John West, founder and CEO of Personalis, Inc., has been involved in DNA sequencing and interpretation since 1982. He has held senior executive positions at Applied Biosystems, Solexa and Illumina.
Personalis’ CEO, John West, began his involvement in DNA sequencing, and DNA sequence interpretation, in 1982. In the 1980’s, he led the development of an automated DNA sequencing system based on pattern recognition from autoradiographs, and licensed software from the lab of Roger Staden at the MRC LMB in Cambridge, UK for sequence assembly and analysis. In the 1990’s, Mr. West was General Manager and subsequently President of Princeton Instruments, a company focused on low light scientific imaging. This technology was used in a number of fluorescent automated DNA sequencing developments. In 2001, Mr. West joined then market leader Applied Biosystems, as Vice President of Genetic Analysis. He was subsequently promoted to VP, DNA Platforms. While at Applied Biosystems, Mr. West’s group introduced the model 3730xl Genetic Analyzer. This product became the mainstay of almost every major genome center in the world.In 2004, Mr. West moved to be CEO of Solexa Ltd, a venture capital backed UK company focused primarily on single-molecule DNA sequencing. Mr. West realized that the company’s recent acquisition of DNA cluster technology could be transformative. In 2005 he led Solexa’s reverse merger into US-based and Nasdaq-listed Lynx Therapeutics, and led two PIPE financings totaling almost $100M. The company introduced its first system in mid-2006. Mr. West negotiated the January 2007 acquisition of Solexa by Illumina, Inc for approximately $600M, and stayed as VP of the DNA sequencing business there into 2008. During this time, Illumina became the world leader in next generation DNA sequencing.

From 2009 through mid-2011, Mr. West served as CEO of ViaCyte, Inc, a company leveraging stem cell technology to develop a diabetes cell therapy.

In late 2009, Mr. West’s family became the first healthy family of four have their genomes sequenced. Their experience working with the Stanford team on genome interpretation led to the foundation of Personalis.

Mr. West received BS and MS engineering degrees from MIT, and earned an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.