Recent acquisition of Assurex start-up underscores the value of long-term collaboration

When the news announcement came out in August, many of us at Cincinnati Children’s were as proud as parents on graduation day. One of our most successful start-up companies, Assurex Health, had been acquired by Myriad Genetics. Thanks to this sale, the GeneSight test that already has helped determine the right drug and dose for more than 300,000 patients with mental health conditions is poised to benefit many thousands more.

This deal reflects a major point of pride for Cincinnati Children’s. Assurex Health was founded in 2006, based on technology discovered here by three of our current faculty: Tracy Glauser, MD; John Pestian, PhD; and Alexander Vinks, PharmD, PhD. Our Center for Technology Commercialization worked closely with the spin-off company over the years, which ultimately found its home in nearby Mason, Ohio.

Margaret Hostetter, MD.

Margaret Hostetter, MD

Although successful maturations of spin-off companies can provide funds to invest in a variety of research initiatives, the real significance of the commercialization of this technology is its demonstration of the success of the collaborative team approach we value so deeply.

The faculty team that discovered the critical drug-metabolizing pathway that underlies the GeneSight test worked across multiple specialties. The decision to launch a start-up company was supported by an entire team of leaders and managers. The financial investment to see the company through its early days involved many stakeholders inside and outside of Cincinnati Children’s and reflected high-level commitment and strategic vision.

As you will see from the stories in this issue of Research Horizons, a commitment to team science is programmed into the DNA of Cincinnati Children’s. Be it developing intestinal organoids with functioning nervous systems or serving as a national data hub to make progress against congenital heart defects, we have invested deeply in infrastructure and collaborative interactions both within and beyond our campus.

Our investigators work with partners right here in Cincinnati and around the world. Together, we anticipate that many more research discoveries will mature in the development pipeline and ultimately reach market to improve outcomes for generations of children to come.

Margaret Hostetter, MD,
Chair, Department of Pediatrics,
Director, Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation,
and Chief Medical Officer, Cincinnati Children’s