SomaLogic announces Novartis agreement extension, equity investment

SomaLogic announces Novartis agreement extension, equity investment


SomaLogic, Inc. announced today that Novartis has extended its multi-year research agreement for the development and application of SomaLogic’s unique proteomics technology to Novartis’ drug discovery and development efforts. Novartis will also take an equity position in SomaLogic under the agreement extension.

Under the previous collaboration agreement, scientists at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) and SomaLogic worked together to build an enhanced proprietary version of SomaLogic’s SOMAscan™ proteomics assay for NIBR. The collaboration also included development of specific novel SOMAmer® (Slow Off-rate Modified Aptamer) binding reagents for multiple preclinical and clinical applications in NIBR’s research and development portfolio. The collaboration extension announced today will enhance and expand these efforts in addition to the equity investment in SomaLogic. Other specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Our ongoing relationship with Novartis is a model for how we seek to develop strong scientific collaborations that drive new discoveries and build value for both parties,” said Byron Hewett, Chief Executive Officer of SomaLogic. “We are delighted that Novartis has decided to continue our work together, and take it to an even higher level.”

Compared to other current proteomic technologies, SomaLogic’s offerings provide researchers with unprecedented power for protein biomarker discovery, diagnostics development, and pharmaceutical discovery and development. SOMAmer reagents, which are at the center of SomaLogic’s proteomics platform, are a new class of superior protein-binding reagents that combine the best properties of both monoclonal antibodies and traditional aptamers. They have wide applicability in many current preclinical and clinical analytical assays, including quantitative high-content screening, targeted panels, flow cytometry, histochemistry, functional assays, and biophysical methods. SomaLogic’s commercially available SOMAscan assay, which incorporates 1129 different SOMAmer reagents, can efficiently, accurately, and rapidly measure proteins across a wide range of concentrations in small volumes of multiple biological sample types.

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Children’s Hospital Colorado and SomaLogic Announce Collaboration to Develop Novel Diagnostic Tests

Children’s Hospital Colorado and SomaLogic Announce Collaboration to Develop Novel Diagnostic Tests


Children’s Hospital Colorado and SomaLogic, Inc. announced today that they have entered into a collaborative agreement to discover protein biomarkers and use those biomarkers to develop laboratory tests to improve the diagnosis and management of childhood diseases. The discovery and development work will be done using SomaLogic’s novel proteomics SOMAscan™ assay, which can measure more than a thousand proteins in a small amount of blood or other biological samples. This innovative collaboration is being entered into as a result of successful initial exploratory research done by the two organizations.

The research team will be led by Robin Deterding, M.D., Director of the Breathing Institute at Children’s Colorado, Professor of Pulmonary Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Chair of the North American Children’s Interstitial and Diffuse Lung Disease Research Network (CHILDRN). Deterding is an international expert in the care of children with rare diffuse lung disease.

“We have a unique ‘game changing’ opportunity to rapidly discover and apply blood-based protein biomarkers for the early diagnosis of rare and common pediatric lung diseases, but also for the diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of many other childhood diseases. ” said Dr. Deterding. “My colleagues and I are excited to continue our initial exploratory work with SomaLogic and their unprecedented protein measuring technology to find breakthrough new tools to dramatically improve the clinical care of children.”

Under the agreement, researchers at Children’s Colorado and SomaLogic will work together to widely analyze the proteins from blood samples obtained from children suffering from disease. They will then select those proteins, or biomarkers, whose change in concentration is correlated with disease (and its severity) to serve as a basis for developing in-house diagnostic tests for future clinical use. These tests will rely on SomaLogic’s technology, which can be scaled to measure from thousands of proteins for discovery of biomarkers to only a few selected proteins for diagnostic purposes.

“This collaboration with Children’s Hospital and CU School of Medicine faculty is the ideal model for how we would like to see our technology used by academic research centers to make a difference in the lives of patients,” said Byron Hewett, Chief Executive Officer of SomaLogic. “Their clinical insight and expertise matched to our proteomics expertise should lead to both a deeper understanding of the biology of these devastating diseases, and to new ways to manage them more precisely and effectively.”

“We are excited about the possibilities this partnership will develop for earlier identification and improved management of childhood diseases. SomaLogic’s innovative technology coupled with our clinical expertise will allow us to diagnose and ultimately improve treatment for children everywhere”, said Jim Shmerling, CEO of Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Financial details of the collaborative agreement were not disclosed.

SomaLogic joins UK Dementias Research Platform

SomaLogic joins UK Dementias Research Platform



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


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 scientists and colleagues publish two papers describing IL-6 SOMAmers

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


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.