30 Nov

Human Longevity Inc. (HLI) Acquires Cypher Genomics, Inc.

(SAN DIEGO, CA)—November 30, 2015—Human Longevity Inc. (HLI), the genomics based, informatics driven company, announced today that the company has acquired Cypher Genomics, Inc., a leading genome informatics company offering highly accurate, rapid and robust human genomic interpretation software solutions. The San Diego-based company has 14 employees who will join HLI including Cypher CEO and co-founder, Ashley Van Zeeland, Ph.D., who is now the head of HLI’s Pediatric Business. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

“Cypher Genomics has created important automated and scalable genome interpretation technology informed by additional expertise in genetics and biology that we believe will be invaluable to HLI’s business. The Cypher team, led by Dr. Van Zeeland, is a very impressive group of scientists who will be crucial in augmenting HLI’s already unparalleled and comprehensive genomic database business,” said J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO, HLI.

Cypher has developed and marketed Mantis™, proprietary software which provides comprehensive and unbiased interpretation of genomic sequencing data enabling customers to rapidly uncover clinically significant variants. The company has also developed Coral™, a biomarker discovery service.

Industry collaborators for these products include: Celgene, Illumina and Sequenom. Cypher also has a number of key academic collaborations including: Scripps Translational Science Institute, University of Pennsylvania, and Clinic for Special Children. Cypher, in partnership with Lockheed Martin, was also recently selected as one of the finalists in the Genomics England bidding process to aid in genome interpretation as part of their 100,000 Genomes Project.

“At Cypher we saw an unmet need for automated interpretation of human genome sequencing data. We developed Mantis and Coral to provide rapid, automated, genome interpretation at scale enabling disease gene identification, population-based studies, diagnostic development and biomarker identification,” said Dr. Van Zeeland. “We look forward to joining the HLI team and to help advance HLI’s mission of applying the power of human genomics and informatics to improve healthcare.”

HLI has created the world’s largest and most comprehensive database of whole genome, phenotype and clinical data. The company is developing and applying large-scale computing and machine learning to make novel discoveries to revolutionize the practice of medicine. HLI enables customers in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, insurance, academic and government sectors.

About Human Longevity Inc™.

Human Longevity Inc. (HLI) is the genomics-based, technology-driven company creating the world’s largest and most comprehensive database of whole genome, phenotype and clinical data. HLI is developing and applying large scale computing and machine learning to make novel discoveries to revolutionize the practice of medicine. HLI’s business also includes the HLI Health Nucleus, a genomic powered clinical research program which uses whole genome sequence analysis, advanced clinical imaging and innovative machine learning, along with curated personal health information, to deliver the most complete picture of individual health.

For more information please visit, http://www.humanlongevity.com or http://www.healthnucleus.com.

HLI Media Contacts: Heather Kowalski, hkowalski@humanlongevity.com, or Katie McCormick Lelyveld, kml@humanlongevity.com

Share this
23 Sep

Cypher Genomics Featured as Top Tech Startup To Watch

Cypher Genomics has developed rapid, automated software that turns billions of gigabases of genome sequencing data into answers. With the genetic sequencing data in hand, the genetic cause of Lilly Grossman’s lifelong mysterious illness was found with Cypher’s technology in a matter of minutes.

Cypher Genomics has developed rapid, automated software that turns billions of gigabases of genome sequencing data into answers. With the genetic sequencing data in hand, the genetic cause of Lilly Grossman’s lifelong mysterious illness was found with Cypher’s technology in a matter of minutes.

Cypher Genomics has been featured as one of 12 Tech Startups to Watch in San Diego by Xconomy, a leading source for innovation business news.  Cypher’s technology offers a highly accurate, rapid and robust interpretation software solution for users of human genome sequencing.

We have received a number of other recognitions throughout the San Diego innovation community including being named one of San Diego Venture Group’s COOL Companies.  We also received the MetroConnect Prize from San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation’s Go Global San Diego Initiative.

As San Diego is establishing itself as the center for genomic advancement, Cypher stands out as the leader in genomic innovation by collaborating with other top companies and institutions to enhance diagnostics.  For example, the partnership between Cypher and Sequenom, the leading molecular diagnostics company, is paving the way for noninvasive prenatal testing and continued collaborations with UPenn/CurePSP as well as the Clinic for Special Children, are providing answers to many families with children afflicted by rare diseases.

