Telomere Diagnostics, Inc. is a privately held molecular testing company founded in 2010 by a group of four scientists including Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009 for her pioneering work in telomere biology. The company recently launched TeloYears, a simple genetic test that reveals the cellular age encoded in your DNA so you can know how well you’re aging. Our lab in Silicon Valley, California is regulated under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) as qualified to perform high complexity clinical testing. There, we measure parts of chromosomes called telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of DNA strands that tend to shorten and fray with age. We use our own proprietary quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay, which is the world’s leading method of measuring Average Telomere Length (ATL). Beyond TeloYears, the company is actively developing other potential uses of ATL to address unmet clinical needs in cardiovascular disease, oncology, and in-vitro fertilization.

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Management Team

JASON SHELTON

Chief Executive Officer

Bio

Jason joined Telomere Diagnostics in early 2014 with nearly two decades of leadership experience in building start-up, medical device, and consumer healthcare companies. From early 2000 through 2005, he was with Align Technology, Inc., the maker of Invisalign® invisible braces. Jason led consumer marketing for Invisalign as a key part of the early team that helped build the company from its initial launch as a venture-backed start-up, through its IPO, and ultimately into a global leader and profitable public company with then revenues in excess of $200 million annually. He then served as Vice President of Marketing for BioForm Medical, Inc., where he led the aesthetic launch of its flagship Radiesse® dermal filler during a span that included its FDA approval (PMA), rapid revenue growth to over $80 million annually, and the company’s eventual IPO. Subsequently, Jason was Vice President of Marketing for Sonitus Medical, Inc., marketer of the SoundBite™ Hearing System, which he helped to achieve critical milestones including product design, clinical trials, two FDA clearances, and commercial launch. Most recently, Jason was CEO of EarLens Corporation where he led the company’s efforts through key milestones in product development, regulatory affairs, and operations.

Jason’s earlier experience includes years at SmithKline Beecham (now GlaxoSmithKline) working on the brand marketing teams of national consumer healthcare brands including NicoDerm CQ® and Aquafresh® toothpaste. Jason earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from The Ohio State University and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.

TODD WOODRING

Vice President,  Operations

Bio

Todd came to Telomere Diagnostics in June 2014, bringing over 29 years of experience in the medical diagnostics industry. In his previous position, Todd served as Vice President of Manufacturing Operations for Antech Diagnostics, the largest veterinary clinical laboratory in North America. His responsibilities included establishing the manufacturing division that developed 14 different LDT assays, realizing over $50MM in annual revenues.

Before Antech, Todd spent 6 years with Quest Diagnostics as the Site Leader of Operations at Nichols Institute Diagnostics division, where he was responsible for the manufacture of reagents and instruments for their immunoassay products. Todd also worked as Director of Operations at Bayer/Chiron Diagnostics and held leadership roles at American Hospital, Baxter and Dade Behring. He is a certified Green Belt in Six Sigma.

Todd received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Microbiology from the University of California, Davis and continued with post graduate work in epidemiology, immunology and microbiology culminating in a Clear Ryan Teaching Credential.

LYNDAL HESTERBERG Ph.D

Chief Technology Officer

Bio

Dr. Hesterberg has worked as an industry consultant to medical and biotech companies providing counsel on research/product development, clinical trial design, verification/validation study design and corporate strategy. Previously, he was the Chief Technology Officer at Crescendo Biosciences until 2012 where he was responsible for R&D, clinical trials, laboratory operations, manufacturing and quality systems and helped bring the Vectra DA® to market. Before that, he was the president and CEO of BaroFold, Inc., where he led the Company from product conception through its clinical stage. Dr. Hesterberg also has been a Executive Vice President of Scientific Affairs at ThermoBioStar and the Manager of Diagnostic Product Development at Amge). He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of St. Louis and a Bachelor of Sciences from the University of Illinois.

DOUGLAS HARRINGTON, MD

Laboratory Director

Bio

Dr. Douglas Harrington runs the Telomere Diagnostics laboratory that performs the TeloYears genetic test.   Dr. Harrington has over 25 years of experience in the research, development, commercialization, and expansion of molecular diagnostic tests and other innovative healthcare technologies. Dr. Harrington co-founded one of the first clinical molecular biology laboratories in the U.S. with the Nebraska Lymphoma Study Group headed by Dr. Jim Armitage. As former President and Lab Director of Nichols Institute, Dr. Harrington expanded their molecular genetics, infectious disease, immunology, cytogenetic, and anatomic pathology offerings.

Dr. Harrington has developed patents for an automated method for image analysis of residual cancer cells, a patent covering catalytic heavy metal extraction, and a patent pending on biomarker assay for diagnosis and classification of cardiac disease. He has been involved as a Director or founder of multiple startup companies – from devices to molecular genetics focusing on genetics, immunology, cancer and cardiology, where he has taken a number of new molecular technologies through state and federal regulatory approval.

Dr. Harrington remains a Clinical Professor of Pathology at the USC Keck School of Medicine. Dr. Harrington received his B.A. in Molecular Biology and M.D. from the University of Colorado. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Preventive Cardiology, is Board Certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and Hematology, and has authored over 80 scientific studies and publications. He holds multiple professional affiliation memberships, including the American Society of Preventive Cardiology, American Medical Association, the American Society of Clinical Pathologists, the College of American Pathologists, the Association for Molecular Pathology and the International Academy of Pathology.

