Like swallows to Capistrano, investors interested in new opportunities in healthcare and life science sectors will be flocking to San Francisco in mid-January to discover fresh options at a cluster of related conferences where companies will present their investment needs during the 2015 JP Morgan Healthcare Conference Week.
One of those companies is Aperiomics, an early-stage company that is transforming infectious disease diagnostics. Aperiomics CEO, Crystal Icenhour, PhD, will present their technology, its potential impact, and the company’s funding needs at The Biotech Showcase 2015 on Wednesday, January 14 at 8:30 a.m. in Track B – Mission I A at Parc 55 Wyndham San Francisco – Union Square. Aperiomics President Keith Crandall will also be in San Francisco and available to meet with investors and potential partners.
Dr. Icenhour will explain how Aperiomics is combining genomics and informatics in a novel way to produce faster and more accurate results than culture-based or even other molecular-based diagnostic approaches. From a single test, the company’s innovative technology can simultaneously test for all pathogens whether bacteria, virus, fungus, or parasite. The sample can be tissue, blood, plant, animal or environmental. The process capitalizes on high-throughput next-generation sequencing and advanced Bayesian statistics. This technology not only finds the “needle in the haystack,” but also can reveal that “a needle” is lurking there even if it has never been seen before.
In this time of such public health concerns as the ebola crisis and influenza outbreaks, Aperiomics’ unique system offers breakthrough capabilities in pathogen discovery, providing diagnoses in difficult cases of unknown etiology, pathogen surveillance, and monitoring of natural animal populations, as well as more routine pathogen detection. As Dr. Icenhour explains, “The majority of pathogens are currently never identified. Thus, the advantages of accurate determination can be measured by improvements in human health, significant health care cost savings, and reduced risks to public health.” She also observes that the company’s platform technology has broad application across diverse markets such as health care, agriculture, and industrial.
Jeff Gallagher, CEO of Virginia Bio notes, “Much of the promise of the future of health care and biomedical research depends on innovative use of data analytics. Done right, this will yield speed, power and insights well beyond forerunner products and services based solely on biology and chemistry. It will open up unimaginable new opportunities to create value for patients worldwide.” Virginia Bio will kick off this exciting week by hosting a reception to highlight Virginia technologies. The Virginia Bio and Friends reception will be Sunday, January 11 (4-7 p.m.) at ENO Wine Bar, 320 Geary Street. Sponsors for this event include Cary Street Partners, CIT, kaleo, Virginia Economic Development Partnership, and the City of Virginia Beach Economic Development Department.
The technology behind Aperiomics’ services is the result of collaboration by three of the firm’s co-founders, a team that includes some of the best minds in genomics and bioinformatics. Company President, Keith A. Crandall, PhD, is Director of the Computational Biology Institute at George Washington University; Chief Technology Officer W. Evan Johnson, PhD, is an assistant professor of Medicine, Biostatistics, and Bioinformatics at the Boston University School of Medicine; Chief Science Officer Eduardo Castro-Nallar, PhD, trained in bioinformatics at George Washington University.
Aperiomics, based in Ashburn, Virginia, was founded in October 2013. In November 2014, the firm announced the launch of its first commercial services at the Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) annual meeting. So far, the company has received significant support through the National Science Foundation’s iCORP and Small Business Innovation Research Programs. Center for Innovative Technologies of Herndon, VA, has also awarded CRCF grant funding. Private funding is being sought to expand operations and service capacity.
Crystal R Icenhour, PhD – Chief Executive Officer: Crystal R Icenhour, PhD received her doctorate in Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine from the University of Cincinnati Medical School of Graduate Studies in 2002. She conducted postdoctoral research in the Thoracic Diseases Research Unit at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine from 2002-2005 and in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Duke University Medical Center from 2005-2006. Dr. Icenhour has held leadership positions in local and national postdoctoral associations including the Mayo Research Fellows Association Executive Committee (President), the Duke University Postdoctoral Association (chair of membership committee), and the National Postdoctoral Association (2008 Chair). Dr. Icenhour was President & Chief Science Officer for Phthisis Diagnostics, a biotechnology company located in Charlottesville, Virginia from 2007-2013. In 2014 Dr. Icenhour was recruited as cofounder and CEO of Aperiomics.
Keith A. Crandall, PhD – President: Keith Crandall is a cofounder of Aperiomics and Director of the Computational Biology Institute at George Washington University. A prolific researcher, Dr. Crandall has published over 220 papers and 3 books, including “The Evolution of HIV” published by Johns Hopkins University Press. In 2010, he was designated a “Highly Cited” researcher, a distinction reserved for the top one-half of one percent of all publishing scholars. His research covers subjects ranging from the evolution of HIV and other infectious diseases to bacterial genome evolution to the biogeography of freshwater crayfish. Dr. Crandall was a Fulbright Scholar at Oxford University, a recent recipient of the Edward O. Wilson Naturalist Award, and was recently elected as a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Crandall earned his BA degree in Mathematics and Biology from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan and MA (Statistics) and PhD (Biology and Biomedical Sciences) from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Puyo, Ecuador.
Evan Johnson, PhD – Chief Technology Officer: Evan Johnson is a cofounder and CTO for Aperiomics. He is currently an assistant professor of Medicine, Biostatistics, and Bioinformatics at the Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Johnson’s research is focused on the development and application of statistical and computational methodology for the analysis and integration of Big Data generated from biological samples. His work has led to discovery and publications in a wide variety of applications including molecular genetics, cancer, and pathogen detection. He has also developed several widely used analytical methods and software for analyzing high-throughput genetic, genomic, and epigenomic profiling datasets. Dr. Johnson received a BS degree in Mathematics at Southern Utah University, an MS degree in Statistics at Brigham Young University, and MA and PhD degrees in Biostatistics from Harvard University.
Eduardo Castro-Nallar, PhD – Chief Science Officer: Eduardo Castro-Nallar is a cofounder and CSO for Aperiomics. He received his B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the Universidad de Santiago de Chile and his PhD from the Biological Sciences PhD program at The George Washington University. Dr. Castro-Nallar has extensive experience in microbiology and microbiological techniques as well as molecular techniques associated with pathogen detection. He served as the head of the diagnostic lab in Diagnotec in Chile implementing international quality certifications (ISO 9001/17025) and developing diagnostic assays for the aquaculture and swine industries based on qPCR, cell culture, and immunofluorescence. During his graduate work, Dr. Castro-Nallar has studied population genetics, phylogenetics, genomics, and epidemiology of pathogens of public health importance. He is skilled in genetic analysis of genes and genomes, generation and analysis of high-throughput sequencing data on high-performance computing platforms.
For more information, please visit www.aperiomics.com or look for the company on LinkedIn, Twitter, and AngelList.
Biotech Showcase 2015 – Co-produced by Demy-Colton Life Science Advisors and EBD Group, Biotech Showcase is an investor and partnering conference devoted to providing private and public biotechnology and life science companies an opportunity to present to, and meet with, investors and pharmaceutical executives during the course of one of the industry’s largest annual healthcare investor conferences. Now in its seventh year, Biotech Showcase is expected to attract upwards of 1500 attendees.