Read more about Cypher Genomics in Xconomy here.

Read in The Atlantic: How Genome Sequencing Creates Communities Around Rare Disorders 

Share this
19 Aug

Cypher Genomics and Rare Genomics Institute Announce Winners of 2015 BeHEARD Challenge

Cypher, a BeHEARD technology sponsor, will apply its Mantis™ genome interpretation software to research in HPV-linked and autoimmunity disorders

SAN DIEGO – August 19, 2015 – Cypher Genomics, Inc., the leading genome informatics company, in partnership with the Rare Genomics Institute, today announced winners in the 2015 BeHEARD Challenge. BeHEARD is a global competition that funds projects submitted by researchers studying rare diseases or individuals affected by them, awarding them with technology prizes that will facilitate their projects.

Two winners will have access to Cypher’s Mantis™ software, which provides a comprehensive, unbiased interpretation of genomic sequencing data and helps researchers quickly zero in on genetic variants of clinical significance.

The prize winners will work with Cypher to investigate the genetic causes of two diseases; the first is designed to identify the genetic basis of a skin disorder linked to human papilloma virus (HPV), which may uncover clues to how otherwise healthy individuals can better resist HPV infection, a major contributor to cervical cancer. The second project will analyze the genetic underpinnings of a complex autoimmune disease that could reveal important clues to mechanisms driving other autoimmune conditions such as type 1 diabetes.

“It is important to study rare diseases, not only to help the individuals and families impacted by these difficult conditions,” said Dr. Ashley Van Zeeland, co-founder and CEO of Cypher Genomics, “but rare diseases also offer us an opportunity to gain insights into biological phenomena that are related to other, more common, disorders which can be difficult to characterize in the population at large.”

Discovered in the Indonesian jungle, the skin disorder epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EV) has been found only in individuals of Indonesian and Dutch-Indonesian descent. The disorder causes extreme wart growth upon exposure to HPV types 1 and 2. The first person identified with this disease was nicknamed the “Treeman” because his hands and feet resemble tree bark due to dense wart growth. Cypher will partner with Dr. W. Martin Kast, professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at the University of Southern California, who discovered the disease, to identify the gene or genes responsible by analyzing three affected individuals, as well as healthy donors of Indonesian or Dutch-Indonesian descent. Identifying the genes and mechanisms responsible for EV could inform development of treatments to help clear HPV infections in the general population, reducing the cancer risks associated with this group of viruses.

The second grant will fund study of autoimmune polyglandular syndrome-1 (APS-1), a disease that causes autoimmunity against multiple organs, including the pancreas which in these cases leads to insulin-dependent diabetes. The gene responsible for APS-1 is known, but extensive variation in symptoms across patients suggests that additional genes play a role in how the disease manifests. Even siblings carrying identical mutations, for example, display autoimmunity against different organs. Cypher will partner with Dr. Michail S. Lionakis, head of the Fungal Pathogenesis Unit at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), to analyze the genomes of 60 affected individuals and family members. The aim of the study will be to identify the additional genetic variants that determine which organs are attacked in different patients. A greater understanding of the genetics underlying autoimmunity in APS-1 may lead to ways to treat more common autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes.

In the 2015 BeHEARD (Helping Empower and Accelerate Research Discoveries) Challenge, the Rare Genomics Institute has awarded $600,000 to research projects employing a variety of leading edge technologies. For more information about BeHEARD, please visit the Challenge website. 

About Cypher Genomics

Cypher Genomics is a leading genome informatics company offering a highly accurate, rapid and robust interpretation software solution for users of human genome sequencing. The proprietary, automated genomic interpretation platform allows clinical laboratories to tune Cypher Genomics’ market leading sensitivity and specificity profiles to develop molecular tests for diagnostic and prognostic use and pharmaceutical companies to discover biomarkers from whole genome sequence data in sample sizes typical of early stage drug development studies. Through MantisTM, the genome interpretation software as a service offering, and CoralTM, a biomarker discovery service, Cypher Genomics can improve health care and reduce costs by facilitating improved diagnostic accuracy and earlier interventions, optimizing therapeutic approaches and reducing adverse drug reactions. Cypher Genomics is located in San Diego, California.

