Hackensack Meridian Health is spinning off its first company based on science from its research institute, the Edison-based system said on Wednesday.
The company, EValuate Diagnostics, will offer tests that identify disease biomarkers for the early detection of tumors and other diseases.
“This is a remarkable breakthrough for our health network, and for patients of the future,” Robert Garrett, the CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, said. “We are taking the science produced by our terrific minds at the Hackensack Meridian Health Research Institute, and then moving it to the market so it can benefit all. Detecting deadly cancers as soon as possible means lives can, and will, be saved.”
The company is based upon the work of Olivier Loudig, an associate member of the Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation, who is directly involved with the development of EValuate Diagnostics. His laboratory at the CDI has developed research programs for biomarker discovery and early detection of breast, lung and prostate cancers using liquid biopsies.
Developing cancer lesions, which may remain elusive due to their small size by traditional imaging approaches or tissue biopsies, still leave a molecular trace in biofluids such as blood. The laboratory of Loudig has homed in on this minute trail and, using highly sensitive next-generation-sequencing technologies, has been able to detect RNA signature indicative of the developing lesions. The development of gene expression assays for diagnostics is widely used for evaluating large tumors, but with this novel tracking technology, and applied to early detection has the potential to exponentially help save patient lives.
A core tenet of the mission of the CDI, founded in 2019, is translating cutting-edge science to rapidly impact patient health for New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive health network. EValuate Diagnostics is a direct product of this research ethos, driving the discoveries of the Loudig Laboratory to help patients in the very-near future.
“This is a thrilling development,” Sandra Powell-Elliott, the chief innovation officer for Hackensack Meridian Health, who leads the network’s Office of Innovation and Commercialization, said. “The health network supports so many great initiatives — but this is a new way for the health network to really bring innovation to the next level.”