Robin Toft, CEO and Founder of Toft Group, Named 2017 Business Woman of the Year by San Diego Business Journal

Executive search firm Toft Group today announced that its CEO, president and founder, Robin Toft, has been selected as a 2017 Business Woman of the Year in the small business category by the San Diego Business Journal (SDBJ).

The annual Business Women of the Year program recognizes women business leaders who are making a difference in their workplaces and communities. Nominees were evaluated based on their innovation, entrepreneurship, professional accomplishment and community leadership.

“San Diego is home to many smart, highly successful and community focused small business owners, who happen to be women, so it is truly an honor to be selected for this award,” said Ms. Toft. “I’m incredibly proud of our team at Toft Group whose dedication is critical to the success of the company, and I want to thank each of them for their tireless work that has enabled Toft Group’s incredible growth and success.”

Toft Group, a global executive search firm fully devoted to life sciences, has an extensive track record of quickly filling highly specialized leadership roles while ensuring a strong cultural fit. Searches are completed efficiently and effectively, translating to time and cost savings for clients. Notably, nearly 60 percent of placed candidates are identified within two weeks of search initiation — results which are made possible by the company’s commitment to dedicated timelines, strong referral network and highly experienced search consultants.

In addition to Toft Group’s proven ability to help companies build strong, successful teams, Ms. Toft is committed to giving back to the San Diego community. She served on four non-profit boards in 2016, including the Go Red for Women movement of the American Heart Association, the Cancer Foundation at Scripps Mercy Hospital, the leadership organization LEAD San Diego, and the Clearity Foundation, which helps women with ovarian cancer obtain molecular profiling of their tumors and access to clinical trials. Additionally, in 2017, Ms. Toft formed the Women Executive Career Advancement Network (WE CAN) to enable leading executive women to mentor, bond, and inspire each other in their life sciences careers. She has also been a top fundraiser and dedicated walker in the San Diego Susan G. Komen 3-Day / 60 mile walk to support breast cancer research and early detection every year since Toft Group opened in San Diego in 2010.

About Toft Group

Toft Group is a global executive search firm fully devoted to life sciences and healthcare, with a focus on innovation-driven companies at the intersection of biotech and high tech. Toft Group’s targeted, accurate searches translate into exceptional return-on-investment for clients nationwide, and the team’s extensive networks enable the presentation of more highly qualified and diverse candidates than clients would otherwise see. The firm’s extensive track record has shown its ability to quickly fill highly specialized leadership roles where talent is limited. The company has offices in the three major U.S. biotech hubs: San Diego, San Francisco and Boston. Visit to learn more.


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Toft Group Completes Executive Search for Veracyte, Inc. (NYSE: VCYT) in South San Francisco, CA

Executive search firm Toft Group has placed Ms. Jessica Meng as Vice President of Marketing at Veracyte, Inc., in South San Francisco, CA. She has spent the past 13 years in progressive roles within Genentech, formerly serving as the Marketing Director for Avastin where she led strategy and revenue growth. She holds an MBA in Marketing & Strategic Management from the University of Pennsylvania.

About Veracyte

Veracyte (Nasdaq: VCYT) is pioneering the field of molecular cytology, focusing on genomic solutions that resolve diagnostic ambiguity and enable physicians to make more informed treatment decisions at an early stage in patient care. By improving preoperative diagnostic accuracy, the company aims to help patients avoid unnecessary invasive procedures while reducing healthcare costs. Veracyte’s first commercial solution, the Afirma® Thyroid FNA Analysis, centers on the proprietary Afirma Gene Expression Classifier (GEC) to resolve ambiguity in diagnosis and is becoming a new standard of care in thyroid nodule assessment. Since launching its Afirma solution in 2011, Veracyte estimates it has helped approximately 10,000 patients with thyroid nodules avoid unnecessary surgery, reducing healthcare costs by millions of dollars. Afirma is recommended in leading practice guidelines and is covered for more than 135 million lives in the United States, including through Medicare and most commercial insurance plans. Veracyte intends to expand its molecular cytology franchise to other clinical areas, beginning with difficult-to-diagnose lung diseases. The company is in late product development for a genomic test to resolve preoperative ambiguity in lung nodules that are suspicious for cancer. Veracyte is also developing a second product in pulmonology, targeting interstitial lung diseases that include idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Toft Group Completes Executive Search for LabCorp (NYSE: LH) in Burlington, NC