Share this
23 Jul

Cypher Genomics Named a San Diego “COOL Company” by San Diego Venture Group

SDVG Cool Companies 2015Out of 160 applicants this year, Cypher Genomics is proud to be among the select group of this year’s 31 COOL Companies.

Each year, the San Diego Venture Group selects a small group of nominated start-ups by designating them “COOL Companies”. What does being “COOL” mean? Small or large, SDVG’s COOL Companies represent the innovation taking place in San Diego’s major industries, including life science, technology and finance.

Cypher Genomics, founded from the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI), has developed rapid, automated software that turns billions of gigabases of sequencing data into answers. While sequencing a human genome can cost less than $1,000, the clinical interpretation can be worth millions.

Cypher recently collaborated with Sequenom and Celgene to use Cypher’s genomic interpretation technologies to improve clinical diagnostics and drug development, respectively. Cypher also has a number of research collaborations, including with UPenn/CurePSP and Clinic for Special Children, to help find genetic causes of rare diseases.

The 2015 COOL Companies will be featured at the SDVG’s Annual Venture Summit on September 24- 25th at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in Downtown San Diego.  The event draws an attendance of over 700 people, including around 100 venture capitalists.  Interested in meeting Cypher and the rest of the COOL Companies?

Register for the Venture Summit here.

See the full list of 2015 COOL Companies.

Cypher Genomics was also recently named one of San Diego’s MetroConnect Prize Winners. Read more here.

Share this
09 Jun

Cypher Genomics Appoints Catherine J. Mackey, Ph.D. to the Scientific Advisory Board

SAN DIEGO, June 9, 2015 — Cypher Genomics, Inc., the leading genome informatics company, today announced the appointment of Catherine J. “Kitty” Mackey, Ph.D. to Cypher’s scientific advisory board. Dr. Mackey is currently the chief executive officer of CYPrus Therapeutics, Inc. and was formerly the senior vice president of Worldwide Research and Development for Pfizer, Inc. and director of Pfizer La Jolla. Cypher provides rapid, automated, interpretation of human genome sequencing data for clinical trials, diagnostic development, population studies and disease gene identification.

“Accurate analysis of genomic data is critical to the effective development of new therapeutics,” said Dr. Mackey. “Cypher has developed a technology that can find clinically meaningful markers of response in human genome sequencing data, and I see tremendous opportunity for the company to expand its collaborations with pharma partners and ensure this technology is used to full advantage in the drug development space.”

Dr. Mackey is credited with leading Pfizer’s La Jolla Laboratories to become one of Pfizer’s most successful R&D sites.  With nearly a thousand people located on a one million square-foot campus, the team delivered a pipeline of more than two dozen compounds and yielded four key oncology drugs.

“With 33 years of experience in the life science industry, Dr. Mackey has a depth of experience in building innovative research and development teams, establishing strategic collaborations and developing and delivering important healthcare products,” said Adam Simpson, president and chief operating officer of Cypher Genomics.  “We look forward to her advice as we apply Cypher’s technology to advance the use of genomic information to improve biomarker discovery and target identification and deliver personalized medicines.”

Dr. Mackey spent the first part of her career in agricultural biotechnology. She held positions of increasing responsibility from bench scientist to vice president and head of R&D for DEKALB Genetics Corporation. She was member of DEKALB’s executive team which sold the company to Monsanto. After DEKALB, Dr. Mackey joined Pfizer to lead Genomic and Proteomic Sciences, which included biomarker and pharmacogenomics research. She then moved to lead Pfizer’s Strategic Alliances and was appointed senior vice president of Pfizer Global R&D and director of Pfizer La Jolla. Dr. Mackey serves on several boards to advance innovation in healthcare.

