Predictive Oncology acquires zPREDICTA, Inc.

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Predictive Oncology Acquires zPREDICTA, Inc.

 

zPREDICTA has developed a patented tumor-specific 3D cell culture platform that is complementary to Predictive Oncology’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform developed by Helomics. zPREDICTA’s uniquely designed 3D culture systems create a tumor microenvironment that is closer to the patient’s actual tumor than the currently available alternatives.

EAGAN, Minn., Dec. 01, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Predictive Oncology, (POAI), a knowledge-driven company focused on applying artificial intelligence (AI) to develop personalized cancer therapies, today announced the acquisition of zPREDICTA, a company pioneering tumor-specific in vitro 3D cell culture models for drug discovery and development. The acquisition immediately adds a new anticipated revenue stream to Predictive Oncology and contributes to the company’s larger mission of supporting the development of new cancer therapies from drug discovery through regulatory approval. Based on zPREDICTA’s historical operating results and anticipated synergies, Predictive Oncology believes the acquisition will be accretive on a short term as well as a long term basis. zPREDICTA provides its services to many leading global biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

“The acquisition of zPREDICTA adds an established company with clear synergies to Predictive Oncology’s team, not to mention a progressive revenue stream,” said J. Melville (“Mel”) Engle, CEO and Chairman of Predictive Oncology. “But it’s not just about what zPREDICTA is doing today or the revenue it’s generating now — it’s about how zPREDICTA will complement our larger efforts to accurately predict cancer treatment outcomes and optimal drug formulations to treat specific types of cancer in specific types of patients. zPREDICTA’s work in the development of new 3D cell culture methods gives us yet another competitive advantage in helping identify, develop, and expedite new cancer therapies.”

zPREDICTA was founded by its CEO, Julia Kirshner, Ph.D, who leads the team in developing tumor-specific in vitro models for oncology drug discovery and research. The company is focused on accelerating the drug development process through its expertise in carcinogenesis, metastasis, and the tumor microenvironment. zPREDICTA’s complex in vitro models recapitulate the physiological environment of human cancer tissue and thus provide a more clinically relevant testing platform than commonly used alternatives.

 

“I’m excited to have zPREDICTA join the Predictive Oncology family. Combining zPREDICTA’s technology with Helomics, TumorGenesis, and Soluble Biotech will allow us to make true progress towards our joint mission of eliminating cancer. Integrating zPREDICTA’s patented tumor-specific 3D culture platform for testing of novel cancer targets with Helomics’s AI engine will enable us to significantly improve the accuracy of target discovery. TumorGenesis’s strategies to expand tumor tissue would generate invaluable material for drug discovery and testing within various tumor microenvironments constructed by zPREDICTA. Finally, utilizing zPREDICTA’s platform to test drug formulations created by Soluble Biotech would provide therapeutic candidates ready for in vivo and clinical testing. The opportunity to join such a diverse yet synergistic group and to have access to established expertise in target discovery, testing, and formulation will allow zPREDICTA to grow and expand to further the mission of Predictive Oncology,” said Dr. Kirshner.

When zPREDICTA’s technology is coupled with Predictive Oncology’s unique database, including more than 15 years of information on 150,000 patients and 137 types of tumors, Predictive Oncology’s machine learning algorithms CoRE and PeDAL will make more accurate predictions of treatment outcomes. In turn, this means more reliable insights for all of Predictive Oncology’s customers, whether they are pharmaceutical manufacturers engaged in drug discovery and development or healthcare professionals trying to choose the optimal treatments for their patients.

“zPREDICTA is the perfect fit for Predictive Oncology, providing yet another indispensable piece to the puzzle that will help humankind ultimately eliminate cancer,” Engle said. “The 3D cell culture models that Dr. Kirshner and her team have pioneered at zPREDICTA increase our potential to discover new breakthrough technologies to treat cancer and to uncover the optimal drug formulations for targeted cancer therapies.”

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Lawrence J. DeLucas, Ph.D

SVP, OPERATIONS,
Predictive Oncology
President, Soluble Biotech
At Predictive Oncology

Dr. DeLucas is the Vice president of Operations for Predictive Oncology and President and co-founder of Soluble Biotech, Inc. DeLucas is currently working to complete development of GMP facilities at Soluble Biotech and at TumorGenesis. In addition, he oversees Soluble Biotech’s solubility and stability contracts for numerous pharmaceutical/biotech companies.