Executive search firm Toft Group has placed Ms. Karen Walsh as Executive Director, Health Systems, Northeast at LabCorp in New Jersey. She has served in progressive roles with Virtua Health over the past 35 years, most recently serving as the Assistant Vice President at Virtua Corporate Laboratory where she managed strategic planning, operations and finance for corporate labs. She holds a Master’s in Human Services and Health Care Administration Specialization from Capella University in Minneapolis.

About LabCorp

Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings (NYSE: LH), an S&P 500 company, is the world’s leading healthcare diagnostics company, providing comprehensive clinical laboratory and end-to-end drug development services. With a mission to improve health and improve lives, LabCorp delivers world-class diagnostic solutions, brings innovative medicines to patients faster and develops technology-enabled solutions to change the way care is provided. With net revenue in excess of $8.5 billion in 2015, LabCorp’s 50,000 employees serve clients in 60 countries.

Toft Group Completes Executive Search for LabCorp (NYSE: LH) in Burlington, NC

Executive search firm Toft Group has placed Ms. Mary Martorana as Strategic Director, Health Systems at LabCorp in Burlington, NC. She offers 30+ years of healthcare industry experience, most recently serving as Laboratory Manager for Meridian Health supporting 3 hospitals. She earned a Master’s in Biology from Montclair State University.

About LabCorp

Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings (NYSE: LH), an S&P 500 company, is the world’s leading healthcare diagnostics company, providing comprehensive clinical laboratory and end-to-end drug development services. With a mission to improve health and improve lives, LabCorp delivers world-class diagnostic solutions, brings innovative medicines to patients faster and develops technology-enabled solutions to change the way care is provided. With net revenue in excess of $8.5 billion in 2015, LabCorp’s 50,000 employees serve clients in 60 countries.

Toft Group Completes Executive Search for Avacta Life Sciences (LON: AVCT)

Executive search firm Toft Group has placed Dr. Matthew Vincent as Vice President Business Development focused on the North American market. Dr. Vincent is a senior executive with over 25 years’ experience in multiple areas of biotechnology and life science. He joins Avacta from Arisaph Pharmaceuticals where he led corporate development and therapeutic innovation strategy delivering around $100m in license revenues in the past three years. Prior to Arisaph, Matthew was Director of Business Development at Ocata Therapeutics where he had responsibility for all commercial affairs including product licensing and divestment, asset acquisition and complex commercial negotiations as well as the eventual acquisition of Ocata by Astellas Pharmaceuticals. Matthew’s experience also includes developing therapeutic product profiles for regenerative medicine and immuno-oncology, pricing/reimbursement and regulatory strategy. From his previous work as a lawyer and patent attorney, he has experience in worldwide patent portfolio strategy and IP diligence, regulatory affairs strategy, private and public financing and patent litigation.

About Avacta Life Sciences

Avacta Group plc is dedicated to providing life scientists with high quality, powerful tools to enable them to work faster and smarter in accelerating our understanding of biology and disease, and to help them apply these advances to diagnosis and treatment.

Avacta came to the AIM market in 2006 to provide instrumentation, consumables and reagents for life science researchers. The Group’s activities are now focused on Affimer® technology, an engineered alternative to antibodies, which it is commercializing through Avacta Life Sciences.

Toft Group Completes Executive Search for Therapeutics, Inc., in San Diego, CA



Executive search firm Toft Group has placed Mr. David Spencer as Head of Business Development at Therapeutics, Inc., in San Diego, CA. He brings 25 years of experience spanning scientific research, business development, and pharmaceutical sales. He formerly served as Manager of Business Development at Robarts Clinical Trials we he supported translation science, clinical R&D, sales and business development efforts for this recognized leader in clinical trial research. He earned a Master’s in Biology/Immunology at Case Western Reserve University as well as an MBA in Entrepreneurship, Banking & Finance.

