Launching Into 2018 With Precision Health
By Kevin Hrusovsky, President, Chairman And CEO Quanterix
2018 will be a year dedicated to pushing the envelope in ways that are outrageously imaginative, ambitious, and impactful. It takes boldness to change the world, and that’s the exact approach we are taking with our Precision Health movement; a movement that is galvanizing around a new paradigm of a personalized, pro-active approach to medicine that emphasizes maintenance of wellness, the earliest possible disease detection, and precision drug therapy vs. reacting to overt symptoms.
We made considerable headway accelerating this movement last year – growing momentum that is poised to launch into a new level of impact. It’s incredibly humbling to look back at 2017, as the year truly highlights the incredible trajectory we’ve been on. A high point was the Powering Precision Health Summit (PPHS) in October, which brought together a truly interdisciplinary collection of the brightest minds in the world. The summit was twice as large as the previous year, and the energy and enthusiasm among participants was palpable. But Precision Health requires more than meetings and ideas; it requires funding and tools. I was particularly gratified in 2017 to be able to contribute both to the movement. First, the investment community recognized the potential of what we are trying to achieve, resulting in a successful IPO for Quanterix. Secondly, we launched a new instrument (SR-X) that promises to further democratize ultrasensitive digital detection of biomarkers critical to the PPH mission by making the technology more affordable and accessible to researchers.
This triad of PPHS, IPO, and SR-X represents tremendous momentum going into 2018 to contribute significantly to the healthcare industry and further fuel the PPH movement. Below are a few thoughts about how this triad can work together to help us spur further, impactful progress in 2018 (if you’ll forgive the metaphor!):
Powering Precision Health: People (PPHS)
The Powering Precision Health Summit is the venue that brings together the right movers, shakers, and stakeholders to fuel the movement around an over-arching objective: by 2030 reduce healthcare costs by 40 percent, increase healthcare access by 60 percent and add eight years to our average life expectancies. The 2017 meeting brought together numerous multidisciplinary participants: innovators, scientists, physicians, medical professionals, patient advocates, government officials, regulators and investors. Capacity audiences were treated to fascinating presentations and panel discussions, all aimed at a general theme of transforming how we approach health. Patient advocates like Nancy Frates, co-creator of the Ice Bucket Challenge with her son, Pete Frates, shared the stage with top drug companies, such as Biogen and Eli Lily, to combat the barriers to drug development.
We looked at how biomarkers within the blood could drive earlier disease diagnostics and more effective drug development. Top researchers in brain health, including Boston University’s Robert Stern and Ann McKee, alongside ex-pro football players Chris Borland and Austin Collie, explored the culture of sports and how environmental factors may contribute to CTE and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and how earlier detection might mitigate the risk.
A major goal for PPHS is fueling awareness and collaboration among the right people. The summit clearly stimulated cross-fertilization between the different fields. We had cancer researchers learning from neurologists, and neurologists learning from cancer researchers. This was a major win for the industry, as it will take collective and collaborated innovation targeting a greater vision to inspire and grow the movement. In 2018, we intend to further fuel the momentum from 2017 with an even more impressive lineup aimed at further stimulating ideas, key linkages and collaborations toward advancing the movement.
Powering Precision Health: Investment (IPO)
Advancing the Precision Health movement requires funding, and by way of one contribution, Quanterix went public on December 7th with a successful IPO. In fact it was one of the most successful IPOs on the life sciences tools landscape in over a decade! In many ways, the success of the IPO is a reflection of investor recognition of the potential to leverage digital technology toward a larger healthcare mission: one that can clearly impact life science research, drug development, and early diagnostics. Importantly, these main areas of investment opportunity completely align with the PPH movement. This bodes well for the success of our mission, because without investment energy and funding, great advances are impossible. Quanterix is a tools company, and our primary goal for the capital will be to advance our ability to transform biomarker detection by further enabling non-invasive, ultra-sensitive digital measurement of proteins and nucleic acids through Simoa technology.
To date, 17 of the 20 largest pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have used Simoa technology (many with multiple instruments) and have conducted over 700 Phase I, II and III drug trials. Why the huge adoption in drug development? The 100’s to 1000’s of times greater sensitivity provided by Simoa advances biomarker research into a much lower-abundance domain that is out of reach of conventional measurement technologies, allowing better understanding of disease progression on the molecular level. This leads to better clinical trial design, improved drug efficacy monitoring, and precision treatments better aimed at cures. Ultra-sensitivity can also power earlier disease detection and diagnostics, as well as better ‘health profiling’ and monitoring wellness. Advances in these areas are reflected in a rapidly growing body of literature (more than 170 papers publishing to date!). With the IPO, Quanterix plans to further enhance Simoa technology and scale up global operations and services to further drive momentum to positively impact healthcare.
Powering Precision Health: Tools (SR-X)
In concert with PPHS and the IPO, We’re very excited to announce the commercial availability of a new research tool to help further advance Precision Health: the SR-X. Our goal with the SR-X was to provide ultrasensitive digital protein detection with the same high level of performance as our floor-standing HD-1 instrument, but in a semi-automated small-footprint platform at about half the cost of the HD-1. This smaller, lower cost access to Simoa digital protein detection is aimed at researchers and laboratories who don’t require full automation or high throughput, but for whom ultrasensitive biomarker detection can help fuel advances in their research. The semi-automated format provides the flexibility to design custom assays (including multiplexed assays) to detect both proteins and nucleic acids, the latter without the need for amplification as required by PCR, and potentially with the same sensitivity as PCR. The SR-X has been designed to run our menu of pre-developed assay kits.
We believe the SR-X will go a long way toward further democratizing ultrasensitive digital protein detection, which we anticipate being a growing driver of dramatic advances in biomedical research that will further fuel momentum in the Precision Health movement. The incredible progress in brain health biomarkers catalyzed by Simoa is an example of how rapidly ultrasensitive digital protein detection can have a major impact: almost 40 neurology papers were published in 2017 using Simoa!
Bringing together motivated people, motivated investment, and breakthrough tools, all aimed at a noble mission, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish. None of these advances would have been possible without the support of our families and friends. We’ve been incredibly moved by the following we’ve developed across the Precision Health community. Those patients, advocates, researchers and medical professionals who hear about the movement and the impact we are making, and want to get involved, are changing the game! With the New Year, we couldn’t be more excited about the momentum we have and what lies ahead for 2018 and the future of Precision Health!
This communication contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “plan,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “intend” and similar expressions (as well as other words or expressions referencing future events, conditions or circumstances) are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Each of these forward-looking statements involves risks and uncertainties. Factors that may cause actual results to differ from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements are discussed in our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including the “Risk Factors” sections contained therein. Except as required by law, Quanterix assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in expectations, even as new information becomes available.
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