CHANDLER, Ariz.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--The Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio) today announced that Iron Horse Diagnostics, Inc. has been selected to receive a 2013 AZBio Fast Lane Award from the Arizona Bioindustry Association in recognition for its focus on the development and commercialization of novel tests to support the diagnosis and management of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other neurological diseases and key milestones achieved over the last 18 months. Iron Horse Diagnostics will be honored by bioindustry leaders at the Phoenix Convention Center during the 2013 AZBio Awards on October 10, 2013.
“When I hear that, I love to point out that for some companies, especially diagnostics companies, that does not have to be the case. Just look at Iron Horse Diagnostics.”
The AZBio Fast Lane Award recognizes the select few companies that have achieved outstanding milestones in the past 18 months. Significant progress can be measured by clinical results, regulatory approvals, certifications, collaborations, funding awards, product launches, job growth or product sales milestones.
“So often we hear the lament that the road from discovery to development to delivery takes too long,” shared AZBio president and CEO Joan Koerber-Walker. “When I hear that, I love to point out that for some companies, especially diagnostics companies, that does not have to be the case. Just look at Iron Horse Diagnostics.”
Iron Horse Diagnostics was founded February of 2012 to commercialize diagnostic and prognostic tests for neurologic diseases. During this time, Iron Horse has in-licensed 4 patents related to protein based biomarkers for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and 1 patent for blood based biomarkers of traumatic brain injury.
The company is led by Dr. Robert Bowser, a serial entrepreneur who developed the protein signatures for both the ALS diagnostic test and the ALS prognostic test. Dr. Bowser has published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals and has been the recipient of a large number of grants for his research in ALS. Dr. Bowser is also a Professor of Neurology and Neurobiology at the Barrow Neurological Institute and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, where he is Chairman of Neurobiology and Director of the Gregory W. Fulton ALS Research Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Bowser is a co-Founder of Knopp Biosciences, a Pittsburgh based drug development company that signed a partnership deal with Biogen Idec in 2010 for $80 million up-front payment and milestone payments up to a total of $345 million for an ALS drug therapy. He earned his B.S. in Cell Biology from Carnegie Mellon University and Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Yale University.
Iron Horse co-founder and Scientific Advisor is Dr. Gerry Shaw, founder and President of EnCor Biotechnology Inc., a successful company that specializes in the generation and sale of antibodies for research purposes to scientific investigators and many other companies. EnCor will provide Iron Horse antibodies for use in all products, with exclusive license for use of EnCor antibodies in clinical diagnostic assays. Dr. Shaw was a Professor of Neurosciences at the University of Florida and has performed research on the cytoskeleton for the past 25 years. Dr. Shaw earned his B.S. in Cell Biology from University College London and his Ph.D. from King’s College London.
Since its start in 2012, Iron Horse successfully received a NIH Fast-Track Phase I/II STTR grant to commercialize the ALS diagnostic test in the amount of $1.1M.
Iron Horse has also negotiated with a large pharma company to receive non-diluting capital in the amount of $700,000 to assist in the prospective multi-site validation study of the ALS diagnostic. This validation study will be performed at 3 clinical sites in the valley, a medical center in Boston, and two medical centers in Europe and be initiated in early 2014.
In addition, Iron Horse is already performing contract research organization (CRO) work for a small biotechnology company in California called Genervon, providing expertize on biomarkers to use in clinical trials for ALS and Parkinson’s disease to demonstrate efficacy of their drug. Iron Horse is providing standard operating procedures (SOPs) and biofluid sample collection kits that will be used in Genervon’s clinical trials. The Iron Horse laboratory will quantify various protein biomarkers in blood and cerebrospinal fluid of patients enrolled in these clinical trials.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a devastating disease that is nearly always fatal within 5 years of onset. Due to similarities in their symptomatic progression it is difficult to differentiate ALS from several other disease mimics (motor neuropathy, progressive muscle atrophy, etc.) until it is too late for intervention to have any real effect. With an earlier diagnosis, and therefore earlier intervention, current clinical care may significantly increase the lifespan of these patients and additional drug therapies that are likely to be introduced to the market could be more rapidly initiated. Not only might life expectancy increase, but patients would be given the chance for a higher quality of life for a longer duration due to more rapid inclusion of the patient into multi-disciplinary care treatment offered at specialized ALS clinics.
The 8th Annual AZBio Awards will be held Thursday, October 10, 2013 at the Phoenix Convention Center. In addition to the Gala Awards Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the VWR Company Showcase and Student Discovery Showcase sponsored by NAU will highlight the work of Arizona’s current and future life science leaders from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and again from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. so that attendees can see the work being done across the industry and interact with the leaders and future leaders who are driving bioindustry innovation.
In addition to honoring Iron Horse Diagnostics, the AZBio Awards will celebrate the achievements of:
- 2013 AZBio Pioneer Award for Lifetime Achievement – Thomas M. Grogan, M.D., Founder of Ventana and SVP Medical Affairs at Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., a member of the Roche Group
- 2013 Michael A. Cusanovich Arizona Bioscience Educator of the Year – Amanda Grimes, Mesa Biotechnology Academy, Mesa Public Schools
- 2013 AZBio Public Service Award - John W. Lewis, Mayor of the Town of Gilbert, AZ
- 2013 Arizona Bioscience Researcher of the Year – Leslie Boyer, M.D., VIPER Institute, The University of Arizona
- 2013 Jon W. McGarity Arizona Bioscience Leader of the Year – Linda Hunt, Dignity Health, Arizona Market.
- 2013 Arizona Bioscience Company of the Year – W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc.
- 2013 AZBio Fast Lane Awards – Iron Horse Dx, Nasseo, Inc., and Yulex Corporation.
About the Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio) – www.azbio.org
As Arizona’s statewide industry Association, AZBio is committed to working with our members across Arizona to support our industry as together we move forward faster. AZBio provides access to the key resources, connections and information in our biosciences community. This provides the foundation to be able to Connect, Collaborate, Innovate and Succeed; thus supporting the growth of a thriving economic environment for Arizona’s Bioscience Industry today and in the future.
AZBio is the State Affiliate of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) located in Washington, D.C. and also collaborates on national issues with AdvaMed, PhRMA and other national and international organizations to move the Arizona Bioscience Industry forward faster.