Dr. Andrei Turtoï is the 2013 recipient of the prestigious “ASIP Experimental Pathologist-in-Training Award”, presented by the American Society for Investigative Pathology (http://www.asip.org/awards/epit.cfm). The EPIT Award1 is presented to an ASIP trainee member who is a post-doctoral fellow and who has excelled in investigative efforts in studying mechanisms of disease. Dr. Turtoï, working as a post-doctoral researcher in the “Metastasis Research Lab”(MRL) of the University of Liège and co-inventor of the technology used at Targetome (spin-off of MRL), has been granted this award for his work in experimental pathology where he used a biomarker discovery platform that has become Targetome’s core technology. For the first time in over 30 years, this award has been presented to a non-American.
The biomarker discovery platform
In collaboration with ULg’s “Metastasis Research Lab” (Prof Castronovo) and the “Mass Spectrometry Lab” (Prof. De Pauw), Dr. Turtoï, has helped to develop an innovative biomarker discovery and validation platform aimed at selecting « surface accessible » biomarkers. Targetome’s initial aim is to develop affinity-based targeted therapies against unmet medical needs. With this in mind, the company’s current focus is on pancreatic cancer and liver metastases. Such diseases have an astonishingly high mortality rate (95% after 5 years) due to the lack of efficient treatment and reliable diagnostics. In hopes of meeting these unmet needs, such biomarkers are considered to be very specific of the disease, with very low expression outside of the target tissue.
Already, Targetome’s proprietary platform has allowed for the selection of a new array of highly specific novel therapeutic targets for which it is developing a range of ADCs (antibody drug conjugates) that are able to target the tumor cells and deliver a toxic dose to the core of the tumor.
Alongside this rapid, cost-efficient technology that allows for selecting accessible, tissue-specific biomarkers, the company is also in search of additional characteristics, such as biomarkers present in both the primary tissue and the metastases, or a biomarker common to the human disease and the animal model, in order to generate a “translational biomarker” that could potentially be used from animal testing to clinical phase. Furthermore, while adhering to the highest quality standards (Lab ISO17025 and GMP Compliant certified), the dynamics of this technology also allow for it to be applied to many other pathologies: oncology, CNS, inflammatory, metabolic, and stem cell therapy development.
The power of working together
As a result of this innovative biomarker discovery platform, developed by Dr. Turtoï and his colleagues, Targetome is able to provide biotech, pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies access to this platform as well as services related to the identification and validation of proteomic biomarkers including biologic generation for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes.
No doubt, this “ASIP Award” has been a great achievement for Dr. Turtoï as a post-doctoral but keep in mind the great opportunities that come with it for Targetome. By providing expertise that falls perfectly inline with the innovative science and pioneering technology on which a company like Targetome is based, this is a great example of how a “Doctor-in-Training” can have such a positive impact on a spin-off!
1 EPIT Award is presented to an ASIP trainee member who is a postdoctoral fellow (including research and clinical fellows) and who has excelled in investigative efforts in studying mechanisms of disease proven by: an abstract submission to the ASIP annual meeting, an extended research report, and a letter of recommendation attesting to the candidate’s role in the work and potential as a biomedical research investigator.
The award includes: a certificate of achievement for the winning abstract presented at the ASIP Annual Meeting Awards Presentation at the Experimental Biology Meeting and a $1,500 honorarium and complimentary meeting registration. Candidates for the Award are also considered for ASIP Merit Awards ($1,250 plus complimentary registration), which is awarded to the best postdoctoral fellow/resident abstract. Each applicant must be a trainee member of ASIP.
To learn more about this technology visit http://www.targetome.be/en/technologies
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