Experienced Stem Cell Industry Management Team Opens Doors to New Contract Services Business
News Sep 18, 2007
ReachBio LLC has announcxed the official opening of its business operations and the launch of its new website, www.reachbio.com.
Located in Seattle WA, the company will focus on providing specialized contract assay and contract research services utilizing in vitro and in vivo stem cell and progenitor cell assays to biopharma, biotechnology, agrichemical, and other related industries.
In particular, the company will draw on their unique depth of experience in clinical and industrial stem cell and progenitor cell biology to offer services for evaluating the toxic, inhibitory or stimulatory effects of compounds on hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic cells.
These sensitive, multiparametric high-content assays can evaluate such things as bone marrow toxicity (hematotoxicity, myelotoxicity, lymphotoxicity, neutropenia, etc.), stem cell engraftment kinetics, maximum tolerated dose, and colony forming cell (CFC) content in clinical samples (i.e., cord blood, disease-specific samples and samples from patients undergoing clinical trials).
ReachBio will also offer assay design and validation services, as well as a unique on-site contract assay service for clients with particularly demanding assay requirements.
The founding members of ReachBio are all former long-time scientists, managers and executives of StemCell Technologies, Inc., a privately held Canadian company that provides products and services to the stem cell research industry.
These include Dr. Emer Clarke, Chief Scientific Officer and Mr. Rob Chaney, Chief Operations Officer. Dr. Clarke has over 20 years of experience in the stem cell biology field in both clinical and industrial settings.
At StemCell Technologies, Dr. Clarke was the founding Scientific Director of Contract Assay Services and was also in charge of their Education Division. She also initiated and directed StemCell Technologies’ global proficiency testing program for hematopoietic progenitor assays.
Mr. Chaney was the founding Business Director – Contract Services at StemCell Technologies and was also the Manager of International Sales at that company for many years.
ReachBio has also engaged BroadReach Biosystems, Inc. to provide ongoing Management Consultant and Strategic Advisory services.
Dr. Eric Atkinson, President of BroadReach Biosystems, had worked closely with both Dr. Clarke and Mr. Chaney for almost a decade at StemCell Technologies, where he was the Director of Corporate Development and also the head of that company’s Marketing Department for many years.
According to Dr. Atkinson, “Bone marrow toxicity can be a major problem for a wide variety of potential drugs and other compounds. The FDA and other regulatory authorities are increasingly requesting that drug candidates be tested within functional and predictive primary cell-based assays such as the sensitive hematopoietic Colony Forming Cell assays that ReachBio now provides.
At the same time, biotech and pharma companies are realizing that the use of these exquisitely sensitive and highly relevant CFC assays within the drug screening process can help to reduce late drug failure and save much of the time and costs currently associated with drug development.
Together, these two market forces have generated new demand for knowledgeable service providers that not only have the expertise to perform CFC assays in a reliable and reproducible manner, but that also have the skills to interpret and explain the results to their clients clearly and professionally.
The years of experience that ReachBio’s CSO, Emer Clarke, has in performing these assays in both clinical and industrial environments, as well as teaching them in hand-on workshops around the globe, will give ReachBio’s clients the confidence that their CFC and related hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic assays are being designed and overseen by one of the world’s best”.
Dr. Clarke added, “The data provided by CFC assays are often more predictive of the clinical situation than data derived using cell lines. Therefore, they can be particularly useful when the client’s goal is to identify toxic compounds and exclude them before costly clinical trials commence.
However, despite the obvious value and utility of CFC assays in the drug development process, many people perceive them to be time-consuming and technically challenging – something I have seen time and again during my years of managing global CFC assay Proficiency Testing Programs and conducting numerous hands-on training courses”.
As Mr Chaney explains, “ReachBio removes the technical obstacles and makes the power of sensitive CFC assays available to our clients by allowing them access to highly trained and knowledgeable scientists with many years of experience in performing these assays and interpreting their results.
Our fee-for service model ensures our clients that there will not be any frustrations in negotiating who owns any IP resulting from our work: it’s theirs clear and simple.
Also, we have no ties to internal or external R&D programs, so there’s no question about having any conflicts of interest - as there can be with other types of organizations that offer contract services as a sideline. ReachBio is totally committed to customer confidentiality”.
In addition to their GLP Contract Laboratory Services, ReachBio will provide educational and consulting services to a variety of stakeholders within the life sciences industry with a particular focus on the industrial and clinical uses of stem cells.