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 In Advanced Applications, Cofactor Genomics, Molecular Diagnostics, Q&A

World CDx: Dave Messina Moderates an Expert Panel

Cofactor will be attending the 10th annual Clinical Biomarkers & World CDx meeting in Boston in 2019. World CDx is a platform to accelerate the development of clinically-predictive biomarkers and the commercialization of precision medicines to enhance the delivery of personalized healthcare. The meeting attracts executives in biomarkers, translational, diagnostic and precision medicine that want to advance the translation and clinical validation of novel predictive biomarkers, and maximize access and adoption of Dx-enabled therapeutics.

Dave Messina, COO at Cofactor, will be moderating a panel on Day 1 focused on “Multidimensional Biomarkers & Machine Learning Based Approaches for Precision Medicine” as part of the Biomarker Discovery & Translation track. Panelists will be discussing the utility of multidimensional biomarkers in the translational and clinical space, distilling down complex biological signals into actionable biomarkers utilizing machine learning, and evaluating the enhanced role of multiplexing in early biomarker selection.

Dr. Messina has a spent the last 20 years working in computational biology and genetics. He worked on the Human Genome Project at Washington University in Saint Louis, mapped disease genes at the University of Chicago, and earned his PhD in computational biology in Stockholm, Sweden. As COO at Cofactor Genomics, he oversees daily operations and leads regulatory strategy.

The expert panel at World CDx includes thought leaders in the clinical biomarker space. We’ve outlined a full list of panelists and summaries below.

Bonnie Anderson
Chairwoman and CEO, Veracyte

Bonnie H. Anderson is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Veracyte, a leading genomic diagnostics company that improves the lives of patients by providing answers to challenging clinical questions. The company’s first-to-market tests are developed using RNA whole-transcriptome sequencing and machine learning and are transforming care in thyroid cancer, lung cancer and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis where they improve diagnosis and inform treatment decisions. Ms. Anderson’s career spans over 30 years in regulated diagnostics and life science markets. She co-founded Veracyte in 2008 and served as the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer until 2016, when she was also appointed Chairman of the Board. She led Veracyte’s initial public offering in 2013 and has spearheaded commercialization of Veracyte’s market-leading products.

Prior to Veracyte, Ms. Anderson provided strategic consulting services to venture capital firms and early-stage businesses following 18 years in leadership positions at Beckman Coulter. She serves on the boards of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and Castle Biosciences and on the steering committee for the Coalition for 21st Century Medicine. She is a trustee emeritus of the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences. Ms. Anderson graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology and in 2012 was honored with a “Distinguished Alumni” award. She has received numerous awards for her industry leadership, including: the Wallace H. Coulter Award for Healthcare Innovation (2017); “Fiercest Women in Life Sciences” (FiercePharma 2017); “100 Most Creative People in Business” (Fast Company, 2015); “Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business” and “Bay Area’s Most Admired CEOs” (San Francisco Business Times, 2013 and 2014); and “Women of Influence” (Silicon Valley Business Journal, 2013). Under Ms. Anderson’s leadership, Veracyte has been named a “Top Workplace” by the Bay Area News Group, based solely on employee feedback, for six consecutive years (2014-2019).

Wendell Jones
Principal Bioinformaticist & Scientific Advisor, Q² Solutions

Dr. Jones is currently Principal Bioinformaticist and Scientific Advisor at Q2 Solutions | EA Genomics. He conducts collaborative scientific research with clients in multiple areas, especially in oncology and immuno-oncology. His background includes leading the analysis, development and validation of the bioinformatic and computational systems that process complex genomic assays, including next generation sequencing assays, evaluating new and emerging genomic technologies, and developing bioinformatic implementation strategies. He consults with clients and provides thought leadership in industry and public consortiums involved in genomic science and measurement. Dr. Jones serves on the Board of Directors as Vice President of the new MAQC Society and is currently participating in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-led Sequencing Quality Control 2 (SEQC2) consortium which is investigating best-practice methods for variant calling in DNA sequencing studies.  Dr. Jones previously had leadership roles in the MAQC, MAQC-II, and SEQC consortiums.

Dr. Jones has over 15 years of experience in advanced genomic technologies and 20 years of experience in scientific and technology leadership positions, including serving as Vice President of Statistics and Bioinformatics at Expression Analysis, Inc (EA) and Chief Science Officer at Reliametrics, a Nortel Networks business unit. He has authored over 40 peer-reviewed publications and has presented at numerous scientific meetings and industry conferences and consortium workshops. Dr. Jones also serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine (Dept. of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Gabriel Bien-Willner
Chief Medical Officer, Palmetto GBA

Gabriel Bien-Willner is the Medical Director of the MolDX program at Palmetto GBA, which seeks to understand the molecular testing landscape to implement payer controls, coverage, and to set policy. He is a leader in the Precision Medicine space and practices as a board-certified Anatomic Pathologist and Molecular Genetic Pathologist. Dr. Bien-Willner received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Baylor College of Medicine, with a doctorate in Human Molecular Genetics. His clinical training and academic tenure was at Washington University in St. Louis. Throughout his career, he has been active in research, development, and advancement of molecular diagnostic services, specifically next-generation sequencing. His experience spans both academia and industry. He has worked closely with clinicians to develop clear clinical diagnostic and treatment pathways directing Precision Medicine programs for community cancer centers.

Yuri Fesko
Chief Clinical Officer, Oncology Strategic Collaborations & Medical Director, Oncology, Quest Diagnostics

Yuri Fesko is currently responsible for advising and growing Advanced Diagnostics Oncology at Quest. This position influences the medical strategies and plans designed for all existing and new pipeline assets that include assets developed in-house and in-licensed, existing and new strategic clinical development collaborations multiple functional areas including Regulatory FDA, HEOR, and R&D. At Quest Diagnostics, Yuri is involved in the care pathway development of biomarkers for the US Oncology network, which helps to reduce unnecessary testing and promote recommended testing to comply with national guidelines. This work has led to developing a project with Aetna for coverage of NGS in sold tumor for select patients.

Douglas Adkins
Professor, Department of Medicine Oncology Division, Medical Oncology, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Dr. Adkins is a Medical Oncologist and Professor of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Section of Medical Oncology, at Washington University School of Medicine. His area of clinical expertise is Head and Neck cancer. Dr. Adkins’ research focus is the evaluation of targeted therapy approaches in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. He has participated on multi-institutional trials of therapy for soft tissue and bone sarcomas.

Dr. Adkins is a contributor to the recertification program of the American Board of Internal Medicine, and a council member on the following groups: Council on Education and Standards, Task Force on Guidelines for Clinical Centers and Training, American Meeting for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, and the ASBMT Council Report, 2001. He also served as a clinical mentor for the Lucille P. Markey Special Emphasis Pathway in Human Pathobiology and Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Adkins is a bone cancer panel member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.


Join us!

If you’re attending World CDx this year, look out for this discussion with industry experts. The utility of multidimensional biomarkers in the translational and clinical space is something that Cofactor has been working towards, in partnership with other organizations. To learn more about our approach, visit our product page here

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