Free Webinar | Cytokine Biomarkers of Inflammatory Response in COVID-19 Patients

June 11, 2020 | 1:00-2:00 pm EDT

1:00 Chairperson’s Remarks

Kevin Hrusovsky, President, Chairman and CEO, Quanterix

1:05 Ultrasensitive SIMOA™ Immunoassays Impacting COVID-19, Infectious Diseases, and Immunology

Kevin Hrusovsky, President, Chairman and CEO, Quanterix

Dan Sikkema, PhD, Vice President, Accelerator and Pharma Services, Quanterix

As COVID-19 pandemic preparedness initiatives ramp up to address the current crisis, one area of focus has been the improvement of testing methods to re-open society. Differentiating early symptoms from other respiratory pathogens that have a similar clinical presentation, identifying those patients at risk for severe symptoms such as “cytokine storm,” and determining immunity status have been hallmarks of scientific efforts over the past several months. The Quanterix SIMOA™ platform is an ultra-sensitive immunoassay system that is typically 100-1000-fold more sensitive than most ELISA systems. This level of sensitivity offers the ability to detect and quantitate key cytokines involved early in the disease progression and provides insight like “a radar system” into “prediction” of subsequent immune complications. Here we describe efforts around frontline immunological and serologic assessments of COVID-19 patients and examples of historical approaches for auto-immune, vaccine, and infectious disease research using SIMOA technology.

1:40 Impaired Type I Interferon Activity and Exacerbated Inflammatory Responses in Severe Covid-19 Patients

Darragh Duffy, PhD, Scientific Manager, LabEx Milieu Interieur, Institut Pasteur

Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is characterized by distinct patterns of disease progression implying diverse host immune responses. We performed an integrated immune analysis on a cohort of fifty Covid19 patients with various disease severity. A unique phenotype in severe and critical patients was identified. It consisted of a profoundly impaired interferon (IFN) type I response characterized by no IFN-b and low IFN-a production and activity, associated with a persistent blood virus load and exacerbated inflammatory response. The cytokine storm was partially driven by the transcriptional factor NFkB and characterized by increased tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- a and interleukin (IL)-6 production and signaling. We propose that type-I IFN deficiency in the blood could be a hallmark of severe Covid-19 and provide a rationale for combined therapeutic approaches.

Speaker Biographies

Kevin Hrusovsky
President, Chairman and CEO, Quanterix

Kevin Hrusovsky is an American biotech entrepreneur, engineer, and healthcare visionary who has dedicated his 30-year career to transforming medicine from reactive “sick care” to preventative and personalized healthcare. He currently serves as President, Chairman and CEO of Quanterix, a company digitizing biomarker analysis to advance the science of precision health. In 2017, he took Quanterix public in one of the most successful IPOs for a life science tools company in recent history. Under his leadership, the company acquired Aushon and regained all rights and privileges associated with its groundbreaking Simoa technology through the termination of a license agreement with bioMérieux. Prior to joining Quanterix, he was President of Life Sciences and Technologies at PerkinElmer, CEO of Caliper Life Sciences (now PerkinElmer), and CEO of Zymark Corporation (now PerkinElmer). Previously, he served as President of FMC Corporation’s Pharmaceuticals and head of International Agricultural Products and held key management positions at E.I. DuPont de Nemours. Hrusovsky is renowned for his strong track record of launching disruptive technologies, building fast-growing companies, and developing successful commercialization strategies. He lends his business expertise on the boards of innovative technology companies including BioreclamationIVT, Caliper Life Sciences, Cell Signaling Technology, 908 Devices, Cellaria, SeraCare, Synap Dx, Xenogen and Solect Energy. Hrusovsky is committed to education and serves on the Educational Board of the Massachusetts Biotech Council, the Advisory Committee for the Center for Biomedical Engineering at Brown University, the Association for Laboratory Automation, the JALA Editorial Board, and the Strategy Committee of Children’s Hospital Boston. Hrusovsky holds an MBA from Ohio University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University. He received an Honorary Doctorate from Framingham State University for his vast contributions in life sciences and personal medicine. In addition, he helped build competitive strategy curriculum at the Institute for Strategy & Competitiveness at Harvard Business School. Follow Kevin Hrusovsky on Twitter @KevinHrusovsky and LinkedIn @KevinHrusovsky.

Dan Sikkema, PhD
Vice President, Accelerator and Pharma Services, Quanterix

Dr. Sikkema is currently Vice President, Accelerator and Pharma services for Quanterix Corporation. Dan brings 25 years’ experience in the biopharmaceutical, vaccine and cell/gene therapy fields supporting oncology, neurosciences, respiratory, immunology and infectious disease, plus 10 years in diagnostic medicine in CLIA laboratories. He has held positions of increasing responsibility at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Wyeth, Merck, Sanofi Pasteur, Frontage Laboratories and GlaxoSmithKline. In his career, he has contributed to the licensure of Prev(e)nar, Meningitec, Gardasil, RotaTeq, ProQuad, Zostavax, and Dengue vaccines, also Ofatumumab, Raxibacumab, Benlysta, Albiglutide, Mepolizumab, Denosumab, and other biopharmaceuticals, as well as Strimvelis (the world’s first ex vivo cell/gene therapy product). He has also worked with the World Health Organization, National Institute for Biological Standards and Controls (NIBSC), US Centers for Disease Control, FDA and EMA in roles as an invited expert and as an advisor. Dr. Sikkema holds a BS in Medical Technology from Northern Michigan University, and a PhD in Microbiology and Public Health from Michigan State University, College of Medicine. He was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Infectious Diseases at SUNY at Buffalo, School of Medicine and a Research Assistant Professor in Infectious Disease at SUNY at Buffalo. Additionally, Dan is a Registered Medical Technologist with the American Society for Clinical Pathologists. He has Chaired Division V (Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology) for American Society for Microbiology and was Coordinator for an Innovative Medicine Initiative project ABIRISK, the largest funded project to study Immunogenicity of Biotherapeutics. He has authored 30 peer-reviewed publications and has delivered more than 80 public presentations globally at scientific symposia.

Darragh Duffy, PhD
Scientific Manager, LabEx Milieu Interieur, Institut Pasteur

Throughout his research career Dr. Darragh Duffy has been interested in how a better understanding of fundamental immunology can be applied to novel solutions for improving human health. He undertook a PhD in immunology, and with progression of his career moved closer to translational research to deliver research findings to the clinic. He currently leads the Translational Immunology Lab at the Institut Pasteur, Paris and is co-coordinator of the the LabEx Milieu Interieur consortium. This ambitious project aims to understand the genetic and environmental determinants of a healthy immune response. The group is now applying this approach to clinical studies in infection and autoimmunity to aid the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. More recently this strategy has been applied to Covid-19 patient cohorts and helped identify impaired type I interferon activity and exacerbated inflammatory responses in severe infection.