Charles Dunlop of Ambry Genetics Assumes Role of President;  Dr. Aaron Elliott Named CEO


Ambry Genetics
1 Enterprise
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

Aliso Viejo, CA – March 24, 2016 – Ambry Genetics (Ambry), a leader in clinical genetic diagnostics and genetics software solutions, today announces that Charles Dunlop, current CEO, has been appointed to the role of President and will continue to hold the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors. Aaron Elliott, PhD, current Chief Operating Officer and Chief Scientific Officer, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer.

Dunlop founded Ambry in 1999 in a small office above a Harley-Davidson motorcycle shop, after raising approximately $500,000 from friends and family. Shortly after, the company pioneered clinical sequencing of the cystic fibrosis gene (CFTR) and quickly became profitable, continually reinvesting profits back into the company. Ambry has grown dramatically, today offering clinical diagnostics for more than 600 genes. It now has 700 employees across four buildings throughout the country. Since its founding, the company has tested approximately half a million patient samples benefiting 90% of all U.S. patients covered by public and private insurers. Ambry has maintained its reputation in the industry for being the most fun and challenging biotech employer, having the highest quality service and technical capability, with fearlessness and creativity in its leadership to do what’s right for humanity in the face of all other considerations. To date the company has never accepted institutional investments, allowing it to remain scientist-run and science-driven.

Setting industry standards has been Ambry’s trademark for 16 years with a long list of first-to-market products. This includes being a pioneer in next generation sequencing by being the first to offer multi-gene panels for intellectual disability and hereditary cancer, as well as diagnostic exome sequencing on a clinical basis. After being overwhelmed with demand for much of the company’s existence, Ambry opened its Super Lab last month – one of the largest state-of-the-art laboratories in the world. This fully-automated system is expected to triple the number of patient samples currently processed on a daily basis, while improving upon best-in-industry technical abilities and scientific quality.

“I would not be resigning if it weren’t for having stage four prostate cancer, which is now in remission. Cancer sucks. The stress of the job coupled with my gene mutation leaves a high likelihood of bringing the cancer back,” said Dunlop. “But I must say, once the decision was made it occurred to me that Aaron Elliott would do a better job going forward. I don’t know if I could have made this decision without having Aaron around. The entire move to step down and offer Aaron the top job felt right. I’ve had zero doubts he can not only carry on the tradition, but it’s clear how much of the Ambry culture and brilliance was of his making, having been my wingman and only confidant for 8 years. To call him a natural successor would be giving me too much credit. Many of the best ideas and moves Ambry has done originated with him. So I’ll retreat into my cave and help Aaron when he asks; he’s totally got this.”

The decision was very personal one for Dunlop, citing his first obligations as a man were to his family. “Personally it is sad to build a company bootstrapped like I did, toughing it out, and having to step down while we are thriving with a progressive culture and scientific mindset, something I always dreamed of finding in my early career as a young scientist. I just wanted to get the job done and to have fun doing it; that’s the only reason I started Ambry in the first place. Ambry truly is the best biotech to work for, with nothing but hard-hitting productive work and laughter everywhere in the hallways. It’s the best company on Earth in my eyes, so to step down from it is emotional. Thankfully, Aaron was in the wings and more than ready.”

Dunlop will remain involved in the strategic direction of the company. He will also take a very active role in AmbryShare, which Ambry launched on March 8. This initiative supports the global medical research community by freely sharing anonymized and aggregated data of human genomes (exomes) to understand the genetics behind all human disease.

Prior to joining Ambry in 2008 as a research and development scientist, Dr. Elliott worked at Novartis developing genomic strategies to profile cancer stem cells. He has held numerous roles of executive responsibility at Ambry and has been integral in guiding the company through extreme periods of growth. A graduate of Franklin and Marshall College, Dr. Elliott conducted his Genetics Ph.D. training at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“Charlie has been a transformational leader not just for Ambry, but for the whole genetic testing industry. Genetic testing would not be where it is today if it were not for the bold decisions Charlie has made over his career – from being the first to launch new diagnostic tests and technologies desperately needed by clinicians into the market, to fighting gene patents, to his recent AmbryShare initiative to understand the genetic component of human disease. I am excited by the opportunity to lead Ambry and will continue to innovate and move the genetic testing industry forward, while maintaining the quality and customer service that Ambry was built upon.”

About Ambry Genetics ®

Ambry Genetics, as part of Konica Minolta Precision Medicine, excels at translating scientific research into clinically actionable test results based upon a deep understanding of the human genome and the biology behind genetic disease. Our unparalleled track record of discoveries over 20 years, and growing database that continues to expand in collaboration with academic, corporate and pharmaceutical partners, means we are first to market with innovative products and comprehensive analysis that enable clinicians to confidently inform patient health decisions. We care about what happens to real people, their families, and the people they love, and remain dedicated to providing them and their clinicians with deeper knowledge and fresh insights, so together they can make informed, potentially life-altering healthcare decisions. For more information, please visit

Press Contact:
Liz Squire
(202) 617-4662

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