The Silicon Review
“A life sciences biotechnology company with a focus on innovating adult stem cell medicine technology .”
Asymmetrex is a life sciences biotechnology company with a focus on innovating adult stem cell medicine technology that will advance the potential of adult tissue stem cells into routine medical practice. Adult tissue stem cells are found in the bodies of children and adults. They are a small fraction of the cells (less than 1 per 1000) that make up organs and tissues like the liver, cornea, skin, muscles, hair, brain, and bone marrow. Despite their small fraction, they are responsible for continuously renewing and repairing the body.
The company holds adult stem cell patents for technologies that promote the multiplication of adult tissue stem cells. Tested so far for tissue stem cells found in the liver, lung, pancreas, muscle, skin and hair follicle, the technologies have the potential to produce therapeutic human tissue stem cells by the pound, trillions of cells at a time. Unlike other presently popularized strategies based on pluripotent stem cells, its adult stem cell medicine technology produces normal cells without high rates of mutation or tumor-forming properties. A major pursuit of the company is collaboration with strategic partners to develop robust manufacturing processes for producing medically important tissue stem cells and their differentiated derivative cells for use in transplantation therapies and drug development.
An in-depth conversation with the Key Executive
Why was the company set up? How did you select the vertical and decide to be a part of the global platform?
Asymmetrex was founded to develop discoveries, made in Dr. James Sherley’s academic research on adult tissue stem cells, into innovative applied technologies that would accelerate progress in stem cell medicine.
Dr. Sherley’s research and the derivative technologies were targeted to solve the three longstanding major technological problems in stem cell medicine: identifying, counting, and mass-producing therapeutic tissue stem cells.
Tell us about your first product that was launched?
Asymmetrex’s first commercial product is its AlphaSTEM Test. The AlphaSTEM Test is the first-ever technology for counting adult tissue stem cells. The technology, which combines human tissue cell culture with in silico computer simulation, was co-developed with partner AlphaSTAR Corporation, located in Long Beach, CA.
Asymmetrex launched the AlphaSTEM Test as a contract service in mid-September 2016. The ability to count adult tissue stem cells provides to stem cell medicine, for the first time, the dose of treating stem cells.
Dose data is crucial for sound interpretation of the outcomes of stem cell treatments and for improving them. The ability to count tissue stem cells gives the pharmaceutical industry, for the first time, a means to identify stem cell-active compounds. Stem cell-toxic drugs are unsafe, and stem cell-activating drugs could either be carcinogenic or enhance the curative properties of the cells. For tissue stem cell research in general, the new ability to count stem cells changes a previously uncertain qualitative pursuit into an exact quantitative science.
If you have to list factors that have been/are the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why?
What learnings have helped in setting Asymmetrex up?
As an assistant and then associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from 1998-2007, Dr. Sherley took advantage of MIT’s unrivaled, rich biomedical entrepreneurship culture, environment, and resources to learn well the principles and nuances of successfully starting and building biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
After starting Asymmetrex, Dr. Sherley has continued to increase his entrepreneurial expertise through Asymmetrex’s membership in the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, which sponsors an extensive calendar of business training workshops, informational seminars, and networking events.
How do you and your company contribute to the global IT platform and society at large?
Presently, the AlphaSTEM Test is only available through Asymmetrex’s contract service or independent collaborative agreements with the company. However, once sufficient experience with use of the AlphaSTEM simulation software has accrued, the software will be made available on a subscription basis, including significant discounting for academic users. Because tissue cell growth is a fundamental aspect of the healthy or diseased human body, we anticipate that with time the AlphaSTEM Test software will become an integral IT platform for both teaching human biology and medicine.
Learn more about the ace personality
James L. Sherley, Founder and Director: Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Sherley earned his B.A. degree in Biology from Harvard College in 1980 and later received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1988. From 1988-1991, he pursued post-doctoral research training in cancer cell molecular biology at Princeton University. Prior to founding Asymmetrex, Dr. Sherley held academic faculty research appointments at the Fox Chase Cancer Center (1991-1998), MIT (1998-2007), and Boston Biomedical Research Institute (2007-2013).
Dr. Sherley’s professional awards include Pew Biomedical Research Scholar, Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar in Aging Research, and the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award.