Melville, NY and Madison, WI – January 13, 2010 – Population Diagnostics, Inc. (PDx), a private company developing a new generation of molecular diagnostic and personalized medicine companion tests, announced today the appointment of Dr. Peggy Eis as Chief Technology Officer. In this key leadership role, she will be instrumental in the scale-up of the company’s causative biomarker discovery platform, which promises to reveal the missing heritability of common diseases (e.g. autism, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s) as well as the genetic variants predicting efficacy and safety of targeted drugs. Dr. Eis will have a pivotal role in the commercialization of PDx’s pipeline of personalized medicine tests and will be executing a strategy that accelerates all processes, from biomarker discovery through product launch.
“PDx was founded in 2006 on several unconventional principles in genetics that were not subscribed to by the mainstream scientific community,” said Dr. Eis. “Today these principles are evidence-based and I am excited to be integrally involved in PDx’s key opportunity to transform healthcare. For example, rare genetic variants were once believed to have little to do with common diseases and over the last decade conventional technology, wisdom, and investments have mistakenly focused on the search for common genetic variants. It’s now clear that common variants have metrics that are not medically relevant enough for clinical utility as they only infer slight increases in disease risk. In sharp contrast, rare genetic variants, often in the form of copy number variants (CNVs), have recently been found to play a larger role in explaining disease than anyone had previously considered.”
PDx’s genome-wide biomarker discovery platform systematically, rapidly, and cost-effectively reveals rare genetic variants. When applied to the study of common diseases, comprehensive collections of mutations are found with unprecedented metrics of causality. In the study of a cohort taking a particular drug, PDx’s platform can identify rare genetic variants that differentiate responders from non-responders, as well as those who may experience a serious adverse event to that drug. The platform rationally interprets the human genome primarily by considering the vast spectrum of ‘normal’ variation within an ethnically diverse population in order to sift out the small fraction of variants unique to a disease or drug profile. At the heart of the rare variant discovery platform are recent evidence-based genome biology concepts such as: 1) any two genomes differ at least 10-fold more than previously thought, 2) the contribution of CNVs and other structural variants have a major contribution to genetic variation in people, 3) a common disease is heterogeneous, meaning that it is actually many diseases masquerading as one, 4) common diseases are multigenic, that is, the manifestation of a disease (the phenotype) can be caused by different genes/mutations but each individual has one main independently causative rare variant, and 5) personalized medicine will advance only when genetic subgroups are defined by rare genetic variants.
“Dr. Eis’s in-depth industry experience developing technologies for genetic analysis will be a tremendous asset to the Company going forward,” said Jim Chinitz, Chief Executive Officer. “Additionally, her track record in exceeding technological milestones in early-stage companies will enable us to execute our aggressive plans to monetize medically relevant discoveries and lead the field of personalized medicine. With her commitment, our proprietary method to uncover rare variants will be the key to finally revealing the genetic causation of common diseases long promised by the framers of the human genome project.”
Dr. Eis has 15 years of experience in genomics research, product development, business development, and marketing. She was most recently Senior Director of Genome Variation at Roche NimbleGen where she oversaw strategic collaborations and technology development for novel DNA copy number variant microarray products. Prior to that she was head of the comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) microarray business at NimbleGen Systems (acquired by Roche). While at Third Wave Technologies (acquired by Hologic), Dr. Eis led the development and commercialization of DNA and RNA detection platforms used in both research and FDA-approved diagnostic products. Dr. Eis completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute and received her PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Maryland.
ABOUT POPULATION DIAGNOSTICS, INC.
Population Diagnostics, Inc. (PDx) is applying its discoveries in human genetics to the development of DNA-based diagnostics and personalized medicine tests. PDx’s technology, which reveals the genetic causes of complex diseases such as autism, diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s, enables development of early detection diagnostic tests that predict pre-symptomatically why some individuals will suffer from debilitating diseases while others will not. When applied to drug discovery, the technology enables pharmaceutical companies to develop targeted therapies and companion diagnostics. Its novel technology and exclusive products places PDx in a prime position to (i) transform how physicians diagnose and manage disease in their patients and (ii) enable pharmaceutical companies to expand the number of available therapies and market drugs with higher efficacy and safety.