High Throughput DNA Testing

Turning Microbiology into Chemistry


About Us

Safeguard Biosystems is an international molecular diagnostics company which has developed a low cost, high-throughput, molecular diagnostic technology platform. The system enables rapid identification by DNA of the most prevalent bacterial and fungal pathogens directly from blood. Clinical samples can be tested from matrices such as whole blood, urine, peritoneal fluid and swabs. As a reflex test for positive samples, the system provides an extensive menu of tests to determine the presence of resistance genes.

Our system’s proprietary multiplexed PCR can deliver reliable and accurate results within hours directly from whole blood, without the need for culture (current “gold standard” tests are less reliable and take at least 1-3 days). The system enables physicians rapidly to diagnose the pathogens that cause a patient’s infection and prescribe appropriate antimicrobial therapy for singular or poly-microbial infections. Such earlier diagnoses can reduce morbidity and mortality as well as offering significant cost benefits for healthcare providers. Early and appropriate use of antibiotics is an important step in addressing the growing incidence of global antimicrobial resistance.

Safeguard is a UK company, incorporated in 2006 and headquartered in Northvale, New Jersey. The company was founded by Richard Strafehl and Barbara Merlo in Toronto, Canada. Today, Safeguard has an experienced management team with expertise in the research and development of molecular diagnostic tools, product optimisation , manufacturing, marketing and finance. It employs 20 scientists, clinical and regulatory experts at its dedicated laboratory facilities. Besides its main facility in Northvale, Safeguard has laboratories and offices in London, UK, Freiberg, Germany, and Toronto, Canada.

Safeguard’s technology has been validated by a third party and the company is currently seeking regulatory approval to launch its system during 2020.

Safeguard's technology has also been adapted to detect pathogens in infectious dairy cattle directly from milk - ensuring safe dairy food and healthy herds.

Safeguard is an equal partner in a Joint Venture in the Philippines where a clinical laboratory, Safeguard DNA Diagnostics Inc., has been established. The lab will use the Safeguard system to test samples of people suspected of infectious disease. The site will be fully operational by mid-May.

Management Team

George Aaron, CEO and Chairman

Mr Aaron joined Safeguard in 2012 following an extensive career in the Life Science industry including working at Schering Plough. He has a track record of building companies and delivering successful exits, including two diagnostic companies

Howard Sherman, CFO

Mr Sherman spent thirty years in corporate finance, private banking and business consultancy prior to joining Safeguard in 2006. He was previously at Charterhouse Bank, Unibank, and undertook Business Recovery.

Dr Holger Klapproth, Chief Scientific Officer

Dr Holger Klapproth has a masters degree in biology and a PhD in natural sciences. He started his professional career as head of lab at GeneScan Europe in 1997 quickly rising to head of R&D for Biochip Technologies - the high-tech part of GeneScan. He left GeneScan in 2001 to become an independent biotech advisor in the fields of diagnostic products and IP. He joined Safeguard in 2007 and currently holds the position of CSO. His scientific creativity is demonstrated by the more than 80 patent families he invented or co-invented.


Dr Marilyn Owens, Head of Development

Dr Owens has thirty years’ experience in microbiology and immunology including leading clinical laboratories and consultancy. She has a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from UCLA.


Deborah Wright, Head of Regulatory Affairs

Ms Wright has been in the medical device sector for 40 years primarily in molecular testing. She has held senior level management positions in large and start-up companies and successfully launched IVD and Research Use products in the US and Europe/ROW. At Safeguard, Deborah is responsible for Regulatory Affairs and Compliance.

Daniel Cohen, Chief Operating Officer

Mr Cohen is Safeguard's Head of Operations and has been with the company since 2016. Daniel is a trained microbiologist and has held senior management and operations positions. He holds a graduate degree in Biology from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel and a Bachelor's with honours from Columbia University.

Scientific Advisory Board

Dr Arthur Rubenstein MBBCh, Professor of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, and was former Dean of School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania. He was also former Director of LabCorp and Dean of Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NY

Dr Natan Keller, former Head of Infectious Disease Laboratory, Sheba Medical Center, Israel

Dr Mel Weinstein, Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Co-Director, Microbiology Laboratory at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Jersey

Dr Stephen Young, Director of Research and Clinical Trials at TriCore Reference Laboratories, New Mexico

Board of Directors

George Aaron, CEO and Executive Chairman

Mr Aaron joined Safeguard in 2012 following an extensive career in the Life Science industry including working at Schering Plough. He has a track record of building companies and delivering successful exits, including two diagnostic companies

Howard Sherman, CFO and Executive Director

Mr Sherman spent thirty years in corporate finance, private banking and business consultancy prior to joining Safeguard in 2006. He was previously at Charterhouse Bank, Unibank, and undertook Business Recovery.

Wayne Fox, Non-Executive Director

Mr Fox was formerly Managing Director and Deputy Chairman of CIBC World Markets and Chairman Toronto Stock Exchange

Dr Arthur Rubenstein MBBCh, Non-Executive Director

Dr Rubinstein is Professor of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, and was former Dean of School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania. He was also former Director of LabCorp and Dean of Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NY

James Culverwell, Non-Executive Director

Mr Culverwell was for 25 years a leading healthcare investment analyst, formerly SVP and Global Coordinator Healthcare at Merrill Lynch. He has been a non-executive director in early stage life science companies, including NASDAQ and AIM listed, and is currently Chairman of HOX Therapeutics