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Spring 2014
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Barrett Bready
Bullish on Biotech
Brown-bred innovation and leadership.

You may call Adjunct Assistant Professor of Physiology Barrett Bready ’99 MD ’03 by his lengthy academic title, or you may call him CEO. The young Brown alumnus is at the helm of the newest tenant in Providence’s Jewelrycum-life-sciences-knowledge-District, NABsys, Inc.

Founded in 2005, NABsys is a DNA-sequencing startup based on technology developed at Brown. The company uses semiconductor technology to read DNA electronically. Current technology can sequence one
genome per machine in a week to a month. Bready believes the NABsys technology could do it in as little as one hour. His goal is to make the NABsys platform the cheapest and most accurate method of DNA  sequencing available. The product will help caregivers better understand the diseases they are treating and
apply the best combination of existing treatments or develop new ones—a central concept of personalized medicine.

NABsys announced in February that it had secured a $7 million round of venture funding on top of the $4  million equity round it closed in early 2009. The 11-employee company plans to double its size over the next year. Bready is excited about their recent move to the Jewelry District in Providence, two doors down from the Alpert Medical School expansion.

“The Jewelry District has a lot of advantages as a location for a robust life sciences cluster,” Bready says. “We have Brown, the teaching hospitals, proximity to life sciences venture capital firms, … a highly qualified work force...and a strategic geographic location between Boston and New York.”

Bready joined NABsys in 2005 as CEO and the company’s sole employee. Even while a medical student, he knew he wanted to make an impact on health care through technology. In 2002, he created a clinical elective
in biotechnology at Alpert Medical School, an initiative he says is the first program in the country to allow medical students to receive academic credit for rotating through biotechnology companies.

While he stays busy as CEO of an emerging life sciences company, Bready makes time to spread the word  about the potential of biotechnology. He teaches a class on the business of biotech at Brown.

“Biotechnology is going to be the biggest source of progress and change over the next 100 years,” Bready says. “The more students understand that, the better prepared for the future they will be.”

—Adapted from Today@
Brown by Susan Hsia Lew ’97
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