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.”

Ascendant Diagnostics in Good Company With Leading Edge Research

Proteomics research utilizes tears to diagnose and manage serious diseases.

Ascendant Diagnostics is making progress in developing its first product, MelodyDx™. The goal of our tear-based diagnostic screening method is early stage breast cancer detection utilizing the proteomic profile present in human tears.

Tears provide insight into molecular events occurring within the body. Collection of tears is easy, non-invasive and definitely low risk for patients.

The term proteome applies to all the proteins produced by a living thing. Proteomics refers to the comprehensive study of the structure and function of proteins.

Proteomic technologies are playing an increasingly important role in medical diagnostics, drug discovery and molecular medicine. According to the American Medical Association, current research is looking at protein families linked to diseases including cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

It turns out that Ascendant is in good company studying the proteins found in tears to help detect or manage a serious disease.

According to a recent blog posting,, Google’s secretive Google X lab is testing a smart contact lens. The lenses are designed to take a reading of the glucose level of a diabetic patient’s tears every second and wirelessly transmit the results to an external device.

The lens uses a tiny wireless transmitter and a miniature glucose sensor embedded between two layers of a soft contact. Tears leak into tiny openings in the lens, which enables a reading of the user’s glucose levels. Using tears for glucose testing is more convenient and less painful than traditional finger prick blood tests.

The hope is that the lens will help diabetics regulate their glucose levels more effectively and better manage their disease. Google reports that it will take at least five years to bring the smart lenses to market.

Omid Moghadam, chief executive officer, Ascendant Diagnostics, reports on the status of Ascendant’s proteomic tear research: “We’re in the process of selecting an automated sample processing instrument and proteomic software in preparation for upcoming clinical validation trials for MelodyDx,” he says. “Our clinical trials are slated to begin in the second half of 2014 and we anticipate bringing MelodyDx to market in 2015.

MelodyDx is being developed to substantially increase the accuracy of cancer diagnostics, enable detection of disease at the earliest possible stage and improve patient compliance.