Our Team

Rick Birkmeyer, PhD

Chief Executive Officer

Rick-BirkmeyerRichard Birkmeyer is a seasoned executive and an accomplished entrepreneur with a proven track record. Before joining Tangen Biosciences, Rick was CEO at CD Diagnostics, Inc. The company developed diagnostic tests for biomarkers. The company won numerous awards and the tests are the gold standard in the orthopedic industry.  The company was purchased by Zimmer Biomet in 2017.

Prior to CD, Rick founded Strategic Diagnostics, Inc. a leading provider of biotechnology-based detection solutions for a broad range of food, water, agricultural, industrial, environmental and life science applications.  As its CEO, Rick grew revenues to $26 million and operated the business profitably.  Rick established and implemented highly successful strategic corporate partnerships with Fortune 100 companies, raised venture capital financing, and completed six acquisitions including utilizing a financial reverse merger in 1996 to create a publicly traded company NASDAQ: (SDIX) and liquidity for SDI’s venture capital investors.

Prior to founding Strategic Diagnostics, Rick was employed by E.I. duPont de Nemours and Company, most recently as a Manufacturing Product Manager responsible for production of 26 immunoassays for the clinical diagnostics market. Rick also serves as a general partner for Leading Edge Ventures.

Rick received his B.S. in Biology from the State University of New York, Plattsburgh and his Ph.D. in biochemistry and immunology from the State University of New York, Binghamton. Rick also completed post-doctoral research in immunogenetics at Iowa State University.

John Davidson, PhD

Chief Science Officer


John-Davidson, PhD

John Davidson co-founded Tangen Biosciences in 2013 with John Nobile. John has focused on bringing to market the TangenDx System, a highly sensitive molecular platform for rapid diagnosis of infectious disease. John received his PhD from Harvard University in 2000 and followed up with a post-doctoral research fellowship in Cancer Biology at the University of Washington, where he developed processive DNA polymerase proteins to reduce error rates during PCR. John joined Blue Heron Biotechnology in 2003, where he invented a novel cell-free DNA error correction method, and implemented it into an automated gene synthesis platform. John joined Ion Torrent in April 2008, before the company had demonstrated proof of concept and prior to acquisition by Life Technologies in 2010. John’s expertise in polymerase engineering and molecular biology was instrumental in developing and bringing to market the first semiconductor-based DNA sequencing instrument – The Ion Personal Genome Machine™ (PGM™) System. As the senior Director for R&D, John was the technical lead for the Ion Proton™ System platform which successfully launched in 2012 together with a suite of automated sample preparation solutions.

Keith Kardos, PhD


VP, Clinical Affairs

Keith W. Kardos, Ph.D. has over 25 years of experience managing R&D programs. As the leader of our R&D team at CD Diagnostics, Keith executed a comprehensive R&D plan for the company’s proprietary synovial fluid assays, including development, validation, and regulatory approval. Additionally, he managed collaborations and relationships with strategic partner and lead efforts to transition CD’s joint fluid tests to their CLIA laboratory.  Dr. Kardos was formerly employed as the Vice President, Research and Development for OraSure Technologies, Inc. Keith’s responsibilities with OraSure included overseeing all phases of new product development from initial feasibility to product launch. He was also responsible for managing technical support for existing products. At OraSure, Dr. Kardos had direct involvement in the development of 15 products in the areas of drugs of abuse, infectious disease and insurance risk assessment. He has been awarded four U.S. patents and has two pending applications. He has a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Lehigh University.


Anne Cavanaugh

Director, Finance

Anne is a successful business person and entrepreneur who co-founded Strategic Diagnostics Inc. (SDI), a biotechnology company specializing in diagnostic products for agricultural and environmental applications.  At SDI, Anne was a key member of a team that raised $10 million in funding from corporate partners and venture capital funds, completed numerous acquisitions, and created a public company that traded on Nasdaq.  SDI rapidly grew to a $200 million market capitalization with over 200 employees, conducting operations in Delaware, Maine, California, and the UK. Anne spent two years as Managing Director of SDI Europe in Hampshire, England, overseeing European operations and managing a network of 25 distributors.  

Anne was most recently employed as Operations Director at CD Diagnostics Inc. CDD develops novel diagnostic products for joint diseases and was acquired by Zimmer Biomet Holdings in 2016.  

Brian Chirico

Vice President, Operations


Brian-Chirico, VP, Operations

Brian Chirico has over 30 years of Life Sciences Operations experience for both analytical and diagnostic instrumentation and reagents at Perkin Elmer, 454 Life Sciences, and Roche Diagnostics.  As part of the 454 team, he spearheaded the scale up of manufacturing for next generation sequencing systems including MRP, Quality Systems, Documentation Control, and Supplier Qualification.

As part of the Roche team, Brian’s focus was integrating newly acquired pre-commercialized IVD businesses and ensuring successful launch activities which included support of clinical trials, customer support, documentation, labelling, Operations Gap Analysis, and reliability assessment. Brian has a BSEE from the University of Bridgeport and is 6Sigma Black Belt Certified.

Robert McNamee, CCRP

Director, Quality Assurance


Bob-McNamee, Quality Assurance

Robert McNamee has over 25 years’ Quality Management expertise in early phase development, implementation and management of FDA 21 CFR part 820 and ISO 13485 compliant Quality Management Systems.

Robert has a reputation for being a “hands on” manager and respected leader in areas of Quality Assurance, Compliance, Risk Management, Deviation Management, Corrective and Preventive Action, Continuous Quality Improvement, Key Performance Indicators, Analysis of Quality Metrics, Clinical Site Monitoring, Process Validation, Supplier Qualification and Internal Audit.

Robert’s previous employers include: 4Catalyzer, an accelerator for Butterfly Network, Hyperfine Research and LAM Therapeutics, 454 Lifesciences a Roche Company, DIANON Systems, a LabCorp Company, Diagnostic Oncology, CRO and United States Surgical Corporation.

Robert holds certifications as a Clinical Research Professional and ISO Lead Auditor.

Kristopher Panaro

Senior Engineer

Kristopher Panaro

Kristopher Panaro, Senior Engineer

Kristopher Panaro joined Tangen in 2015 as an Electrical Engineer and has over 17 years of professional experience in the fields of Aerospace, Consumer Electronics, and Medical Devices. He has 12 successful products designed and delivered to market.  He is driven by a curiosity of how things work and a desire to create great products that have a positive impact to the end user.

Kristopher believes education is the foundation to the strength needed for continued success and strives to both learn and teach whenever possible.  A team with a strong foundation is a team that delivers a great product. Kristopher has a BSEE, SUNY Buffalo, 2002.

Bernard Puc

Director, Software Engineering


Bernard-Puc, Software Engineering

Bernard Puc is the Director of Software Engineering at Tangen Biosciences. Bernard has over 20 years’ experience using his software engineering expertise to bring innovative technologies to market in a 30-plus year career developing instrumentation technologies.

He has lead software engineering teams in several successful start-up ventures in the biotech industry. He developed software for the GS-20 and GS FLX, the first-to-market next-generation genomic sequencers at 454 Life Sciences, as well as the PGM, Proton, and S5 sequencing systems at Ion Torrent Systems.

Before turning to software development, Bernard worked in hardware development in the aerospace industry working for NASA on projects such as Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, Mars Observer, and Chandra X-ray Observatory. Bernard has a B.S. in Physics from The College of William and Mary and an M.S. in Technology Management at the University of Maryland.