SomaLogic announces Paul Menter as VP and General Manager, Life Science Tools

SomaLogic announces Paul Menter as VP and General Manager, Life Science Tools

7/8/2014

SomaLogic, Inc. announced today that Paul Menter has joined the company as Vice President & General Manager, Life Science Tools. “I am delighted that Paul has joined SomaLogic to oversee our growing Life Science Tools business,” said Byron Hewett, Chief Executive Officer. “Paul’s unparalleled expertise in building and leading similar efforts at other world-class companies makes him the ideal person to help us ensure that our unique technology fully penetrates the life science marketplace.”

“I am excited to join the SomaLogic team and to help them develop and market the many exciting new research tools made possible by their breakthrough proteomics technology,” said Paul. “I look forward to working with my new colleagues to provide the life science community with powerful new solutions for biomarker discovery and drug development.“

In his new role, Paul will be responsible for overseeing the growth of SomaLogic’s current proteomics tools offerings, as well as the expansion in number and type of new tools available to life sciences researchers. Such tools include the SOMAscan™ assay (a way to measure >1100 proteins accurately and reproducibly in a small biological sample), SOMAmer® reagents (SomaLogic’s proprietary protein-binding molecules that are the equivalent of high-quality monoclonal antibodies), and specific “panels” to measure protein changes in more targeted biological pathways or physiological conditions.

Paul joins SomaLogic with more than 20 years of executive experience in the life science tools industry. He served most recently as General Manager, Bioseparations at Thermo Fisher Scientific and Dionex Corporation (prior to its acquisition by Thermo), where he was responsible for defining and developing growth opportunities in the biopharma market. Prior to joining Dionex, he served as a consultant, providing guidance in general management, strategic planning and market development to life science tools providers. Previously, Paul served as Division Manager, Laboratory Separations, at Bio-Rad Laboratories, responsible for the company’s protein separation and analysis business, and as Division Manager, North America Sales & Service for Bio-Rad’s life science tools business. Paul held a series of other roles during his tenure at Bio-Rad including Division, Business Unit and Marketing Management, and began his career in technical support and product management. Paul holds a B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Microbiology from Arizona State University.


SomaLogic joins UK Dementias Research Platform

SomaLogic joins UK Dementias Research Platform

6/19/2014

 

SomaLogic announced today that is a launch partner of the Medical Research Council’s (MRC) UK Dementias Research Platform (UKDP), a £16 million ($27 million) public-private partnership set up to speed up research into dementias. According to the MRC’s press release, the collaboration aims to enable earlier detection, improved treatment and, ultimately, prevention of the disease, by looking not just at what is going wrong in the brain, but at the brain in the context of the whole body.

The UKDP brings together both industry expertise and investigator teams from eight  universities, and teams them with what will be the world’s largest group of participants in dementias research (more than two million people). The Platform will investigate the causes of dementia across a range of different neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease.

The Platform has attracted industry partners from both within the UK and abroad: Araclon; MedImmune, the global biologics research & development arm of AstraZeneca; GSK; IXICO; Janssen Research & Development in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation; and SomaLogic. The academic partners are: Cardiff University (academic lead), University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, Newcastle University, University of Oxford, Swansea University and University College London.

More information about the Platform can be found on the MRC website.


SomaLogic announces extension of funding for development of TB diagnostic test

SomaLogic announces extension of funding for development of TB diagnostic test

6/2/2014

SomaLogic, Inc., announced today that it has received additional funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to further develop and validate a SOMAmer-based tuberculosis (TB) biomarker assay for the accurate identification of persons with active TB. This new funding recognizes and extends the successful work completed under the initial TB biomarkers grant awarded to SomaLogic in January 2012 through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health program.

“We are delighted that the Gates Foundation is as excited about our work to date as we have been,” said Urs Ochsner, head of the Infectious Diseases Research Group at SomaLogic and the Principal Investigator on the foundation grant. “Their decision to generously support the further development of our efforts will help us accelerate the realization of our shared goal of defining a low-cost, simple to use tool that can quickly and accurately diagnose TB in developing countries.” Dr. Ochsner will be presenting the current status of his team’s work at a free webinar on June 25, 2014 at 11:00 am EDT.

