Exosome Diagnostics replaces CEO and relocates as it preps for commercialization

Exosome Diagnostics will advance its prostate cancer urine test to market with a new CEO and a change in locale to one of the biggest biotech clusters in the world.

Thomas McLain is the company's new leader. He replaces James McCullough, who ran Exosome since its 2008 founding.

McLain is a serial entrepreneur and was in the top spot at outfits such as women's health diagnostics company Vermillion. He has a track record of raising investor financing, forming research and commercial partnerships, and morphing these life sciences companies into something more commercially viable, Exosome said.

That said, Exosome is well on its way as far as research partnerships. It has relationships in place with Qiagen ($QGEN), which is also an investor, Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Michael J. Fox Foundation, among others.

As well, Exosome is moving its headquarters from New York to Cambridge, MA, a major epicenter for life sciences startups, investment and research.

Exosome hopes to go to market this year with a noninvasive urine sample test designed to spot prostate cancer without a biopsy. Exosome's fluid-based molecular diagnostic tests could easily be more cost-effective. Exosomes are small bubbles within cells that, when released, contain full-length nucleic acids. Those nucleic acids, in turn, can be screened in the body's fluids and are "a new source of disease-specific material," the now-former CEO McCullough told FierceMedicalDevices in March. This approach is easier than a biopsy because it allows for more frequent testing, in turn enabling the development of a unique treatment for the specific patient based on their disease snapshot at the time of testing.

In March 2014, Exosome raised $27 million in a Series B round led by Qiagen and Arcus Ventures, a funding that also included NGN Capital and Forbion Capital Partners. In all, Exosome has raised more than $53 million.

As of April, Exosome employed approximately 25 people, but planned to add between 15 and 20 more employees through 2014.

In a statement, McLain said that he looked forward to leading Exosome through "the next phase of its strategic development to become a commercial stage company."

- read the release

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