In 2016, Thomas Reiner and Christian Brand founded Summit Biomedical Imaging with the goal of improving cancer detection by commercializing PARPi-FL, a PARP1 detecting molecular probe they had been investigating at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In 2018, Summit Biomedical Imaging began research operations at Harlem Biospace in New York City. Since its founding, Summit Biomedical Imaging has been awarded two prestigious Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), to further investigate the use of PARPi-FL for ex vivo detection of oral cancer and cervical cancer.
Summit Biomedical Imaging seeks to improve patient care and outcomes by detecting cancer earlier and more accurately. In the United States, by the time oral cancer is typically detected, it is malignant in two-thirds of patients, leading to five-year survival rates of less than 33%. When oral cancer is detected early, those survival rates are over 80%. Pre-clinical studies have shown that PARPi-FL can specifically and sensitively detect oral cancer, which will enable earlier detection and better outcomes for patients.
Many cancers overexpress Poly-Adensoine phosphate Ribose Polymerase 1 (PARP1), an enzyme that is responsible for DNA repair in the rapidly dividing cancer cells. Summit Biomedical Imaging uses a small molecule-based, fluorescent diagnostic agent (PARPi-FL) to detect the overexpression of PARP1. Proof-of-principle studies have shown successful detection of several human cancers, including oral cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer, and esophageal cancer using PARPi-FL.
01 / In vivo
Summit Biomedical Imaging’s first target application is in vivo oral cancer detection. There are about 50,000 cases of oral cancer in the United States annually, and 450,000 worldwide. While there has been a long-term decline in the death rate from oral cancer, the decline has stalled in the last few years, and oral cancer due to HPV infection is increasing in the United States and Europe. In the United States, two out of three patients are diagnosed after their cancer has metastasized, which results in significantly lower five-year survival rates (62% and 38% respectively compared to 80%+ survival for early detection). Outside of the United States, the situation is more dire with a less than 20% five-year survival rate in parts of Asia.
02 / Ex vivo
Summit Biomedical Imaging’s novel technology detects malignant cells in fresh biospecimen samples of oral cancer, allowing for screening, diagnosis, and quantification of cancer at higher precision and lower cost than what is currently available. Summit Biomedical Imaging’s rapid biospecimen staining technology will enable quick turnaround time for an immediate feedback to the physician, reducing diagnostic delays, repeated patient visits, and reduced health-care costs.
Andrew Riley, J.D., Ph.D.
CEO & GC
Andrew Riley is the Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel of Summit Biomedical Imaging. Dr. Riley has more than ten years of experience working with pharmaceutical clients at a major, full-service law firm as a registered patent attorney. Prior to working as a patent attorney, Dr. Riley was a Senior Research Chemist at a major petrochemical company. Dr. Riley earned a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Christian Brand, Ph.D.
CSO & Co-Founder
Christian Brand is a founding member and the Chief Scientific Officer of Summit Biomedical Imaging. After earning his Ph.D. from Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Dr. Brand worked as a Post-Doctoral Research Scholar and Research Associate specializing in molecular imaging at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. At Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Brand developed and translated next-generation targeted cancer diagnostics and was involved in the submission of several successful IND applications to the FDA.
Thomas Reiner, Prof. Ph.D.
Scientific Advisor & Co-Founder
Thomas Reiner is a founding member and Scientific Advisor to Summit Biomedical Imaging. Dr. Reiner is a synthetic chemist with more than ten years of experience in the design, synthesis, and application of novel imaging tracers. His personal research program includes small molecule, peptide and nanoparticle synthesis, radiochemistry, molecular imaging, and nuclear targeting. The Reiner Lab at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has worked on and invented radiolabeled, optical and bimodal tracers for biomarkers overexpressed in cancer and other diseases, including PARPi-FL. Dr. Reiner earned his Ph.D. from the Technical University of Munich.
Robert M. Unnold, M.B.A.
Bob Unnold is an entrepreneur with over 35 years of experience in business development. Bob has founded several successful companies and held a variety of management positions in those companies. Bob’s experience includes navigating the challenges faced by early-stage startups through acquisition or going public. Bob earned an M.B.A. from St. John’s University.