Jarret Glasscock, Founder & CEO
According to Jarret Glasscock, a computational biologist and the founder and CEO of Cofactor Genomics, “Almost 95 percent of the diseases we suffer from cannot be diagnosed by DNA alone.” At a high level, DNA only detects hereditary risk factors, or provides an indication that an individual might develop a disease. “DNA’s inability to track present symptoms or conditions of patients can lead to misdiagnoses and wrong treatments,” cautions Glasscock. RNA, on the other hand, is quite different. It changes its expression pattern when a disease is present, and these changes can be detected even when someone is not showing symptoms yet. With an aim to redefine the approach toward molecular diagnostics, Cofactor has spent more than a decade developing RNA sequencing technology, bringing to bear a new and more robust method of diagnosing diseases.
"With Paragon, Cofactor’s first-of-its-kind immuno-oncology assay, the company uses RNA to profile the tumor microenvironment"
The founding members of Cofactor Genomics—all past Human Genome Project (HGP) scientists—wanted to build new and innovative technologies for detecting diseases that met clinical standards and addressed the challenges associated with clinical samples. Today, Cofactor has a CAP-CLIA certified lab and develops unique technologies and software tools that harness the potential of RNA to detect diseases.
Today, Cofactor has a CAP-CLIA certified lab and develops unique technologies and software tools that harness the potential of RNA to detect diseases
Cofactor focuses on using RNA sequencing technology for oncology drug discovery and development.
Immuno-oncology or “cancer immunology” has become Cofactor’s forte. Profiling the tumor microenvironment provides insights into how the immune system combats disease. With Paragon, Cofactor’s first-of-its-kind RNA-based immuno-oncology assay, the company has generated RNA sequencing-based signatures for immune cell types. With these signatures in hand, the heterogeneous tissue of a tumor may be analyzed using Cofactor’s Paragon technology to identify the immune cells present at different stages of disease or treatment. This powerful, quantitative analysis enables Cofactor to understand how the immune system is responding to the tumor, and ultimately to predict which treatment will be most effective for a particular patient.
Over the years, Cofactor has analyzed thousands of DNA and RNA samples. By choosing to focus specifically on developing tools for RNA, Cofactor has been at the forefront of driving this technology into the clinic. “For the last few years, we have been focusing on building the foundations for these assays,” says Glasscock. In the future, Cofactor plans to branch out its immuno-oncology technology applied to other immune-related diseases like psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and others. With recently announced Series-A funding secured, the Cofactor team is poised to make an impressive impact in the field—with RNA leading the way.