Clinical OMICS

MAY-JUN 2019

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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40 Clinical OMICs May/June 2019 G uy Kawasaki, who popularized "evangelist" marketing at Apple a generation ago, famously urged companies to reduce their mission statements to a three- or four-word mantra. By that benchmark, year-old startup Mammoth Bio- sciences is already a success—its mission is to "democratize disease detection." For Mammoth, democratization means leveraging a CRISPR-enabled platform to develop an easy-to-use and affordable point-of-care test capable of detecting any biomarker or disease containing DNA or RNA, based on CRISPR technology licensed exclusively from the Univer- sity of California (UC). Mammoth's co-founders include CRISPR pioneer Jenni- fer Doudna, Ph.D., of UC Berkeley, who chairs Mammoth's Scientific Advisory Board. Since emerging from stealth mode in April 2018, Mammoth completed a $23 million Series A financing and in March added Cas14, licensed from UC Berkeley, to a toolkit of CRISPR enzymes that includes Cas12 and Cas13. "Mammoth's detection platform will bring CRISPR out of the lab and into daily life for hospital-based and at home use, changing our interactions with the health- care system as we know it," Trevor Martin, CEO and co-founder of Mammoth, told Clinical OMICs. "The com- pany is exploring various methods for delivering the tests, one of which could be a disposable, credit card- sized paper test strip, which could detect a variety of biomarkers, from common infectious diseases such as STDs to cancer." Users who complete the test would securely upload an anonymous photo of the strip to Mammoth's corresponding application for remote analysis, then receive their confiden- tial results and professional advice—all in under an hour, according to the company. Mammoth says its real-time test will not require refrig- eration or advanced instrumentation, making it a go-to option in developing countries, where doctors have lim- ited access to advanced medical equipment. "Ultimately, the faster the diagnosis, the faster the treatment response will be, and the closer we are to making a healthier world," Martin added. T he power of precision medicine—where a driver muta- tion in a tumor is targeted with a specific drug treat- ment—falls short for patients with multiple mutations, for whom a single therapeutic may not be effective. Treating those patients is the goal of My Personal Ther- apeutics, a London-based startup founded last year to commercialize a new approach it says will revolutionize cancer therapeutics. At the heart of My Personal Therapeutics is its Personal Discovery Process (PDP), a methodology developed by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Center for Personalized Cancer Therapeutics over four years of clinical research, with technical input from the FDA. PDP applies big data in order to build up to a half-million personalized "fruit fly avatars" designed to model individ- ual patients at a high level of complexity. PDP also applies robotics to screen thousands of drugs in combinations, in order to identify drug cocktails designed to target the tumor while preserving the patient's quality of life. Those combinations, My Personal Therapeutics adds, almost always include non-cancer drugs. "A variety of evidence, including our own, demonstrates that genetically simple models fail to accurately predict whether a drug will work in a patient," said Laura Towart, founder and CEO. "My Personal Therapeutics is dedicated to the principle that complex models, built to reflect indi- vidual patients, provide better tools for empirical and large- scale screening of candidate therapeutics." On April 12, My Personal Therapeutics said it exclu- sively licensed PDP from Mount Sinai for global commer- cialization. The company also secured initial funding of an undisclosed amount, led by London-based Startup Funding Club and independent interna- tional investors. Towart said My Personal Ther- apeutics is also developing TuMatch, an AI-powered service designed to suggest treatments specific to a patient's tumor genet- ics, rapidly and at low cost. LAURA TOWART Founder and CEO, My Personal Therapeutics TREVOR MARTIN CEO and co-founder, Mammoth Biosciences MR.Cole_Photographer / Moment / Getty Images Riza Pratama / 500Px Plus / Getty Images

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