Jason Christiansen, Chief Technology Officer for Boundless Bio has served in multiple leadership positions overseeing the development of new technologies and strategies for, research, diagnostic use, and targeted therapy development. He has served as Head of Assay Development at Roche Sequencing Solutions, providing leadership in initiatives around oncology testing, Dx development, NIPT testing and platform development. Prior to Roche, Jason was VP of Diagnostics at Ignyta, where he led CDx development efforts including an in house CLIA laboratory and molecular testing R&D group working both internally and externally to drive molecular testing in support of a global clinical trial for Rozlytrek (entrectinib). Prior to Ignyta, Jason served in multiple senior positions developing new platforms and technologies in NGS, digital pathology and molecular testing so that they could be brought into the clinical laboratory for patient testing and to support drug development.
We interviewed Mr. Christiansen about his thoughts on the current scenario of the Biomarker industry, new researches in the field, his presentation at the Conference and his take on the conference program.
Question: What are the recent advances in Biomarker research/commercialization and current challenges that need immediate attention?
Jason Christiansen: There has been a tremendous amount of information and insight gained in biomarker studies over the last few years, primarily with the increasing use of highly multiplexed/massively parallel platforms (such as NGS). The current upswing in multi-omics approaches for biomarker discovery and clinical translation provides exciting opportunities to advance the field, improve drug responses and ultimately benefit patients. However, this has caused a tremendous amount of fragmentation in the field making it challenging for clinicians to know what the best testing courses are and diagnostic laboratories struggling to develop test implementation strategies that best position them to provide the best and most relevant offerings. Another challenge is actionability. The vast majority of biomarkers tested in multiplex panels still do not yet have clinically validated drugs associated with the biomarkers.
Question: What are the new opportunities emerging in your field of work?
Jason Christiansen: The role of extrachromosomal DNA (“ecDNA”) biology is a new area for cancer research and drug development to treat patients that currently have dismal prognosis and typically low response rates to currently available therapies. ecDNA appears the be one of the primary mechanisms by which driver oncogene amplifications occur. Because ecDNA represents an emerging area of cancer biology and a new biomarker concept, there are a large number of opportunities as well as challenges to overcome. Unlike many of the molecular alteration, drug co-development platforms that led the way for precision medicine, targeting ecDNA and its enabling machinery requires novel integrated drug and diagnostic development strategies to be simultaneously carried out.
Question: What are the key take away points from your presentation topic which will help in building the knowledge base of attendees?
Jason Christiansen: Because ecDNA is a new area of precision medicine that targets a previously underserved patient population (those with high copy number driven tumors), the primary goal will be to acquaint the audience with the current state of the science and how that can lead to strategies for diagnostic patient selection in parallel with therapeutic development. There have been several recent, high-impact publications regarding the structure of ecDNA and its role in high copy number oncogene amplification cancers that provide a strong foundation for clinical development. There will be discussion around the current methods that have been designed for patient identification that use image analysis combined with sequencing and how these methods are being translated from research to clinical use.
Question: Hope you had a chance to go through the agenda, what are your views on it and how helpful it is to the targeted audience?
Jason Christiansen: The current agenda seems to have a good range of topics that range from applications/development to considerations around regulatory and IVD development. I think the applications/development stage projects are typically interesting in that they can reveal new strategies being used for CDx development and translation to the clinic – so if these can be expanded, it would be worth it.
Mr. Jason Christiansen is one of the speakers of 5th Annual MarketsandMarkets Biomarker and Companion Diagnostics Conference being held on February 6th -7th, 2020 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, 1380 Harbor Island Dr, United States. He will be presenting on the Day 2 of the conference on the topic – ‘Targeting extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA), a new approach to treating cancers with high copy number gene amplification’
Know more about his presentation visit our website – https://bit.ly/38AqOzB