Patricia Beckmann, PhD, Adds Her Expertise to Ascendant Diagnostics Team

A prominent scientist and inventor is consulting with Ascendant to help bring its first product to market.

Patricia Beckmann, PhD has a wealth of science and business experience. Among her many accomplishments, Beckmann was the co-inventor of the rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel (2012 worldwide sales over $8B), for which she was awarded National Inventor of the Year in 2000. She has over 50 scientific publications and more than 40 issued U.S. patents.

Beckmann is the founder and managing director of BioStrategy, LLC, a strategic and management consultancy. In her role with Ascendant Diagnostics, she consults on both science and business strategies.

Prior to founding BioStrategy, Beckmann was the president and executive director of the Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute (OTRADI) in Portland, Oregon. While there, she met Omid Moghadam, chief executive officer of Ascendant Diagnostics.

“Recently, when Omid asked me to serve as a consultant for Ascendant, I agreed because I feel confident in the company’s overall professional expertise as well as in Omid’s solid background in business,” notes Beckmann.

Ascendant is currently working on developing its first product, MelodyDx™, which is a breast cancer-screening test using a protein profile of a person’s tears. “The goal of our proteomics-based diagnostic screening tool is to increase breast cancer detection at earlier stages while also reducing unnecessary exposure to radiation and painful biopsy procedures,” explains Moghadam.”

Clinical trials are slated to begin in the second half of 2014 and Ascendant anticipates bringing MelodyDx to market in 2015. Beckman feels positive about the scientific basis of MelodyDx and says, “While MelodyDx is at an early stage in development, there is a strong scientific foundation to the work.”

Beckmann has worked on proteomics-based diagnostic projects with some similarities to MelodyDx – and also has solid business experience. She was chief scientific officer at Homestead Clinical Corporation (now Integrated Diagnostics), a startup financed by Seattle’s Accelerator focusing on proteomic biomarkers for cancer. Previously at Vulcan Capital, the investment vehicle for Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Beckmann was responsible for biotechnology venture investment opportunities.

“My background in science and business helps me identify a project with potential and push the science through to become a successful commercial product,” says Beckmann. “I understand what it takes to commercialize a product.”

Beckmann believes that tests based on proteomics and biomarkers will be far more prevalent in the future and used to a much more through personalized medicine and identification of best therapeutic choices for diseases. She’s excited about bringing MelodyDx to market as a diagnostic tool or even as a precursor to mammography.

“The more tools we have in our toolbox, the better off we are to diagnose disease at an early stage,” explains Beckmann. “The earlier you diagnose a disease, the better and more specific your treatment options and the better the outcome for the patient.”