EValuate Diagnostics

HMH Research Institute Creates First Spin-off Company, EValuate Diagnostics

The Hackensack Meridian Health Research Institute and its Office of Innovation and Commercialization have announced the first spin-off company based on science developed within the HMH network.

The company, named EValuate Diagnostics, will develop and market a new cancer testing system for the capture of extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes, which have been elusive to medicine thus far. Novel diagnostic assays derived from this technology will help select and identify disease biomarkers for earlier-than-ever detection of tumors and a wide range of other diseases.

“This is a remarkable breakthrough for our health network, and for patients of the future,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, the chief executive officer of HMH. “We are taking the science produced by our terrific minds at the HMH Research Institute, and then moving it to the market so it can benefit all. Detecting deadly cancers as soon as possible means lives can, and will, be saved.”

The company is based upon the work of Olivier Loudig, Ph.D., an associate member of the Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), who is directly involved with the development of EValuate Diagnostics. His laboratory at the CDI has developed research programs for biomarker discovery and early detection of breast, lung, and prostate cancers using liquid biopsies.

Developing cancer lesions, which may remain elusive due to their small size by traditional imaging approaches or tissue biopsies, still leave a molecular trace in biofluids such as blood. The laboratory of Dr. Loudig has homed in on this minute trail and, using highly sensitive next-generation-sequencing technologies, has been able to detect RNA signature indicative of the developing lesions. The development of gene expression assays for diagnostics is widely used for evaluating large tumors, but with this novel tracking technology, and applied to early detection has the potential to exponentially help save patient lives.

“We are really establishing the threshold of detection,” said Dr. Loudig recently.

A core tenet of the mission of the CDI, founded in 2019, is translating cutting-edge science to rapidly impact patient health for New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive health network. EValuate Diagnostics is a direct product of this research ethos, driving the discoveries of the Loudig Laboratory to help patients in the very-near future.

“This is a thrilling development,” said Sandra Powell-Elliott, the chief innovation officer for HMH, who leads the network’s Office of Innovation and Commercialization. “The health network supports so many great initiatives – but this is a new way for the health network to really bring innovation to the next level.”

“This is a new milestone for innovation at HMH,” said Ihor Sawczuk, M.D., FACS, HMH’s president of Academics, Research and Innovation, founding chair of the HMH Research Institute, and also associate dean of Clinical Integration and professor and chair emeritus of Urology at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. “The work of Olivier Loudig is promising, and we want to fulfill that promise with all the support we can provide.”

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