Under the initial 2012 Grand Challenges in Global Health grant, Ochsner and his colleagues developed SOMAmer® reagents (aptamer-based protein-binding molecules) against TB proteins and combined them with SOMAmer reagents that bound human host proteins that change during TB infection. These combined TB protein and human protein-based SOMAmer reagents will be the basis for evaluating the feasibility of a rapid and effective TB diagnostic test, under this new funding. In addition, the researchers will evaluate the new test in multiple biological sample types (serum, plasma and urine), all of which have shown significant promise in early experiments.

The most beneficial diagnostic TB test would need to measure both multiple TB bacterial proteins as well as the host proteins involved in the onset and progression of the disease. In addition, it must perform effectively in the conditions in the parts of the world where TB is most often rampant. SomaLogic’s breakthrough SOMAmer-based proteomic technology, based on protein-detecting reagents called “SOMAmers,” provides clear advantages over current reagents and methods used in TB tests in terms of accuracy, sensitivity, stability (e.g., no need for refrigeration), ease of production and cost: In short, all of the attributes necessary to develop a POC diagnostic device for remote and resource-poor areas of the world.

In line with the Gates Foundation’s Global Access policy, SomaLogic is committed to ensuring that the knowledge gained during this project is promptly and broadly disseminated, and that diagnostic tests that come from this work will be made available and accessible at a reasonable cost to the developing world.


SomaLogic announces first “early-access” site for SOMAscan assay

SomaLogic announces first “early-access” site for SOMAscan assay

6/10/2014

SomaLogic, Inc. announced today that the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania is the first biomedical research center that will offer researchers on-site access to the SOMAscan™ assay, the most powerful proteomics platform available today. The assay will be performed at Penn’s Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT), under the leadership of Daniel J. Rader, MD, associate director of ITMAT and chair of the Department of Genetics., and Stephen Master, MD, PhD,  assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of ITMAT’s Translational Core Laboratory. It is expected that the SOMAscan assay will be fully functional at Penn by midsummer 2014.

“We are delighted that our first partner in bringing our powerful technology to more researchers is the University of Pennsylvania,” said Byron Hewett, Chief Executive Officer of SomaLogic. “The leadership of Dr. Rader and Dr. Master, together with the University’s reputation and skills in applying cutting edge biotechnology tools to critical biomedical questions, will help ensure that this first non-SomaLogic center for our SOMAscan assay will be successful.”

SomaLogic’s breakthrough SOMAscan proteomic assay efficiently, accurately, and rapidly identifies and quantifies 1,129 proteins across a wide range of concentrations in small volumes of multiple biological sample types. Compared to other current proteomic technologies, SomaLogic’s breadth and depth of coverage offers unprecedented power for protein biomarker discovery, diagnostics development, and pharmaceutical discovery and development. Until now, it has only been offered as a service through SomaLogic at its laboratories in Boulder, CO.

“SOMAscan is powerful technology that has the potential to enhance translational research in a number of ways.  We are excited to be the first biomedical research center to make the assay more accessible to researchers and expect there to be a high demand, ” said Dr. Rader.*

“Our goal is to get this powerful tool into the hands of as many researchers as possible, as soon as possible,” said Hewett. “We anticipate announcing several additional centers over the next few months, and are carefully evaluating additional requests from many different research centers for SOMAscan placement at their respective institutions.”

The SOMAscan placement is the first under an agreement between Agilent Technologies and SomaLogic to expand access to the SOMAscan platform in research centers in addition to the commercial SOMAscan service offered directly by SomaLogic throughout the U.S. and internationally.


SomaLogic names Dan Muehl as new CFO

SomaLogic names Dan Muehl as new CFO

4/1/2014

SomaLogic, Inc. announced today that Dan Muehl has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). “I am delighted that Dan has agreed to join us during this critical growth period for SomaLogic,” said Byron Hewett, Chief Executive Officer. “His financial and personal skills are an ideal match for our culture and team, and for the challenging work ahead of us.”

