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Pushing the Boundaries of Biological Discovery in Proteomics

Omid Farokhzad, chair and CEO at Seer.
Omid Farokhzad, chair and CEO at Seer. Credit: Seer.
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While next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have transformed our knowledge of the genome, to achieve a systems level understanding of human biology, insights from the proteome are critical.

Identifying, quantifying and characterizing proteins – particularly low-abundant proteins – from complex samples is not an easy task, however. Ultimately, the technological challenges associated with proteomics analyses have hindered the field’s ability to progress at the same pace as genomics, with researchers forced to choose between scale or depth.

Seer Inc.’s Proteograph Product Suite, based on its proprietary nanoparticle technology, is designed to provide deep, unbiased and scalable analysis of the proteome at speed. At this year’s American Society for Mass Spectrometry conference, Technology Networks had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Omid Farokhzad, Seer’s chair and CEO, to discuss how Seer’s technology is being adopted across academic and industry research, and the impact it is having across fields including oncology and neurological disease research.

Farokhzad also discussed how Seer is dedicated to making unbiased, deep, rapid and large-scale proteomics broadly accessible for the scientific community. Following the successful launch of its first Seer Technology Access Center (STAC) at the company’s headquarters in Redwood City, California, last year, Seer recently announced its expansion of this initiative into Europe.

The company’s second STAC center – opening this month – will be located at Life & Brain GmbH, an independent commercial technology provider on the campus of the University Hospital Bonn. By providing access to service programs and sophisticated mass spectrometry (MS) technology, the STACs aim to address unmet needs for researchers wanting to conduct deep and unbiased proteomics studies.

Molly Campbell (MC): How are researchers in academia and industry adopting Seer's technology?

Omid Farokhzad (OF): Researchers in both academia and industry have been increasingly adopting Seer's Proteograph Product Suite due to its ability to provide deep, unbiased proteomic analysis at scale.

Feedback from users of the Proteograph has been overwhelmingly positive, highlighting the system’s ease of use, the high sensitivity and depth of proteome coverage it offers and its ability to significantly accelerate research timelines. Users appreciate the robustness and reproducibility of the Proteograph XT workflow, which has been validated in numerous large-scale studies and collaborative projects.

Alexander Beadle (AB): Can you provide examples of high-impact research or applications currently leveraging Seer's technology?

OF: Seer's Proteograph Product Suite has been instrumental in a variety of high-impact research projects, including large-scale studies on oncology, cardiometabolic diseases and neurological disorders.

For example, the recent collaborative pQTL proteogenomics study with Professor Karsten Suhre, highlighted in a BioRxiv paper, demonstrated the superior performance of the Proteograph technology in providing comprehensive proteomic data, even with older mass spectrometry instruments.

Additionally, researchers at PrognomiQ have successfully used Seer’s technology in large-scale studies for biomarker discovery involving thousands of samples, showcasing its robustness and scalability.

MC: Seer is launching its second Seer Technology Access Center (STAC) this month. Can you discuss the center and the importance of accessibility and democratization in proteomics research?

OF: The new STAC in Bonn, Germany, is designed to make our advanced proteomics technologies more accessible to the European research community. By providing full-service access to the Proteograph Product Suite and the latest mass spectrometry technologies, we are enabling more researchers to conduct deep, unbiased proteomic studies without the need for significant capital investment.

By reducing barriers to adoption for proteomics research, we are helping to accelerate scientific discoveries and making cutting-edge technologies available to a broader range of researchers and institutions.

AB: What lessons has Seer learned from opening its first STAC at the company’s headquarters in Redwood City, California, in 2023? How have these lessons informed the launch of the second center?

OF: The launch of our first STAC in Redwood City provided valuable insights into the operational requirements and needs of researchers for high-throughput proteomics. We learned the importance of providing comprehensive support and training to ensure users can maximize the potential of our technologies.

These lessons have informed the development of the Bonn center, where we have implemented streamlined workflows and enhanced support services to facilitate easier adoption and integration of our proteomics solutions by European researchers.

MC: How does Seer support new users in integrating and utilizing its proteomic solutions effectively?

OF: Seer offers extensive support to new users by providing hands-on training, technical support and access to our advanced proteomics technologies. We also offer the Proteograph Analysis Suite, which simplifies data analysis with preconfigured pipelines, enabling researchers to quickly gain insights from their proteomic data. Our dedicated support team works closely with users to ensure they can effectively integrate and utilize our solutions in their research.

AB: Looking ahead, what are Seer's strategic goals over the next 5–10 years, particularly in terms of market expansion and technological innovation?

OF: Over the next 5–10 years, Seer aims to expand its market presence by driving adoption of the Proteograph Product Suite to unlock the biology of the proteome to improve human health.

Also, we will establish additional STACs globally, enhancing accessibility to our proteomics solutions.

We are committed to continuous technological innovation, focusing on improving the depth, precision and throughput of our proteomic analyses. Our strategic goals include further integrating our proteomics platform with other omics technologies, developing new applications for our Proteograph assays and expanding our collaborative research efforts to drive new discoveries in health and disease.

Dr. Omid Farokhzad, Chair and Chief Executive Officer for Seer, was speaking to Molly Campbell, Senior Science Writer for Technology Networks, and Alexander Beadle, Science Writer for Technology Networks.

About the interviewee:

Dr. Omid Farokhzad is the chair and CEO for Seer. Previously, he was professor at Harvard Medical School and directed the Center for Nanomedicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He has authored over 175 papers and is an inventor of over 200 issued and pending patents. Farokhzad previously founded BIND Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BIND, acquired by Pfizer), Selecta Biosciences (NASDAQ: SELB) and Tarveda Therapeutics. He is a 2018 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He is a recipient of the 2016 Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the 2014 Golden Door Award from the International Institute of New England, for his scientific, societal and economic contributions to America as an immigrant; the 2013 RUSNANOPRIZE, one of the largest international nanotechnology prizes for his work on nanomaterial surface modification; and the 2012 Ernst & Young New England Entrepreneur of the Year award. He received his M.D. and M.A. from Boston University and his M.B.A. from MIT Sloan School of Management.