Dr. Mackey joins Cypher scientific advisory board members: Kelly Bethel, M.D., practicing hematopathologist in the Scripps Clinic Medical Group; Michael Hultner, Ph.D., chief scientist for Lockheed Martin’s Health and Life Sciences division; Myla Lai-Goldman, M.D., CEO and co-founder of GeneCentric Diagnostics; Arnold Levine, Ph.D., pioneering cancer research scientist and discoverer of p53 tumor suppressor protein; Diego Miralles, M.D., global head of Innovation, Janssen; Nicholas Schork, Ph.D., professor and director of Human Biology at the J. Craig Venter Institute and the head of Integrated Genomics at Human Longevity, Inc.

About Cypher Genomics
Cypher Genomics is a leading genome informatics company offering a highly accurate, rapid and robust interpretation software solution for users of human genome sequencing. The proprietary, automated genomic interpretation platform allows clinical laboratories to tune Cypher Genomics’ market leading sensitivity and specificity profiles to develop molecular tests for diagnostic and prognostic use and pharmaceutical companies to discover biomarkers from whole genome sequence data in sample sizes typical of early stage drug development studies. Through MantisTM, the genome interpretation software as a service offering, and CoralTM, a biomarker discovery service, Cypher Genomics can improve health care and reduce costs by facilitating improved diagnostic accuracy and earlier interventions, optimizing therapeutic approaches and reducing adverse drug reactions. Cypher Genomics is located in San Diego, California.

Share this
28 May

Cypher Genomics, Clinic for Special Children Collaborate on Rare Disease Diagnoses

Cypher Genomics and the Clinic for Special Children (CSC) today announced a collaboration to diagnose rare genetic diseases.

Strasburg, Pennsylvania-based CSC will use Cypher’s automated genomic interpretation tools to diagnose diseases in its unique patient population, which includes the Amish and Mennonites, populations that have a relatively high incidence of genetic disease.

Read the press release here

Share this
28 May

Cypher Genomics and Clinic for Special Children Collaborate on Rare Disease Study

Cypher’s Mantis™ software to provide genomic interpretation of Amish and Mennonite population

SAN DIEGO – May 28, 2015 – Cypher Genomics, Inc., the leading genome informatics company, and the Clinic for Special Children today announced a collaboration in which Cypher’s automated genomic interpretation tools will be utilized for the diagnosis of rare genetic diseases among a unique population. Located in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, the Clinic for Special Children (CSC) serves many Amish and Mennonite patients, a founder population with a relatively high incidence of genetic disease.

“We are very excited to partner with such a distinctive and highly regarded organization,” said Ashley Van Zeeland, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Cypher Genomics. “In this unique setting, it will be critical to account for population-specific genetic variation in order to obtain an accurate interpretation for each patient. This is precisely why we designed Mantis to be flexible and adaptable to each of our partner’s needs, and we look forward to demonstrating the value of incorporating local reference data into our interpretation system.”

“A validated automated solution to interpret our genomic data will enable us to return results to more patients than we otherwise could with our current methods, which are both time and labor intensive,” said Dr. Erik Puffenberger, Laboratory Director, Clinic for Special Children. “Because the software will be tailored to our patient population, we also expect to have an increased level of confidence that we are getting to the correct answers.”

The collaborative study will be both retrospective and prospective. In the retrospective arm, Cypher will apply its Mantis™ software platform to validate its fully automated interpretation against CSC patients with a confirmed diagnosis. These cases consist of single genome, trio (patient plus parents), and large family analysis. The aim of this phase of the project will be to establish a baseline sensitivity and specificity profile before refining the software to account for allelic frequencies specific to CSC’s patient population, which the clinic can then apply to analyze new cases in a prospective study arm. In both arms, Cypher’s software will be utilized to interpret all categories of variants commonly observed in human genomes, including SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), indels (insertions and deletions) and CNVs (copy number variations).

“It is well known from population studies that genetic variant frequencies vary widely across different global and founder populations, which can affect interpretation,” said Van Zeeland. “A general working assumption is that variants that are frequent in a population are likely to be harmless, whereas rare variants are considered more likely to be potentially disease-causing.”

This assumption can be compromised, however, if an individual’s genome is compared to and interpreted against a reference genome from a population with different characteristics. For example, genomes from African individuals contain variants not seen in genomes from European or Asian individuals. Interpreting a genome from an African individual against a European reference would mark many variants as rare, simply because they are absent from the reference, when in fact they can be quite common and harmless in the relevant population.

