Aperiomics Launches First Commercial Services

Discover the unknownAperiomics, founded in October 2013, is bringing ground-breaking solutions to market to address age-old life and death disease challenges. The company will introduce its breakthrough Absolute-NGS™ Pathogen Detection Platform to the Association for Molecular Pathology at the upcoming AMP 2014 Annual Meeting (Booth #1253) to be held November 12-15 near Washington, D.C.

Bearing an apt name based on the Latin word aperio (which means to reveal), Aperiomics is rolling out a package of three next-generation sequencing services to provide laboratories, public health care, and businesses the tools they need to make rapid and exact identification of known and unknown pathogens, whether bacteria, virus, fungus, or parasite. Their unique process addresses the biggest challenge in applying next-generation sequencing to real-world analysis – making sense of the massive amount of data spawned by next generation sequencing.

According to Jeff Gallagher, CEO of Virginia Bio, “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 in biology and chemistry. It will open up unimaginable new opportunities to create value for patients worldwide. Aperiomics is a case in point.”

From a single test, Aperiomics’ innovative technology can simultaneously test for all pathogens using an unbiased sequencing and genomic analysis approach. The range of samples can include tissue, blood, plant, animal, or environmental. With their novel combination of genomics and informatics, the company capitalizes on high-throughput next-generation sequencing and advanced Bayesian statistics to produce faster and better results than culture-based methods and even more accurate results than other molecular-based approaches.

Aperiomics CEO Crystal Icenhour, PhD, explains the importance of these services. “The majority of pathogens are currently never identified. Thus, the advantages of accurate determination can be measured with improvements in human health, significant cost savings, and reduced risks to public health.” Absolute-ID℠ is designed to identify known pathogens in virtually any sample.

Absolute-Discover ℠ addresses the uncomfortable reality that there are many pathogens that have not yet been discovered and many diseases of unknown etiology. Pathogen identifications have historically been limited by what can be seen under a microscope and what can be cultured in a petri dish, but this service can even discover new pathogens.

Characterization of a microbial population, or microbiome, gives insight into the health of a human, animal, or environment. Absolute-Biome℠ is designed to identify all microorganisms present in a given sample. Such microbiome studies can be performed over space or time to study the impact of disease, drugs, or environmental changes in a complex system.

The technology behind Aperiomics’ services is the result of collaboration by three of the firm’s co-founders. The company’s 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 received his degree in Biological Sciences from George Washington University.

Aperiomics 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 provided CRCF grant funding to support the underlying technology and commercialization of Aperiomics’ services. Private funding is being sought to expand operations and service capacity.

Aperiomics: Aperiomics, the Next-Generation Sequencing Specialists™, was founded in October 2013 by President Keith Crandall, Chief Technology Officer Evan Johnson, and Chief Science Officer Eduardo Castro. Crystal Icenhour joined the team in March 2014 to begin operations in Ashburn, Virginia. Aperiomics has received numerous grants and awards through State of Virginia and Federal programs and formally launched commercial services in November 2014.

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 us on LinkedIn and Twitter.