"The insights from this work will serve to direct further improvements for these therapeutics that will be pursued at Stanford and the set of biomarkers will be employed in clinical use moving forward," said Fergus Chan, MBA, who co-founded Epinomics in 2013. "Joining forces with Dr. Mackall and her team at Stanford will enable us to bring precision medicine to these immunotherapies."
The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Stanford University opened in April thanks to a grant from the Parker Foundation, which was started by entrepreneur Sean Parker. "We are very excited to be collaborating with Epinomics," Dr. Mackall said. "I know we will benefit greatly from the expertise Epinomics has in the epigenomics field, including their analytics platform that is advancing therapeutic development efforts and discovery of biomarkers for use in clinical care for immuno-oncology applications."
The epigenome ("the living genome") refers to any modification to the genome without changes to the DNA sequence, and it regulates what genes are turned on and off. If the genome, which shows what genes we have, is the hardware of our bodies, then epigenome is the software programming layer of our bodies. Because the epigenome dynamically responds to the environment and reflects one's current health state, it holds the key to personalized medicine.
Paul Giresi, PhD, another co-founder of Epinomics, notes that immunotherapy has been shown to be a promising approach for the effective treatment of cancer, including achieving long term remission in patients who have not responded to existing therapies. But to date there is no gold standard for the application or monitoring for this type of therapy. "The key to unlocking this potential in immuno-oncology has been the development of a new technology for reading the epigenome and creation of a deep analytics framework that serves as a central intelligence hub for understanding immune function in human health and disease. Using this framework can derive measures (biomarkers) of immune function across both healthy baseline samples and disease to enable investigators to pinpoint the key immunological features that are the drivers of human disease and are predictive of clinical outcomes," Dr. Giresi said.
ABOUT EPINOMICS INC.
Epinomics' vision is to create a comprehensive map of human health states, and leverage epigenomics technology and deep analytics to develop a GPS to guide personalized health.
After decades of research by the genomics communities, professors and scientists at Stanford's University, including Paul Giresi, PhD, Howard Chang, MD, PhD and William Greenleaf, PhD invented a breakthrough technology that can decode the epigenome - ATAC-seq (Assay for Transposase-Accessible Chromatin with high throughput sequencing).
In 2013, Fergus Chan and Paul Giresi, co-founded Epinomics, together with Drs. Chang and Greenleaf as the company's scientific co-founders. Epinomics' proprietary technology and deep analytics has attracted demand and collaboration interests across top pharmaceutical, biotech companies, as well as leading research institutes, where Epinomics enables them to advance their therapeutics development or co-develop clinical applications.
Epinomics' scientific advisory board includes Michael Snyder, MD, (Chair of Stanford's Genetics Department), Joseph R. Ecker, PhD (Salk International Council Chair in Genetics, HHMI) Anshul Kundaje (a leader of NIH-funded ENCODE and Epigenomics Roadmap Consortia) and Robert Tibshirani (Professor of Health Research and Policy, and Statistics at Stanford). As the frontier of the field, Epinomics has been working with thought leaders in creating standards and advancing epigenomics applications towards personalized medicine, which include building standard-compatible analytics pipelines for researchers through working with NIH-funded Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) leaders.
About the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy
The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy brings together the best scientists, clinicians, and industry partners to build a smarter and more coordinated cancer immunotherapy research effort.
The Parker Institute is an unprecedented collaboration between the country's leading immunologists and cancer centers: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Stanford Medicine, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of California, San Francisco, the University of Pennsylvania and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The Parker Institute was created through a $250 million grant from The Parker Foundation.
The Parker Institute's goal is to accelerate the development of breakthrough immune therapies capable of turning cancer into a curable disease by ensuring the coordination and collaboration of the field's top researchers, and quickly turning their findings into patient treatments. The Parker Institute network brings together six centers, more than 40 labs and more than 300 of the nation's top researchers focused on treating the deadliest cancers.