“These types of false positives have been a problem for us,” said Dr. Puffenberger. “When you are trying to get to the root cause of a disorder you have never seen before so you can recommend an appropriate therapy, you don’t want to lose valuable time.”

About Cypher Genomics

Cypher Genomics is a leading genome informatics company offering a highly accurate, rapid and robust interpretation software solution for users of human genome sequencing. The proprietary, automated genomic interpretation platform allows clinical laboratories to tune Cypher Genomics’ market leading sensitivity and specificity profiles to develop molecular tests for diagnostic and prognostic use and pharmaceutical companies to discover biomarkers from whole genome sequence data in sample sizes typical of early stage drug development studies. Through MantisTM, the genome interpretation software as a service offering, and CoralTM, a biomarker discovery service, Cypher Genomics can improve health care and reduce costs by facilitating improved diagnostic accuracy and earlier interventions, optimizing therapeutic approaches and reducing adverse drug reactions. Cypher Genomics is located in San Diego, California.

About the Clinic for Special Children

The Clinic for Special Children is a non-profit medical service predominantly for Amish and Mennonite children with genetic disorders. The clinic serves children by translating advances in genetics into timely diagnoses and accessible, comprehensive medical care, and by developing better understanding of heritable diseases. For more information, please visit: https://clinicforspecialchildren.org.

Share this
20 May
20 May
20 May

Cypher Genomics Collaborates with Celgene Corporation to Identify Novel Genomic Biomarkers

SAN DIEGO – May 20, 2015 – Cypher Genomics, Inc., a leading genome informatics company, today announced a collaboration with Celgene Corporation to apply Cypher’s CoralTM technology to discover novel genomic biomarkers that associate with patient response to innovative medicines. The information generated from the collaboration is intended to help accelerate patient access to the right medicine at the right time, increasing efficiencies in clinical research and development and potentially inform new companion diagnostics.

“To improve drug development, we have to personalize it. Celgene is employing sophisticated analytics and computational approaches to drive new insights from clinical data,” said Adam Simpson, president and COO of Cypher Genomics. “We look forward to working with Celgene and applying Cypher’s Coral technology to use genomic information to identify patient response to innovative therapies that are changing the course of human health through transformational science.”

As human genome sequencing has become more accurate and accessible, the adoption of genomic sequencing beyond targeted panels in clinical development has been impeded by the difficulty of discovering a signal from the noise of genomic data. Cypher has developed robust, scalable, and automated genome interpretation technology to quickly identify genetic markers and their contribution to therapeutic responses and disease management.

“Cypher has shown through multiple validation studies that our Coral technology can find novel biomarker signatures in genomic data from small clinical studies,” said Ashley Van Zeeland, Ph.D., CEO of Cypher Genomics. “We look forward to working with Celgene on this first project and identifying additional ways we can incorporate our genome interpretation expertise to help improve clinical research efficiency and deliver the right medicine to the right patient at the right time sooner.” Cypher’s Coral technology was developed to unlock the information contained in genome sequencing data by identifying genomic biomarkers to improve drug development and enable personalized medicine. The benefits of biomarker discovery to deliver precision medicine is clear – matching therapies to patients can drive better healthcare through better clinical outcomes.

About Cypher Genomics

Cypher Genomics is a leading genome informatics company offering a highly accurate, rapid and robust interpretation software solution for users of human genome sequencing. The proprietary, automated genomic interpretation platform allows clinical laboratories to tune Cypher Genomics’ market leading sensitivity and specificity profiles to develop molecular tests for diagnostic and prognostic use and pharmaceutical companies to discover biomarkers from whole genome sequence data in sample sizes typical of early stage drug development studies. Through MantisTM, the genome interpretation software as a service offering, and CoralTM, a biomarker discovery service, Cypher Genomics can improve health care and reduce costs by facilitating improved diagnostic accuracy and earlier interventions, optimizing therapeutic approaches and reducing adverse drug reactions. Cypher Genomics is located in San Diego, California.

For more information about Cypher Genomics, visit www.cyphergenomics.com and connect with us here: www.twitter.com/cyphergenomics.

Share this