Press Release – December 17, 2018
Seer Debuts with Proprietary Proteomics Platform to Enable Early Detection of Cancer and Neurological Diseases
-Proteograph™ platform yields highly accurate, broad-scale information on health status
and disease not previously possible-
–Advancing pipeline of first-in-class liquid biopsy products with the goal of detecting diseases
at early, pre-symptomatic stages-
-$36 million in financing to date led by Maverick Ventures and Invus,
with participation from other investors-
South San Francisco, Calif., December 17, 2018—Seer, Inc., launched today to capture and translate molecular insights from the proteome to enable early detection of cancer and neurological diseases and drive earlier treatment to improve patient outcomes. Seer’s core technology, the Proteograph™ platform, is designed to provide rapid, cost-effective, and broad-scale proteomic profiling with high accuracy. The company then applies machine learning algorithms to analyze the resulting high volume of proteomic data and generate population-level disease insights, which it is utilizing to develop first-in-class liquid biopsy products to detect diseases at early, pre-symptomatic stages.
“While genomic data has represented a massive step forward in helping us understand and more precisely treat disease, it is has shown limited ability to detect early stage disease and track disease progression,” said Omid Farokhzad, M.D., Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder of Seer. “Proteomics reveals the relatively much larger body of data about health status and disease that could be used by clinicians. Our Proteograph platform allows for the first-ever generation of proprietary proteomic information with high accuracy at a scale and speed not previously possible, complementing genomic and other health information, and affording us comprehensive insights to deliver first-in-class liquid biopsy products with a goal of achieving very early disease detection.”
Seer was founded by Dr. Farokhzad, Philip Ma, Ph.D., and Robert S. Langer, Sc.D., based on Dr. Farokhzad’s work at Harvard Medical School and a multi-institutional team of collaborators. Dr. Farokhzad serves as CEO and Director. Dr. Ma serves as Chief Business Officer and President. Dr. Langer serves as Director and Chair of Seer’s Scientific Advisory Board.
To date, Seer has completed $36 million Series A and B financings, led by Maverick Ventures and Invus, respectively, with other investors. Seer is using the proceeds to advance its Proteograph platform, expand its industry-leading proteomic database, advance its multiple discovery programs, and develop first-in-class liquid biopsy products for early disease detection, with an initial focus on oncology and neurology.
While early disease detection holds the promise of driving earlier treatment with currently available therapies and, hence, improved outcomes, proteomic information could also be applied to enable the discovery and development of new therapies. To that end, Seer will seek to collaborate strategically with industry partners to develop new products that utilize its Proteograph platform.
The Challenges of Proteomics and Seer’s Breakthrough Approach
The promise of proteomics to yield critical disease data has long been known. But, until now, there have been major technical and economic barriers to broad-scale proteomics analyses. A primary obstacle has been the difficulty in managing the huge dynamic range of protein concentrations, with variations of 10-12 orders of magnitude from the most to the least abundant proteins in the plasma and other biologic fluids. Research approaches have been developed to broadly analyze proteins across this dynamic range, but these approaches can take days to weeks to analyze a single sample.
The Proteograph platform comprises multiple technologies, including nanotechnology, protein chemistry, and machine learning, that provide proteomic profiling from a very small biological sample, capturing and analyzing tens of thousands of data points from proteins with high accuracy, including unique proteins and novel information about protein relationships. This yields a biomolecular fingerprint of health status and disease for each person. Seer’s platform is designed to capture this deep proteomic information for many patients simultaneously and then apply machine learning to analyze the data. The Proteograph provides a dramatic advancement in speed and scale, allowing the generation of proprietary data and disease insights at a population level.
“A seer is someone who can see what the future holds, so that term ideally captures the big vision of this company,” said Dr. Langer, Seer founder, Director, and Chairman of Scientific Advisory Board. “The proteome, remarkably, can give us insights into the future of human health. But, accessing this data reproducibly and accurately, and then translating it into practical applications, has proven to be challenging. Seer’s Proteograph technology and novel approach have the potential to overcome these challenges.”
