Foundation Venture Capital Group Commits $1 Million to Hackensack Meridian Health’s First Spin-out Company, EValuate Diagnostics   

Foundation Venture Capital Group Commits $1 Million to Hackensack Meridian Health’s First Spin-out Company, EValuate Diagnostics

The company, based on science from the Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation, promises to capture biomarkers for early detection of disease

EValuate Diagnostics, the first spin-out company from the Hackensack Meridian Health Research Institute and its Office of Innovation and Commercialization, is the newest addition to Foundation Venture Capital Group’s (FVCG’s) portfolio.

EValuate Diagnostics will market a new platform for the targeted capture of circulating biomarkers, known as extracellular vesicles (EVs). The selection of circulating EVs for detection of disease has been elusive to medicine thus far, but technological advances in their isolation and analysis of molecular cargos are enabling the detection of novel biomarkers. Diagnostic assays derived from this technology will help monitor disease biomarkers for earlier-than-ever detection of tumors and a wide range of other diseases.

FVCG, an affiliate of the New Jersey Health Foundation (NJHF), provided a $1 million commitment towards helping EValuate Diagnostics advance its technologies to make this testing a reality - and save lives of the future.

“Our innovation at Hackensack Meridian Health aims to revolutionize the way we detect and treat disease,” said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, chief executive officer of Hackensack Meridian Health. “With partnerships like that with FVCG, we are accelerating breakthroughs to save lives. We are grateful to have such important relationships with organizations who understand our ambitions.”

EValuate Diagnostics’ mission is to develop diagnostic solutions for very early and rapid detection of diseases like cancer before other current methods.  This aligns with NJHF’s mission to promote the advancement of health-related research and education throughout the state of New Jersey.

“EValuate Diagnostics’ research could be a game-changer, and we will help make their objective of successfully commercializing their technology a reality - for everyone’s benefit,” said George F. Heinrich, M.D., Vice Chair and CEO of NJHF and FVCG.

The company is based upon the work of Olivier Loudig, Ph.D., an associate member of the Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI), who is directly involved with the development of EValuate Diagnostics. His Laboratory at the CDI has developed research programs for biomarker discovery and early detection of  breast, lung, and prostate cancers using liquid biopsies.

Developing cancer, which may remain elusive to traditional imaging or tissue biopsies , still leaves a molecular trace in biofluids such as blood. The laboratory of Dr. Loudig has zeroed in on this minute trail and, using highly sensitive next generation sequencing technologies, has been able to detect RNA signatures indicative of the developing cancer.

A core tenet of the mission of the CDI, founded in 2019, is translating cutting-edge science to rapidly impact patient health for New Jersey's largest and most comprehensive health network. EValuate Diagnostics is a direct product of this research ethos.

“We believe the work of Dr. Loudig is very promising,” said Sandra Powell-Elliott, the chief innovation officer for Hackensack Meridian Health, who leads the network’s Office of Innovation and Commercialization. “We will support the work as EValuate Diagnostics continues to break new ground in this field.”

“The work of Olivier Loudig is pushing the envelope of disease detection,” said David Perlin, Ph.D., the chief scientific officer and executive vice president of the CDI. “We are thrilled that this work will be translated for real-world clinical impact in the near future.”

“Innovation is critical to healthcare in the 21st century,” said Ihor Sawczuk, M.D., FACS, Hackensack Meridian Health’s president of Academics, Research and Innovation, founding chair of the Hackensack Meridian Health Research Institute, and also associate dean of Clinical Integration and professor and chair emeritus of Urology at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. “This is the kind of new idea, targeted toward clinical need, that can truly ‘move the needle.’”

About Foundation Venture Capital Group
Foundation Venture Capital Group (FVCG) is a Princeton, New Jersey based organization that uses impact investing to provide pre-seed and seed funding to health-related start-up companies at their partner organizations to help them advance toward and through commercialization. FVCG is an affiliate of the New Jersey Health Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation that supports health-related research and education programs in New Jersey through its Research/Community Health and Social Service grant programs. A third funding program, the Innovation Grant program, funded through the Foundation for Health Advancement, provides grants to support early-stage university technologies with strong commercialization potential.

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