A group from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), has embarked on a new project to commercialize cancer genomics software through a new startup company called Five3 Genomics. The company has attracted a few of the biggest names in genomics and biotech to serve as advisers.
Recent software applications have enabled scientists to analyze cancer genomic data to track molecular changes in cells, spotting some of the triggers that cause tumors to grow. Led by CEO and co-founder Steve Benz, Five3 Genomics plans to sell its cancer genomics software to healthcare companies and pharmaceutical firms. Drugmakers could use the company's software to discover new targets for cancer therapies, while hospitals could use the technology to put patients on existing drugs that home in on the molecular triggers of their cancer.
Benz and his fellow co-founders have a crack group of bioinformatics and biotech experts to help guide their startup. They've called on their UCSC mentors, David Haussler and Joshua Stuart. Haussler's lab has participated in some of the most pioneering efforts in genomics over the past couple of decades, including the Human Genome Project that raced to decode an entire human genome. Also, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who has made billions of dollars in biotech, is serving as a scientific adviser.
"We're working with academic collaborators to build out the platform and starting conversations with pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies," Benz, who recently wrapped up his doctorate at UCSC, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper. "It's a great opportunity to be able to take this technology and commercialize it so that it can be used to help patients."