Before Predictive Oncology

From 1981-2016 Dr. DeLucas was a faculty member at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) where he served as a Professor in the School of Optometry, Senior Scientist and Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center X-ray Shared Facility, and Director of the Center for Structural Biology. Dr. DeLucas received five degrees from UAB culminating in a Doctor of Optometry degree and a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry. He also received honorary Doctor of Science degrees from The Ohio State University, Ferris State University, the State University of New York (SUNY), and the Illinois College of Optometry. He has published 164 peer-reviewed research articles in various scientific journals, co-authored and edited several books on protein crystal growth and membrane proteins and is a co-inventor on 43 patents involving protein crystal growth, novel biotechnologies and structure-based drug design. DeLucas was a payload specialist NASA astronaut and member of the 7-person crew of Space Shuttle Columbia for Mission “STS-50”, called the United States Microgravity Laboratory-1 (USML-1) Spacelab mission. Columbia launched on June 25, 1992, returning on July 9.  In 1994 and 1995, Dr. DeLucas served as the Chief Scientist for the International Space Station at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. In 1999, Dr. DeLucas was recognized as one of the scientists who could shape the 21st century in an article published by “The Sunday Times” of London titled “The Brains Behind the 21st Century.”  In 2004, he was recognized as a Top Ten Finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Birmingham Business Journal. 

“ Soluble Biotech is continually demonstrating to pharmaceutical and biotech companies the significant value of its novel HSC technology for optimizing protein therapeutic formulations to treat a variety of chronic and infectious diseases. ”

Education
  • Five degrees from Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB): B.S. Chemistry, M.S. Chemistry, B.S. Physiological Optics, O.D. Optometry, Ph.D Biochemistry

  • Published 164 peer-reviewed research articles in various scientific journals

  • 1993-2016: Director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center X-ray Shared Facility, and Director of the Center for Structural Biology

  • NASA Astronaut, flew on Columbia Space Shuttle

  • 1994-1995: Appointed Chief Scientist for the International Space Station at NASA HQ
  • Arlette Uihlein, MD, FCAP, FASCP

    Dr. Arlette Uihlein is Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Quality for Predictive Oncology and Site Leader of Helomics, serving as the Vice President of Operations, Pathology Services and Medical Director of Helomics® Clinical and Research Labs since 2011. Dr. Uihlein is Board Certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, Cytopathology and Family Medicine. Dr. Uihlein completed her Pathology Residency at Allegheny General Hospital, where she served as Chief Resident in Pathology and completed Fellowships in Cytopathology and Surgical Pathology. During that time, she conducted extensive clinical research involving molecular pathology diagnostic and predictive markers, imaging of solid tumors, and novel applications of cellular tumor markers. While serving as Medical Director at Helomics, a CLIA and New York State certified lab, Dr. Uihlein has published research in molecular assay development, lab automation, and tissue and cell processing. She is a Designated Civil Surgeon for the U.S. Dept. of Justice and a certified Medical Review Officer for the Department of Transportation. She is a Fellow of the College of American Pathologists and the American Society of Clinical Pathology, NYSDOH Certificate Qualified, and a member of ASCO.

    “ At Helomics we’re delivering better-informed decision making saving pharma time and money, while providing cancer patients with appropriate therapies.”

     

     

    Education

    Medical College of Ohio
    Doctor of Medicine

    Baldwin-Wallace University
    BS, Biology

    Richard Gabriel, BS, MBA

    SVP, RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
    Predictive Oncology
    Site Leader, TumorGenesis
    At Predictive Oncology
    My role at Predictive Oncology is to bring the business sense to managing Research and Development programs at all our companies. To seek new ways and opportunities to commercialize exciting new technologies that we have built, licensed, acquired, or are developing through our own research and development. The success of any company is to get the research off the bench and to the customers. That is what I do at POAI and help the other companies as well.
    Before Predictive Oncology
    Prior to starting his first company in 1984 and registering with the FDA a pilot plant facility to make pharmaceutical actives, Mr. Gabriel managed a $50 million product line for W.R. Grace, developed new marketing and sales strategies for Ventron a Division of Morton Thiokol, research work at Ashland Chemical for pressure sensitive adhesives and plant scale-up. Since then, he ran a genetics company, built three GMP/Research facilities, and helped 5 drugs reach their markets in AIDS and cancer. Real expertise in cGMP process scale-up and compliance. Completely understand the needs of an API manufacturing facility and build processes that are scalable, environmentally acceptable, and safe. 3 FDA inspections with no 483’s, ISO certification, DEA registration, DoD compliance, NCI contractor and inventor. Has also broad-based experience in start-up companies and how to make them operational and profitable. 7 years of Team set-up, R&D management, and implementation for 165-person (85 PhD’s and Engineers) company (Pharm-Eco) and lecturer on cGMP and Teams within the Pharmaceutical Industry.