About Therapeutics, Inc.

Therapeutics, Inc. designs, creates, and executes development programs for FDA registration of topical, oral and injectable dermatology drugs, biologics and devices. In addition to designing and managing Phase 1-4 dermatology studies, we maximize clients’ commercial success by supporting management of competitive technologies, regulatory strategy and compliance, market dynamics, competitive intelligence, reimbursement, product life cycle, and more.

Toft Group Completes Executive Search for FIND in Geneva, Switzerland

Executive search firm Toft Group has placed Dr. Ranga Sampath as Chief Scientific Officer at FIND in Geneva, Switzerland.  Dr. Sampath comes to FIND after co-founding the Ibis division of Abbott where he served as the Volwiler Sr. Residential Fellow & Senior Director for 8 years, and where he lead Ibis’ PCR/ESI-MS technology and application development for infectious disease diagnostics. He has 40 United States issued patents and has published over 90 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Sampath earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, and his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Rice University.

About FIND

FIND was established in 2003 as a global non-profit dedicated to accelerating the development, evaluation and delivery of high-quality, affordable diagnostic tests for poverty-related diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, sleeping sickness, hepatitis C, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease and Buruli ulcer, as well as for fighting antimicrobial resistance and supporting outbreak preparedness. Over the last decade, FIND has partnered in the delivery of 20 new diagnostic tools, including ten for tuberculosis, and created an enabling environment for numerous others through the provision of specimen banks, reagent development and better market visibility. FIND also supports better access to new diagnostics through price negotiations, implementation, quality assurance and lab strengthening work. FIND has over 100 partners globally, including research institutes and laboratories, health ministries and national disease control programmes, commercial partners, bilateral and multilateral organizations, especially WHO, and clinical trial sites.

Toft Group Completes Executive Search for aTyr Pharma in San Diego, CA

Executive search firm Toft Group has placed Dr. Sanna Rosengren as Director of Immunology at aTyr Pharma in San Diego, CA. Dr. Rosengren specializes in autoimmune and inflammatory disease, previously leading the cancer immunology program for testing of novel immunomodulatory biologicals in preclinical tumor models at Halozyme Therapeutics. She holds a PhD in Physiology from the University of Uppsala, Sweden.

About aTyr Pharma

aTyr Pharma is engaged in the discovery and clinical development of innovative medicines for patients using its knowledge of Physiocrine biology, a newly discovered set of immunological and physiological pathways. To date, aTyr has generated three innovative therapeutic programs with three different biologic modalities based on its knowledge of the Resokine pathway to treat patients suffering from severe, rare immune-mediated diseases, as well as various cancers. The Resolaris and iMod.Fc programs are agonists of the Resokine pathway designed to temper immune system engagement in diseases characterized by excessive immune cell involvement. aTyr’s third program, ORCA, represents a novel, proprietary pathway in immuno-oncology that utilizes antibody approaches to block the Resokine pathway and ‘release multiple brakes’ on the immune system in the tumor cell environment. aTyr has built an intellectual property estate, to protect its pipeline, comprising over 220 issued patents or allowed patent applications that are owned or exclusively licensed, including over 300 potential Physiocrine-based protein compositions.

Toft Group Completes Executive Search for Irvine Scientific in Santa Ana, CA

Executive search firm Toft Group has placed Mr. Paul Altamirano as Director of Manufacturing Operations at Irvine Scientific in Santa Ana, CA. Previously, Mr. Altamirano served as Director of Manufacturing and Operations at Nanosys where he oversaw Supply Chain, Quality, Engineering and EHS functions since 2009. He holds an MBA from the University of Houston.

About Irvine Scientific

Irvine Scientific was established in 1970 to produce serum products for the cell culture market. From those beginnings, Irvine Scientific emerged and grew to become a respected innovator of cell culture products. Over the years, Irvine Scientific has evolved its products, services, and operations to become multi-disciplined, international in scope, and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the area of cell culture media.