“I am excited to join the SomaLogic team and to contribute to the continued success of their hard work over the past 14 years,” said Dan. “The tremendous potential of the powerful technology they have developed is unlike anything I have seen before, and I look forward to working with my new colleagues to seize the many opportunities before us.“

Dan joins Somalogic with more than 28 years of financial management experience including CFO roles at three publicly traded technology growth companies. At Somalogic, he will apply his expertise in finance and operations management, strategic partnering, financing, investor relations, compliance, and mergers and acquisitions to accelerate the company’s progress toward commercialization of new products and services and coordinating additional funding for continued growth. Prior to joining Somalogic, Dan was CFO of bio-industrial company OPX Biotechnologies, where he closed $47 million in equity and debt financing; vice president of finance at bio-pharmaceutical company Pharmion (prior to its acquisition by Celgene); CFO at biotechnology company Repligen Corporation; CFO at medical device manufacturer Physiometrix Inc.; and CFO and chief operating officer at Number Nine Visual Technology, a computer graphics design and manufacturing company. Dan began his career in public accounting at Ernst & Young. He earned a B.S. in accounting from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst and received his CPA certificate in 1990.

Dan is taking over the CFO position from Scott Kothlow, who has chosen to step away from the role in order to focus on other business needs at SomaLogic. “All of us here are deeply indebted to Scott for his steadfast and strong financial leadership this past almost 14 years,” Said Byron Hewett. “We are also very happy that he will continue to be a part of SomaLogic, bringing his deep experience and insight to our continued efforts.”


SomaLogic scientists and colleagues publish two papers describing IL-6 SOMAmers

SomaLogic scientists and colleagues publish two papers describing IL-6 SOMAmers

1/12/2014

In a pair of papers published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry on January 12, 2014, a group of SomaLogic researchers and their colleagues at Otsuka Pharmaceuticals and Emerald Bio describe the development of new SOMAmer reagents that can block signaling by interleukin-6 (IL-6, a critical protein involved in inflammation and cancer), as well as the structural interaction of the two molecules. This work both confirms the unique protein-binding properties of SOMAmers and underlines their potential as a new class of therapeutic reagents.

Signaling by IL-6 through its cellular receptors is known to play a major role in a wide range of biological activities, including immune responses, blood cell development, and even the proliferation of different types of cancer. Because of its multiple effects in a range of diseases, the IL-6 signaling pathway has been the target of many pharmaceutical intervention strategies. However, there is a wide variation in patient responses to these different approaches, suggesting that targeting the actual signaling molecule itself could be an effective approach for patients who do not respond to these other therapies.

The SomaLogic team and their colleagues used the SELEX process to identify SOMAmers that could bind IL-6 with high affinity and block its ability to interact with its cellular receptors. These SOMAmers were then further optimized, and then shown to be effective inhibitors of IL-6 in a variety of settings. Furthermore, the optimized SOMAmers demonstrated significantly improved stability in human serum, underlining their potential as possible therapeutic reagents. Further research is underway.

In addition to the functional studies, the research team analyzed the crystal structure of the new SOMAmers bound to their IL-6 target protein. This analysis confirmed the unique binding properties of SOMAmers compared to traditional aptamers and other protein-binding molecules, a result of the incorporation of modified nucleic acids into the DNA backbone.

Manuscript links:

AD Gelinas et al. (2014) Crystal Structure of Interleukin-6 in Complex with a Modified Nucleic Acid Ligand. J. Biol. Chem. Jan 12, 2014 (epub ahead of print). MEDLINE link.

S Gupta et al. (2014) Chemically-Modified DNA Aptamers Bind Interleukin-6 with High Affinity and Inhibit Signaling by Blocking its Interaction with Interleukin-6 Receptor. J. Biol. Chem. Jan 12, 2014 (epub ahead of print). MEDLINE link.