biosciences and Technology at Texas A&M University, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and an Anna Fuller Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard with James C. Wang. Mick received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Caltech in 1981 under Peter B. Dervan.

David R. Patterson
Vice President of Manufacturing Operations

Mr. Patterson joined Roka Bioscience as Vice President of Operations in September 2009. He has 18 years of experience in a variety of roles in the biotechnology field. Prior to joining Roka Bioscience, Mr. Patterson served as the Associate Director of Process Transfer at Gen-Probe, Inc. (now Hologic) responsible for scaling up, transferring, and launching assays, most notably the Procleix West Nile Virus and Ultrio (HIV-1/HCV/HBV) assays marketed by Novartis. Mr. Patterson’s 10 year tenure at Gen-Probe also included the following positions: Scientist on the HIV-1/HCV assay development team, Manager of the Process Support group, and Manager of Process Transfer. In addition, Mr. Patterson held various roles over 8 years at Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. He began as a research scientist where he earned patents in real-time PCR, carryover prevention methodology, and detection of HIV-1/HCV. He completed his career at Ortho-Clinical as the Operation’s Supervisor of the FDA (CBER) approved manufacturing facility for blood screening tests. Mr. Patterson received his B.S. degree in Biochemistry from the University of California at Riverside.

Lars Boesgaard
Vice President of Finance

Mr. Boesgaard joined Roka Bioscience in October 2009. Lars has more than 16 years’ experience in financial management, obtained primarily in the life sciences industries. Before joining Roka, Mr. Boesgaard was Vice President of Finance at Insulet Corporation from 2007 to 2009. From 2004 to 2007, Mr. Boesgaard served as Sr. Director of Financial Services for Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Mr. Boesgaard began his career holding various finance positions at Novo Nordisk A/S in Denmark and Japan. Mr. Boesgaard earned a BS in business administration from Copenhagen Business School and an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University in Ontario, Canada

Dan Behler
Vice President of Marketing

Mr. Behler joined Roka Bioscience as Vice President of Marketing in March of 2013. He brings to Roka 25 years of industrial diagnostics experience including 15 years in various marketing roles. Prior to joining Roka Bioscience, Mr. Behler held multiple marketing roles over his 9-year tenure at Becton Dickinson and Company, lastly as Director of Global Marketing, leading global marketing for its BD Diagnostics $100-million process monitoring and quality control testing business focused on the detection of microbial contamination in pharmaceuticals and food. Prior to BD Diagnostics, Mr. Behler led marketing and sales for Biotest Diagnostics Corporation’s industrial microbiology and contamination control business from 1998 to 2003. Mr. Behler held various positions in Research and Development, Quality Assurance and Operations at Cornwell Corp from 1987 to 1998. Mr. Behler received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and his Masters of Business Administration from Loyola University.