Banyan Biomarkers, Inc.

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October 22, 2012 Issue

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With Studies Showing the Dangers Associated with the CT Scan of the Head, Banyan Biomarkers Inc. is Well Positioned for Growth Developing a Point-of-Care Blood Test that would Identify Patients that have Had Brain Injury

Jackson Streeter, MD
CEO and CMO

Jackson Streeter earned his B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Nevada Reno and his M.D. from the University of Nevada School of Medicine. Prior to joining Banyan Biomarkers, Dr. Streeter served most recently as the Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of PhotoThera, Inc. From 2002 to 2006, he served PhotoThera as Chief Executive Officer.
 

Dr. Streeter served as an Officer in the U.S. Navy, completing a general surgery internship at Naval Regional Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia and then primary Flight School at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. During his military service, Streeter was the first Naval Flight Surgeon selected as a TOPGUN staff instructor.

About Banyan Biomarkers, Inc.

www.banyanbio.com
Biomarkers are proteins or other cellular components that relate specifically to injury or to disease and that can be found in body fluids such as CSF, blood or urine. The presence and quantity of the biomarker in these fluids can be determined by antibody-based assays to assess the degree of injury or disease and in the best circumstances to determine recovery. To be specific for injury or disease, the presence of the biomarkers in body fluids must depend on the diseased state and they should not be present in these fluids under normal conditions.


Biotechnology
Brain Injury

Banyan Biomarkers, Inc.
13400 Progress Boulevard
Alachua FL 32615

386.462.6699

www.banyanbio.com




 

Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published October 22, 2012


CEOCFO:
Dr. Streeter, Banyan Biomarkers is committed to improving lives, how will you be doing so?

Dr. Streeter: Our first and lead project is around the diagnosis of acute traumatic brain injury and right now there is no blood test to quantify damage to the brain, which is the breakthrough that we have developed at Banyan. Right now the standard of care is that for patients that have had suspicion of traumatic brain injury that present to the Emergency Room the majority, will almost entirely be sent into the CT scan, which is the routine standard of care. The issues with that are that there is a great deal of radiation which is associated with the CT scan of the head. It is over 100 times more than the standard radiation from chest x-ray and creates significant cost to the healthcare system. What we are working on is a rapid point-of-care test that would identify patients that have had brain injury and that would need to go on to CT scan. Based on our early feasibility studies, we think that we can reduce the number of CT scans of the head by about 20%. Also, it has recently been published in the New York Times which did an article on this in August that up to 1.5 % of all cancers are related to medical radiation. CT scan is the primary cause behind that, so we think not only will we be able to identify patients that are have traumatic brain injury, we will also be able to reduce the number of CT scans and then thereby reduce the numbers of cancers that occur from that radiation. We also have an extensive pipeline of other projects that we work on that are in earlier stages of development, everything from liver injury to actual neuro-protective compounds and other biomarkers are under development. We have a robust pipeline.

 

CEOCFO: How does the brain injury test work and what is the technology?

Dr. Streeter: It is much like testing that is done for people that come into the emergency room with chest pain. There is a blood test that identifies proteins that come from the heart and we are doing something very similar to that except that we are doing a blood test which identifies proteins that come from the brain. Testing of proteins like this is routine for other organs and particularly for the heart and now, we have developed the test very similar to that for the brain.

 

CEOCFO: Is this a new concept for the brain?

Dr. Streeter: The idea of it is not particularly revolutionary, but identifying proteins and validating assays clinically is something not done before and we are doing for the first time.

 

CEOCFO: How are you able to identify them and why has this been an unexplored concept?

Dr. Streeter: Banyan is spun from the McKnight Brain Institute where our scientific founder Dr. Ron Hayes was responsible for the early discoveries. He ran the center for traumatic brain injury studies there before he founded Banyan. At the University of Florida they made the discovery that there are a couple of brain specific proteins. One protein comes from the neuron which is the cell type that fires electrical impulses which allow us to think and move and all that. The other comes from the astrocyte, which is a cell that is responsible for supporting the neurons inside the brain. We are detecting two proteins that come from the two major cell types in the brain, so that is very nice coverage of the organ.

 

CEOCFO: Would you tell us more about your pipeline projects?

Dr. Streeter: We have a group of excellent scientists running some projects going on for treating brain injury with different new compounds that prevent cell death in the brain. We have done some early animal experiments on that and we would like to continue to develop those compounds for the treatment of brain injury. Right now, there is a huge unmet medical need in that there is still no approved neuro-protective compound for traumatic brain injury or stroke. Even though there has been a lot of money spent and programs put forward by pharmaceutical companies, to date, none of them have been successful. That is an area of medicine that still represents a huge unmet medical need. We have some interesting compounds we think that address that. We also have a liver injury program that is run by Dr. Stan Svetlov of Banyan and he has identified many different liver injury markers that may be superior to what is currently available on the market. Those are two of our interesting programs which have a lot of potential.

 

CEOCFO: Is there a commercial side to Banyan today?

Dr. Streeter: We have a service lab where we run a variety of assays for toxicity. We have some customers, mainly biopharma customers, that have drug development programs and we can identify neuro-toxicity using a panel of biomarkers to identify neurologic cell death. We also have some preclinical services where we have all the preclinical models in-house for traumatic brain injury and we have worked with some biopharma customers that take advantage of our preclinical models.

 

CEOCFO: Is that a part big part of your business or a sideline?

Dr. Streeter: It has not been the focus of our efforts. Our focus has been on our acute traumatic brain injury diagnostic platform. However, this area is something that we are looking at next year to put some more marketing effort behind since we have not really marketed, customers just coming knocking on our door. We think it is a potential source of increased revenue that we have not exploited to its full potential yet.

 

CEOCFO: Does Banyan Biomarkers have adequate funding to take you through the next steps?

Dr. Streeter: We have been fortunate in that we have been able to get a significant amount of funding from the department of defense and some from the NIH to develop our acute TBI diagnostic platform. For the first time, we have raised some private capital, so we have raised $3 million in a Series-A round of funding. We are looking at potentially doing some European launch in 2013 for some research on reagents that we could sell next year.

 

CEOCFO: Why should investors pay attention to Banyan Biomarkers?

Dr. Streeter: I think the world has come to recognize traumatic brain injury. For concussion in particular and mild traumatic injury, it is now recognized as a big public health concern. Banyan is for the first time going to render that invisible injury visible. We are addressing a major unmet medical need and I think that is important. Any company that is addressing major unmet medical problems successfully will succeed on the business side as long as they execute appropriately.

 

CEOCFO: What should people remember most about Banyan?

Dr. Streeter: I like to keep our focus on the patient and as long as we do the right things for people and their families and improve medical care, I think we will succeed as a company.

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I like to keep our focus on the patient and as long as we do the right things for people and their families and improve medical care, I think we will succeed as a company. - Jackson Streeter, MD

 

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