“We were impressed not only by Seer’s novel technology platform and early data, but also by the team’s vision for the broad application of its proteomic data, especially for early disease detection when potentially lethal diseases may be cured,” said David Singer, Managing Partner of Maverick Ventures, Seer Director and investor. “Seer has assembled a world-class proteomics and data team, along with a group of highly respected clinical and scientific advisors who can provide guidance across the spectrum of potential applications. Moreover, the company is being built on the backbone of rigorous science and robust data. We look forward to seeing Seer’s progress in the months and years ahead.”
About Seer’s Leadership
Seer’s leadership and clinical and scientific advisers include a multidisciplinary group of renowned experts in proteomics, data sciences, nanotechnology, and precision medicine.
Key Management Team Members
As CEO, Dr. Farokhzad brings to Seer a proven track record founding pioneering biotechnology companies. He previously founded BIND Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BIND, acquired by Pfizer); Selecta Biosciences (NASDAQ: SELB), where he serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors; and Tarveda Therapeutics, where he serves as a member of the Board of Directors. Dr. Farokhzad previously served as a Professor at Harvard Medical School and a physician-scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he established and directed the Center for Nanomedicine.
Dr. Ma, who serves as Seer’s Chief Business Officer and President, was previously Vice President for Digital Health Technologies and Data Sciences at Biogen, a group that he established in 2015. Prior to joining Biogen, Dr. Ma was Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, where he led the West Coast Healthcare Practice and global Personalized Medicine practice for the firm.
Seer’s management team also includes John Blume, Ph.D., Vice President of Research (previously CSO, at Applied Proteomics and SVP of Development at Affymetrix); Bill Manning, Ph.D., Vice President of Product Development (previously VP of Product Development at Crescendo Biosciences and developer of Vectra DA proteomics test for rheumatoid arthritis); Greg Troiano, M.S. Eng., Vice President of Technology and Chief Engineer (previously VP Nanomedicine Development & Manufacturing at Pfizer and SVP of Technology at BIND); Lyndal Hesterberg, Ph.D., Seer’s Distinguished Fellow (previously CTO at Crescendo, who personally has led or consulted on the development of seven proteomics tests, commercially available or in development), Lyssa Friedman, M.P.A., Head of Clinical Operations (previously VP, Clinical & Regulatory Affairs at Oncocyte, and VP of Clinical Operations at Veracyte), and John Schembri, Controller (previously VP, Finance & Controller, Global Blood Therapeutics, and CFO and Controller, BiPar Sciences).
Board of Directors
- Omid Farokhzad, M.D., CEO at Seer;
- David Hallal, Former CEO at Alexion Pharmaceuticals;
- Robert Langer, Sc.D., Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT);
- Terry McGuire, Founding Partner of Polaris Partners; and
- David Singer, Managing Partner at Maverick Ventures.
Clinical and Scientific Advisors
- Robert Langer, Sc.D., (Chairman of Scientific Advisory Board), Institute Professor at MIT;
- Vivek Farias, Ph.D., (Chair of Data Committee), Patrick J. McGovern (1959) Professor at MIT Sloan School of Management;
- Philip Kantoff, M.D., (Chair of Clinical Committee), Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center;
- Mostafa Ronaghi, Ph.D., (Chair of Technology Committee), Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President at Illumina;
- Erwin Böttinger, M.D., Professor of the Digital Engineering Faculty of Hasso Plattner Institute and University of Pottsdam;
- Charles Cantor, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor at Boston University, and former Chief Scientific Officer of Sequenom;
- Steve Carr, Ph.D., Senior Director of Proteomics and Institute Scientist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
- Wolfgang Parak, Ph.D., Professor of Physics and Chemistry, University of Hamburg, Germany; and
- Ralph Weissleder, M.D., Thrall Professor of Radiology and Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School.
About Seer, Inc.
Seer is a life sciences and health data company focused on capturing and translatingmolecular insights from the proteome to enable early, pre-symptomatic detection of cancer and neurological diseases, drive earlier treatment, and improve patient outcomes. Based in South San Francisco, CA, Seer’s novel Proteograph™ platform allows for the first-ever generation of proprietary proteomic information with high accuracy at a scale and speed not previously possible, complementing genomic and other health information, and affording comprehensive insights to deliver first-in-class liquid biopsy products with a goal of achieving very early disease detection. Visit www.seer.bio to learn more.