Scipher Medicine

Boston-based Scipher Medicine (formerly known as DZZOM) was founded by Dr Laszlo Barabasi (Professor Network Science, Northeastern University), and Joseph Loscalzo (Chairman Department of Medicine, Physician in Chief Brigham & Women’s hospital) to further develop and commercialize a network medicine platform for the prediction of new drug targets and personalized biological response in complex diseases. Scipher has raised a significant amount of funding to develop its own diagnostic and therapeutic products  based on this core platform: its flagship programs are two PrismDx™ blood-based predictors of response to the best selling drugs (anti-TNFS eg Humira, Remicade, Enbrel etc..) who are potent anti-inflammatory agents but only work effectively in a third of the patient population and are blocking access to similarly effective alternative mechanisms of action (Orencia, Keljanz, Entyvio etc..); as well as one program in Inflammatory Bowel Disease with novel drug targets and repurposed clinical assets for non-responders to anti-TNFs.

Short biography principal investigator

Keith Johnson PhD

Keith Johnson PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Johnson is an accomplished senior executive in the pharmaceutical industry where for eight years he was heading up Biomarker research (Pfizer), for a further four years leading the application of Genomics to drug discovery and development (Novartis). These roles followed a successful academic career of over twenty years culminating in being appointed to the Chair of Genetics at University of Glasgow based on his seminal work in discovering the triplet repeat expansion mutation underlying myotonic dystrophy. This discovery led to diagnostic tests for the disease that are still widely used today and a molecular explanation of the diseases pathophysiology and inheritance patterns.

Scipher Medicine currently employs 20 FTEs and 10+ part time expert contractors. Dedicated Cloud-based, secured storage is an integral part of the company’s infrastructure. Scipher possesses adequate software tools to carry  out the proposed work.

Key persons involved

Sophie Chapelle, MS

Sophie Chapelle, MS

Chief Commercial Officer

Ms. Chapelle has >20 years of experience in international business management, at large pharma companies such as UCB (Belgium), Pfizer (NY), and in leading growth at technology based companies. She graduated with a chemical engineering degree from University of Brussels (ULB, Belgium) and a Certificate of Business Excellence from Columbia University.

Dr Dina Ghiassian

Dr Dina Ghiassian

Scientific Director

DZZOM will host secondment for ESR8, Dr. Johnson will be the external co-supervisor of ESR8. In addition to Dr Keith Johnson’s oversight, Dr Dina Ghiassian, Scientific Director, will provide hands-on training, project management, and facilitate any collaborative work with Dr Barabasi’s lab.

Key Research Facility and Equipment

MCAA Chair, Brian Cahill, and MCAA Vice-Chair, Marco Masia, were both previously Chair and Board Member of the MCAA German Chapter and ran very well attended Career Seminars in 2015 and 2016. The focus of these seminars was providing an overview of possible career perspectives for junior researchers and included both private-sector and academic career options. Marco Masia is a member of the Advisory Group of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. He was previously Assistant Professor at the University of Sassari and is now CEO of the startup SuperCommuter Travel GmbH.

Current involvement in Research and Training Programmes

Ongoing collaborations with leading academic centers : Northeastern University, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Massachusets General Hospital in Boston, as well as Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Belgium, and Barts Institute London for access to samples and datasets.