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Uncovering novel protein biomarkers in drug discovery and development: Targeting disease diagnosis and drug response monitoring

This webinar is brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

Uncovering novel protein biomarkers in drug discovery and development: Targeting disease diagnosis and drug response monitoring

Recorded 19 February 2020


Protein biomarkers are increasingly used in clinical research to identify protein signatures that can predict outcomes and responses, effectively stratify patient populations, and provide insights into the biology of disease. Consequently, some pharmaceutical companies are including protein biomarker programs in their drug discovery and development processes, to identify early diagnostic markers of disease that may also advance our understanding of disease biology and potentially identify novel drug targets. In addition, protein biomarkers may serve as essential tools to monitor the effects of therapeutic interventions, even in advance of clinical endpoint observations. Recent developments in multiplex technologies that enable high-throughput analysis of many proteins simultaneously, while using minimal volumes of biological samples, are accelerating the utility of proteomics, and have the potential to support pharmaceutical development across all aspects of the process, from target discovery to postmarket surveillance. This webinar will present two recent examples that span this range of applications, demonstrating how novel diagnostic biomarkers of early disease development and markers for treatment response in patients can be uncovered.

During the webinar, the speakers will:

  • Describe how multiplex biomarker screening identified signatures to distinguish early and established Alzheimer’s disease
  • Explain how a broad screening of over 1,000 proteins identified multiple biomarkers in hATTR amyloidosis patients treated with an RNA interference therapeutic
  • Share results comparing correlation data for key protein biomarkers using two different profiling assays
  • Answer your questions during the live broadcast!

This webinar will last for approximately 75 minutes.

Speaker bios

Christopher D. Whelan, Ph.D.

Biogen Research and Early Development
Cambridge, MA

Dr. Whelan is a senior scientist in the Translational Biology Research Group at Biogen. He received his Ph.D. from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland in 2014 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in 2016 with the ENIGMA consortium, based at the University of Southern California. His graduate and postdoctoral research focused on the combination of genome-wide association data with magnetic resonance imaging scans, leading to the world’s largest studies of genetic susceptibility to epilepsy (Whelan/International League Against Epilepsy Consortium on Complex Epilepsies, Lancet Neurology, 2014), genetic determinants of subcortical brain volumes (Hibar et al., Nature, 2015), and changes in brain structure within and across the common epilepsies (Whelan et al., Brain, 2018). In 2016, he joined the Genome Sciences & Technologies group at Pfizer as a manager of human genetics, where he served as the scientific strategy lead for human genetics, functional genomics, and biomarker discovery projects supporting the company’s Neuroscience Research Unit. Dr. Whelan moved to Biogen in 2018, where his research has focused on applying quantitative genetics, biomarker discovery, and advanced neuroimaging to help accelerate drug discovery programs and integrate precision medicine strategies for Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.

Simina Ticau, Ph.D.

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Cambridge, MA

Dr. Ticau is a senior scientist working at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studied the mechanism of eukaryotic replicative helicase loading. Following her graduate work, she joined Ohana Biosciences, a small biotech startup also in Cambridge, where she worked as a senior scientist to develop multiple molecular biology–based workflows critical to the company’s reproductive health portfolio. In her current role, Dr. Ticau focuses on scientific research in support of late-stage clinical programs with an emphasis on novel biomarker discovery across diseases.

Sean Sanders, Ph.D.

Washington, DC

Dr. Sanders did his undergraduate training at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK, supported by the Wellcome Trust. Following postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University, Dr. Sanders joined TranXenoGen, a startup biotechnology company in Massachusetts working on avian transgenics. Pursuing his parallel passion for writing and editing, Dr. Sanders joined BioTechniques as an editor, before joining Science/AAAS in 2006. Currently, Dr. Sanders is the Director and Senior Editor for Custom Publishing for the journal Science and Program Director for Outreach.

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