mAbDx specializes in creating novel immunodiagnostics through biomarker discovery and immunoassay development. We are committed to developing effective diagnostics for diseases characterized by the common features of great clinical urgency and unmet diagnostic needs.
mAbDx, Inc., was founded in 2011 by Michael F. Marusich, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Marusich has a long track record of successful development and deployment of immunochemical reagents and immunoassays as tools for basic and clinical research. He has authored more than 40 publications in these fields.
Dr. Marusich established and served as Director of the University of Oregon Monoclonal Antibody Facility (1988-2008) where he was responsible for development of hundreds of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) used in academic research. More than 100 of these mAbs have been licensed out by the UO for commercialization by leading biotechnology companies.
Dr. Marusich co-founded MitoSciences, Inc., in 2003 to develop and commercialize a large panel of mAbs specific for mitochondrial and metabolic proteins, and to incorporate these reagents into research kits. These user-friendly kits include novel enzyme activity immunocapture kits as well as ELISA, western blot and immunohistochemical assays. While VP for Research and Chief Operating Officer at MitoSciences, Marusich was the Principle Investigator on multiple NIH-funded STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer Research) research grants (Phase I and Phase II) that supported MitoSciences’ immunoassay development program. The program was highly successful and resulted in development and commercialization of a wide range of mAbs and immunoassays, including a panel of innovative quantitative enzyme activity and protein quantity rapid “dipstick” assays. These dipstick assays have proven valuable and popular for clinical research of both inherited mitochondrial diseases and acquired mitochondrial disorders, e.g., those caused by mitotoxic side-effects of therapeutic drugs, such as anti-retrovirals used to treat HIV-AIDS and antibiotics that target bacterial protein synthesis. MitoSciences was sold in 2011 to Abcam Plc and now operates as an independent division within the growing Abcam family of companies serving the research community: UO spinoff MitoSciences purchased by international company
While at the University of Oregon, MitoSciences, and now at mAbDx, Marusich has also been responsible for establishing and managing research collaborations with academic and clinical partners to develop and validate the utility of new mAbs and assays for basic and clinical research. These research projects have been supported by NSF, NIH, USDA-NIFA, the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon, PeaceHealth Oregon Region, The University of Oregon Foundation, and Mérieux. Many of the mAbs and assays resulting from these collaborations have been commercialized, allowing their use by independent researchers in a wide range of published studies, some of which are cited below.
mAbs and immunoassays validated for use in clinical research and/or diagnostic applications through collaborative research while at the University of Oregon include:
- Development of a panel of anti-malaria mAbs used by Flow, Inc., to make rapid LFA (dipstick) assays now used world-wide to diagnose malaria at point of care and to monitor the efficacy of anti-malaria therapy (Piper et al., Malaria Journal 2011, 10:213 ).
- Multiple projects focused on development of mAbs as assays for cancer biomarkers. These include mAbs against HuD/C and HuR, which are proteins involved in mRNA processing and stability (Marusich et al., J Neurobiol 1994, 25:143, Heinonen et al., Cancer Res 2005, 65:2157), mAbs against the siRNA processing enzyme Dicer (Grelier et al., Br J Cancer 2009, 101: 673), mAbs against the cell cycle regulatory protein CDC6, and mAbs targeting CTIP2, a zinc-finger DNA binding protein that is necessary for normal epithelial cell proliferation and is upregulated in certain squamous cell cancers (Ganguli-Indra, et al., PLoS ONE, 2009, 4:e5367).
NIH-STTR supported work at MitoSciences and collaborations with clinical researchers resulted in the development and validation of mAbs and immunoassays now being sold by MitoSciences for “Research Use Only” in basic and clinical research and to aid diagnosis of inherited and acquired mitochondrial and metabolic disorders (reviewed in Marusich et al., International J Biochem & Cel Biol 2009, 41:2081). These include a simple, rapid dipstick test for the protein frataxin, deficits of which result in Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA), the most common inherited ataxia. This test is now being used to help better characterize FA in the clinic (Deutsch et al., Mol Genet Metab, 2010, 101:238, Selak et al., Mitochondrion, 2011, 11:342), and to help guide pharmaceutical development and use of new therapeutics to treat FA (Sacca et al., PLoS One, 2011, 6:e17627). Analogous rapid dipstick tests for enzymes of the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation system (OXPHOS) have also proved useful in characterizing inherited OXPHOS deficiencies, which in aggregate comprise the largest group of inherited mitochondrial diseases (Willis et al., Biochim Biophys Acta, 2009, 1787: 533, and Goldenthal et al., Mol Genet Metab, 2011, Nov 30. [Epub ahead of print]). These rapid dipstick assays are also being used to monitor adverse mitotoxic effects of therapeutic anti-retroviral and antibiotic drugs both in vivo (Shikuma et al., AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses, 2008, 24:1255) and in vitro (Nadanaciva et al., J Immunol Methods, 2009, 343:1).
More recently, mAbDx has been working to identify new mitochondrial Damage Associated Molecular Patterns (mtDAMPs) as biomarkers and drivers of a sterile Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) after trauma (mAbDx Chief Scientific Officer Michael Marusich, Ph.D., presents recent research to identify and characterize new mtDAMPs that drive the Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) after trauma).
mAbDx has also received SBIR funding from the USDA-NIFA to develop a rapid test for pathogenic shellfish vibriosis that can be used at “point of care” in marine shellfish hatcheries to help diagnose, manage and prevent outbreaks of Vibrio coralliilyticus, a shellfish pathogen that causes serious production disruptions in marine shellfish hatcheries and is currently difficult to detect and manage (DeFazio Applauds Federal Grant for Eugene Innovator).