Newly Launched Valted Seq Working to Discover Disease Pathways, Biomarkers

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by Forest Ray PhD |

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D&D Pharmatech has launched a new company called Valted Seq, aimed at discovering pathways and biomarkers relevant to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s.

To this end, the company claims in a press release to have created the world’s largest repository of single-cell sequencing data. This data comes from high-quality, clinically characterized brain tissues of patients with disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Of note, single-cell sequencing provides quantitative measurements of the expression of every gene in a single cell.

“Valted Seq was founded on the belief that a deeper understanding of neurodegenerative pathways is essential to develop precision therapeutics and identify novel biomarkers to diagnose, guide therapies and monitor some of our most challenging and devastating diseases,”said Valina Dawson, PhD, interim CEO of Valted Seq and the director of the neuroregeneration and stem cell programs in the Institute for Cell Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University.

“We expect this unprecedented repository of single-cell genomics, which Valted Seq will explore using advanced big data analytics, will accelerate progress towards better outcomes for patients,” Dawson said.

One example of this progress is the development of a first-in-class test — an assay, or analysis — for blood-based biomarkers that the company hopes to use in detecting and monitoring Parkinson’s disease. The assay is designed for use in clinical trials of potential Parkinson’s therapies.

Valted Seq will make this assay commercially available, while also using it internally. The company says it is already in contact with other pharmaceutical companies regarding access to Valted Seq’s biomarker assays.

The new venture is D&D Pharmatech’s fourth subsidiary; it also is the parent company of Neuraly, Precision Molecular, and Theraly Fibrosis.

According to D&D, Valted Seq, Neuraly, and Precision Molecular each complement the others by focusing on a different need in the field of neurodegenerative disease. While Valted Seq will identify new diagnostic biomarkers, Neuraly is developing new therapeutic compounds, and Precision Molecular advances imaging agents for the early detection and management of neuroinflammation (inflammation of the nervous system).

In this way, D&D says it hopes to foster collaborations that achieve greater goals than would otherwise have been possible.

In recent years, the company has invested more than $7 million to support projects at various medical research institutions.

D&D officials said that, as the company has expanded, it has hired leaders in bioinformatics and diagnostics to help shepherd its technology through product development and toward commercialization. The academic founders of the company’s subsidiaries help to cultivate a smooth continuum from basic science to commercial development pipelines by remaining actively engaged with each other and industry experts, according to D&D.

“Our subsidiaries … are examples of how D&D and academia have worked in close collaboration to build a powerful engine to accelerate translation of innovation from the academic setting into a framework for commercialization,” said Seulki Lee, PhD, CEO of D&D Pharmatech.

“The launch of Valted Seq exemplifies this successful type of collaboration and represents a model that D&D is extending to other preeminent universities,” Lee added.