Empire Genomics, a growing cancer molecular diagnostics company founded in Buffalo in 2006, today unveiled the first ever multiple myeloma cancer test which determines therapeutic guidance. The new test will create more than 50 new jobs within the next five years at the company’s 6,500 square foot headquarters located on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The new jobs will include scientists, marketing, regulatory experts, sales, New York State clinically certified technologists, project managers and customer support positions. Empire Genomics also announced the hiring of a Clinical Laboratory Director, Theresa C. Brown, Ph.D., FACMG, who has relocated to Buffalo from Atlanta, GA to head the company’s new clinical laboratory, where the newly launched diagnostic test will be conducted and manufactured. Dr. Brown was selected as part of a national search.
“Dr. Brown brings tremendous expertise in clinical and molecular genetics,” said Norma J. Nowak, PhD, founder and chief scientific officer of Empire Genomics. “Her leadership will accelerate the launch of this new test for a more precise treatment of oncology patients with multiple myeloma and lymphoma. This brings us another important step closer to our vision for personalized medicine.”
Empire Genomics is commercializing a genetic test for multiple myeloma that will guide treatments and reduce health care costs as well as sparing patients the negative consequences of treatments that may not be effective. Multiple myeloma accounts for approximately 10% of blood based cancers, with an estimated 21,700 new cases and 10,710 deaths in the U.S. in 2012.
Multiple myeloma is a malignant blood cell cancer that is increasing in frequency in today’s aging population. While advances in therapeutic treatments have improved the response rate, there are significant side effects to these very costly treatments. This new diagnostic test will be the first DNA biomarker test to direct treatment of multiple myeloma.
“It is an extremely exciting time at Empire Genomics as we embark on launching this clinical diagnostic lab and genetic test that we believe has the potential to fundamentally change cancer treatments,” added Anthony Johnson, CEO, Empire Genomics. “Innovative genomic tests such as the one we unveiled today are revolutionizing healthcare and this test holds great promise for our company as we continue our growth now and in the future.”
The new laboratory will serve as a clinical reference facility where patient samples such as bone marrow, blood, urine and tissue samples from anywhere in the world can be tested. The laboratory will offer genetic testing in support of clinical trials enabling diagnosis of cancers and in turn help physicians determine treatments. The new clinical laboratory is expected to obtain regulatory approval from New York State Department of Health in early 2013.
Dr. Brown has more than 20 years of experience in the field of genetics, beginning as a cytogenetic technologist, then gaining experience in molecular genetic testing, and for the past ten years has been a director of cytogenetic reference laboratories, including IMPATH, Genzyme Genetics and CSI laboratories. Her area of expertise is the cytogenetics of leukemias and lymphomas, with experience in establishing and growing new clinical laboratories.
Dr. Brown has a Bachelor of Science degree in Genetic Biology from Purdue University, a Ph.D. in Medical Genetics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, completed postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and is certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics in Clinical Cytogenetics.
“I am excited to be working with such a dedicated team and community that are committed to improving healthcare,” said Dr. Brown. “Personalized healthcare is the present and future of healthcare and Empire is right at the forefront as exemplified by this new assay.”
Empire Genomics is a molecular diagnostics company that is developing a comprehensive array of services for use in diagnosing and determining the precise treatment for patients with cancer. The company, created from research started at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, provides products and services that enable clinicians and pharmaceutical firms to identify types of cancers, tailored therapies and how cancer will progress using DNA biomarkers. Empire Genomics currently provides its products and services to entities across the globe. Its various products and services are designed to specifically meet the needs of pathologists, oncologists and oncology researchers.
Entry Image, Speaking: Anthony Johnson, CEO and President of Empire Genomics
Second Image, Norma J. Nowak PhD, Chief Scientific Officer/Founder and Anthony Johnson