    “ Patients are always first, is our driving force. Oncology is a tough space, and we are determined to bring the best validated science to help cancer patients and as our CEO says, ‘Eliminate Cancer.’ That takes teamwork and a lot of smart hard-working people, our team members at POAI are up to the challenge. ”

     

     

    Education
    Suffolk University
    Executive MBA Program

    Ohio Dominican College
    BS, Chemistry

    Ohio State University
    Microbiology and Virology

    University of Cincinnati
    Associates Degree, Liberal Arts

    Mark A Collins, Ph.D

    SCIENTIFIC/CUSTOMER DEVELOPMENT
    Predictive Oncology
    Chief Technical Officer, Helomics
    At Predictive Oncology

    Mark is currently Chief Technical Officer at Predictive Oncology. Using the power of AI, Mark is responsible for leveraging Helomics’ vast repository of physical and digital tumor samples, to build multi-omic predictive models of tumor drug response and outcome. Such models can be applied to the discovery of new targeted therapies for cancer as well as used in clinical decision support to help oncologists individualize  treatment.

    Before Predictive Oncology

    Dr. Mark Collins embarked on a career in the pharmaceutical industry following his postdoctoral work. Pursuing a passion for both biology and computing, Mark has held multiple executive roles in a variety of discovery, informatics and bioinformatics functions within global pharma, and founded three startup software companies in the artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning (ML) and drug discovery space. Mark relocated to the USA in 2001 to work for Cellomics (now part of Thermo Fisher Scientific), where he played a pivotal role in establishing the High-Content cell analysis market, building, and commercializing several key informatics and bioinformatics products.

    Since leaving Thermo Fisher, Mark has focused on developing and commercializing informatics solutions for clinical and translational research, specifically in the specimen tracking, ‘omics data management and NGS analysis space, through key roles at BioFortis, Global Specimen Solutions and Genedata

    “ I have been pursuing a vision since the late 1990s that AI will help deliver better patient therapies. I firmly believe at POAI we will deliver on that vision. ”

    Education
    University of Surrey, UK
    Ph.D., Microbiology

    University of Wolverhampton, UK
    Undergraduate Degree, Applied Science

    Bob Myers, BBA, MBA

    CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
    Predictive Oncology
    Site Leader, Skyline Medical
    At Predictive Oncology

    Executive Officer, Compliance Officer, Corporate Secretary, and member of the Senior Leadership Team. Responsible for Finance, Administration, Human Resources, Investor Relations, and IT. Skyline Medical Site Leader.

    Before Predictive Oncology

    Numerous years as CEO/Controller consultant including medical devices companies. Executive positions with CES Computer Solutions, Computer Accomplishments, Hi-Tech Stationary & Printing, Capital Distributors Corp, International Creative Management American Express, Showtime Entertainment and public accounting with Laventhol & Horwath, CPA’s.

    “ It’s a privilege to work with a highly talented team to pursue oncology advances, while protecting and increasing shareholder value. ”

    Education

    Adelphi University
    MBA, Finance

    Hofstra University
    BBA, Public Accounting 

    J. Melville (“Mel”) Engle, BS, MBA

    CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
    & CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
    Predictive Oncology
    At Predictive Oncology
    Mr. Engle became POAI’s CEO in 2021 and was appointed to the POAI Board of Directors in 2016. He was elected Chairman of the Board in 2020.
    Before Predictive Oncology

    Between 2012 and 2021, he was CEO of Engle Strategic Solutions, a consulting and coaching company focused on CEO issues. From 2009 to 2012, he was CEO and Chairman of Thermogenesis, a cell separation company. From 2002 to 2007, he was Regional Head/Director, North America at Merck Generics and CEO of Dey Laboratories, a respiratory company. From 1996 to 2001, he was CEO and Chairman of Anika Therapeutics, an orthobiologics company. From 1980 to 1995, he was with Allergan, Inc., an eye and skin care company, where he served as CFO, Managing Director (living in Toronto), and other positions with the firm.

    “ Eliminating cancer is our overall goal.  This is not an easy task.  We are working hard every day to make this happen, using our novel technology and talented team of employees. ”

    Education

    University of Southern California
    School of Business
    MBA, Finance

    University of Colorado Boulder
    BS, Accounting