Toft Group Completes Vice President of Sales Search for OncoCyte Corporation (NYSE: OCX) in Alameda, CA

OncoCyte Corporation (NYSE: OCX), a developer of novel, non-invasive tests for the early detection of cancer, today announced that Michael G. Vicari has been appointed to the newly created position of Vice President of Sales. Mr. Vicari will report directly to William Annett, President and Chief Executive Officer. He will be responsible for the development and successful implementation of the Company’s domestic and international sales strategies, with an initial focus on the expected fourth quarter U.S. launch of DetermaVu™, the Company’s liquid biopsy lung cancer diagnostic.

“Our commitment to building out and executing our sales strategy reflects our plan to make DetermaVu™ the first test of its kind to reach the medical market, and we expect the U.S. commercial launch in the fourth quarter of this year,” said Mr. Annett. “Michael’s experience building and leading sales organizations at major diagnostic companies, and proven success in driving significant revenues, will be invaluable as we launch DetermaVu™ and drive adoption by physicians.”

Robin Toft, President and CEO of Toft Group said: “We are thrilled to have worked with the senior leadership of OncoCyte, and congratulate Mike on his new role. We have every confidence that he will make an exceptional contribution to the company’s continued success.”

Mr. Vicari brings 35 years of successful sales and marketing leadership within the healthcare industry, including the launch of several important diagnostic products. Before joining OncoCyte, he was with Eurofins Scientific as Vice President of Sales & Marketing for the Clinical Diagnostics business where he established two separate sales and marketing organizations for EGL (rare genetic testing) & NTD (prenatal testing) while leading all commercial functions.

Prior to Eurofins, he was Vice President of Sales for Sequenom, Inc., leading sales and strategy for nearly five years.  While at Sequenom, Mr. Vicari led the successful launch of their revolutionary women’s health test, NIPT MaterniT21, and launching of the Universal Carrier Screen, NIPT VisibiliT, and drove overall Sequenom sales from $0 to over $150 million per year. Prior to Sequenom, Mr. Vicari was the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Oncology/HIV at Monogram Biosciences before it was acquired by LabCorp. In this role, he led sales, marketing and clinical training and also managed the launch of HerMark for breast cancer. Mr. Vicari has served in senior commercial leadership roles at Genentech, Corixa Oncology, and MedImmune.

“OncoCyte is approaching an exciting inflection point as it prepares for the anticipated launch of DetermaVu™, and I’m thrilled that I will be spearheading the launch and commercial rollout of this important product,” commented Mr. Vicari. “DetermaVu™ has the potential to change the paradigm in lung cancer diagnostics, thereby saving lives and lowering treatment costs for millions of patients by helping to identify lung cancer at an earlier, more treatable stage, and reducing the need for potentially dangerous and expensive invasive biopsies. I look forward to working tirelessly with the entire team to make DetermaVu™ a commercial success.”

About Toft Group Executive Search

Toft Group Executive Search is “Changing the Future, One Relationship at a Time” and we take pride in the fact that our work helps our clients accelerate getting novel products to market. We are a global retained executive search firm that is 100% dedicated to life sciences & healthcare industries.  Our customers include biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, digital health, and diagnostic companies. With offices in San Francisco, San Diego, and Boston, we assist a wide range of local, national and international companies – from venture backed start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations.

About OncoCyte Corporation

OncoCyte is focused on the development and commercialization of novel, non-invasive blood and urine (“liquid biopsy”) diagnostic tests for the early detection of cancer to improve health outcomes through earlier diagnoses, to reduce the cost of care through the avoidance of more costly diagnostic procedures, including invasive biopsy and cystoscopic procedures, and to improve the quality of life for cancer patients. While current biopsy tests use invasive surgical procedures to provide tissue samples in order to determine if a tumor is benign or malignant, OncoCyte is developing a next generation of diagnostic tests that will be based on liquid biopsies using blood or urine samples. OncoCyte’s pipeline products are intended to be confirmatory diagnostics for detecting lung, breast and bladder cancer. OncoCyte’s diagnostic tests are being developed using proprietary sets of genetic and protein markers that differentially express in specific types of cancer.