What do you do if you are the head of a new start-up company, with limited product development funds, but a new and exciting technology that would benefit greatly from independent evaluation in a wide array of applications? James Sherley, director of Asymmetrex, found himself facing just such a challenge.
Sherley founded Asymmetrex, LLC, a MassBio member company, in October 2013. The company was launched with a unique portfolio of patented technologies for stem cell medicine. Asymmetrex now faces a unique challenge in the commercial development of one of its most promising stem cell medicine technologies.
A Revolutionary Technology
Earlier this year, Asymmetrex published a scientific report on its latest specific biomarker for adult tissue stem cells. Called “H2A.Z asymmetry,” the new biomarker has sufficient specificity to provide, for the first time, a means to count adult tissue stem cells. These data have the potential to significantly improve the success rate of stem cell transplant and regenerative medicine therapies and also have many other important applications in drug development and tissue stem cell research.
The H2A.Z asymmetry biomarker is designed to be universal, capable of detecting ideally functioning stem cells in many different tissues of a variety of different mammalian species, including humans.
A New Approach
Asymmetrex’s commercialization plans would be accelerated by a more rapid evaluation of the new biomarker’s wide-ranging application.
As a strategy to achieve immediate evaluation in many different tissues, Asymmetrex launched a crowdsourcing campaign to invite stem cell biologists, bioengineers, stem cell transplant physicians, and regenerative medicine companies around the world to test H2A.Z asymmetry for identifying and counting their own tissue stem cells of interest.
Director Sherley states that, “Our crowdsourcing effort is a grand ideal experiment. Crowd evaluators may discover a valuable research and clinical tool that they can employ right away; and Asymmetrex may realize sooner an otherwise very difficult to achieve milestone towards beginning a new era of tissue stem cell counting.”
Over the next year, through varied social media outlets and conference presentations, Asymmetrex will encourage tissue stem cell investigators to use H2A.Z asymmetry and report their findings at research conferences and in peer-reviewed publications.
The company has set up a website (http://crowdsourcing.asymmetrex.com/) to provide a means for crowd evaluators to report unpublished findings. As such information accrues, Asymmetrex will report it in an anonymous aggregated format on the company website (http://asymmetrex.com).
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