Microbe hunter joins Pathogenica board

World-renowned expert in viral infection joins forces with medical diagnostics company to apply next generation DNA sequencing to clinical pathogen discovery.

CAMBRIDGE, MA, JUNE 1, 2010 – At the height of the China’s SARS outbreak in April 2003, W.Ian Lipkin hand carried 10,000 test kits of an assay for the virus that his lab had developed into Beijing. He became ill shortly afterwards, and was quarantined. “Ian Lipkin has really been at the forefront of the global response to emerging viral infections,” says Yemi Adesokan, founder of Pathogenicaè. “He has spearheaded the use of molecular identification techniques that allow health organizations to respond rapidly to new infectious threats, and save lives.”

Pathogenica is pioneering new DNA sequencing technologies for pathogen detection and identification, which will deliver fast, high throughput and low cost assays for the medical diagnostics and bio-surveillance markets.

In 1989, Lipkin was the first to use purely molecular tools to identify a microbe (Bornavirus), and in 1999, he led the team that identified the West Nile virus in brains of encephalitis victims in New York State. In 2003, Lipkin sequenced a portion of the SARS virus directly from patient lung tissue, which led to a sensitive assay for the infection, and as the first foreign consultant to gain the confidence of the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Chinese Academy of Science he was named Special Advisor to China for Research and International Cooperation in Infectious Diseases, playing an instrumental role in promoting disclosure and outside collaborations for infectious disease research and public health management.

Lipkin is currently director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University in New York, where researchers are using the power of high throughput sequencing to develop sensitive tests for deadly pathogens including HIV, Swine flu and Ebola viruses. As an advisor, he will bring Pathogenicaè a wealth of experience and focus on the needs of clinicians fighting viral diseases around the globe.

“In recent years the world has realized that emerging infectious diseases demand an expedited response to identification and diagnosis. The speed of response is critical for saving lives,” states Adesokan. “Pathogenicaè’s pathogen detection system uses the next generation of the sequencing technologies that have already allowed researchers to cut new virus identification from weeks to days, but Pathogenicaè can integrate this information into new assays for these viruses almost as soon as they are identified. Pathogenicaè will even play an active role in identifying new infections in the field, and expects to become the first choice assay provider for diagnosis of new infectious disease.”

About Pathogenica

Pathogenica, based in Cambridge, MA, was founded in 2009 to pioneer commercial applications of pathogen sequencing. Pathogenica applies next-generation DNA sequencing technology for rapid multiplex identification of pathogens, drug resistance genes and toxins in patient samples. The founding scientific advisory board (SAB) is comprised of distinguished scientists in the field, including George Church, Harvard Medical School, Ron Davis, Stanford University, W.Ian Lipkin, Columbia University, Andrew Onderdonk, Harvard Medical School and Kun Zhang, University of California.

Pathogenica’s high throughput pathogen detection system is expected to enable rapid and highly sensitive detection of a wide variety of pathogens from patient samples using just a common assay protocol. www.pathogenica.com

About W. Ian Lipkin

W. Ian Lipkin, is the John Snow Professor of Epidemiology, and Professor of Neurology and Pathology at Columbia University; Scientific Director of the Northeast Biodefense Center; Principal Investigator of the 100,000 child Autism Birth Cohort; and member of the WHO Laboratory Surveillance Network. Lipkin is a Special Advisor to China for Research and International Cooperation in Infectious Diseases. Dr. Lipkin received his BA from Sarah Lawrence College, MD from Rush Medical College, training at the Queen Square Institute of Neurology; Internship in Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, Residency in Medicine at the University of Washington, Residency in Neurology at the University of California San Francisco, and Fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. In 1990 he joined the University of California Irvine as an Assistant Professor of Neurology, Anatomy and Neurobiology, and Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. He advanced to Professor before moving to Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in 2002. Dr. Lipkin is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (1981) and the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry (1986).