JONATHAN ROMANOWSKY

Vice President, Commercial Operations

Bio

Joining Telomere Diagnostics in 2015, Jonathan has spent almost 15 years commercializing and marketing novel, high value molecular diagnostic tests, taking them from development to launch to standard of care. While at Veracyte, Jonathan led both US and international launch efforts for the Afirma® Gene Expression Classifier, a test that reclassifies thyroid nodules with inconclusive diagnoses as benign. Jonathan also led the launches and subsequent growth for novel gene expression tests at two other molecular diagnostics companies–CardioDx and XDx (now CareDx).

Prior to a career in molecular diagnostics, Jonathan pioneered electronic prescribing at iScribe (acquired by AdvancePCS, now part of CVS). Jonathan began his career as a strategic consultant for Bain & Company.

Jonathan earned his Bachelor of Science in Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley and his MBA from Stanford, where he focused on medical technology innovation.

LYSSA FRIEDMAN

Vice President, Clinical Development

Bio

Lyssa has extensive experience in the molecular diagnostics field, specializing in clinical validation and clinical utility study design, regulatory affairs for laboratory-developed tests and product and corporate strategy. Previously, Ms. Friedman was the Vice President of Clinical Operations at Veracyte, where she oversaw the pivotal clinical validation study that resulted in the company’s first product launch, as well as clinical utility studies that contributed to positive coverage decisions from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as well as major U.S. private payers. She is a frequent speaker on diagnostic development and clinical and regulatory affairs and has authored more than a dozen peer-reviewed publications.  Lyssa received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from California State University and a Masters Public Administration from the University of San Francisco.

CALVIN B. HARLEY

Chief Scientist

Bio

Dr. Harley is a Co-founder of Telomere Diagnostics and is a world-renowned expert in telomere biology and aging, being among the first to link cellular aging to telomere loss during cell division in human cells. His team developed the telomerase assay when he found that cancer cells escaped mortality by activating the telomerase enzyme.

Prior to starting Telomere Diagnostics, Cal spent 15 years at Geron Corporation, a pharmaceutical company with major programs in telomere biology for aging and cancer. While at Geron, Cal held roles as CSO, Vice President of Research, and Director of Cell Biology. Prior to Geron, Cal was a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry at McMaster University where he led research programs on mortality and immortality in human cells.

Dr. Harley received a Bachelor of Science degree from Waterloo University and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at McMaster University. He completed postdoctoral research at UCSF in molecular biology and at the University of Sussex in evolutionary biology. Additionally, Cal served as an executive for the Canadian Association on Gerontology, and has published extensively on the medical applications of telomere research. He is an inventor on a number of key patents related to telomere biology, telomerase, and the diagnosis and treatment of disease, and has received numerous awards for his work.

CHRISTINE HÄNNI

Chief Financial Officer

Bio

Christine Hänni is a finance executive with 30 years experience with publicly‐held companies, mid‐size and start‐up companies. Ms. Hänni has been providing services to early‐stage medical device companies as a consulting CFO since 2002. In this role she assists with corporate strategy, business plan development, long‐term financial planning and analysis, accounting, human resources and administration as well as fundraising and facilities location/negotiation.

Prior to consulting, Ms. Hänni was the CFO of a NASDAQ company in the medical device field with four business units utilizing a platform technology. She has assisted in the formation of international joint ventures and the establishment of the finance and administrative organizations of newly‐formed international subsidiaries during her role as VP International Finance with another publicly‐held company.

Ms. Hänni has also worked in the technology field holding several finance positions, including a temporary assignment as the country business manager in Singapore, with a multi‐national computer manufacturer. She began her career as a financial auditor with PricewaterhouseCoopers (formerly Coopers & Lybrand).

Scientific Advisors

Dr. DREW WATSON

Genomic Health

Bio

Dr. Watson has served as Vice President of Biostatistics¸ Data Management and Medical Operations of Genomic Health, Inc., since February 2003. He was instrumental in the development of Oncotype DX®– a diagnostic test that has revolutionized personal medicine by quantifying the likelihood of disease recurrence in women with early-stage breast cancer, and providing individualized estimates of chemotherapy benefit. Prior to Genomic Health, Dr. Watson  was the Chief Executive Officer of Novation Biosciences.  Dr. Watson also held various roles at Incyte Genomics, including General Manager of Incyte’s Microarray Division, Vice President of Corporate Development, and Vice President of Computational Biology. Prior to that he was Director of Non-Clinical Biostatistics for Chiron Corporation.

Dr. Watson has published extensively in the area of oncology clinical research, genomics and personalized medicine, and is an inventor on a number of key patents related to genomics, algorithm development, and molecular diagnostics.

Dr. Watson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics from California State University, East Bay, a Master of Science degree in Computational Statistics from Stanford University, an MBA from Golden Gate University and a Ph.D. in Biostatistics from UCLA.

Dr. RICHARD CAWTHON

University of Utah

Bio

Since 1987, Dr. Cawthon has been in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah, working first in cancer genetics and then concentrating exclusively on aging, longevity, regenerative medicine, and rejuvenation. Dr. Cawthon has broad research interests in the genetics of aging and longevity, and has a body of significant work including:

  • demonstrating that longer telomeres in people aged 60 years or older are associated with longer life, and that shorter telomeres are associated with increased mortality rates from heart disease and infectious disease;
  • inventing the first quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method for measuring telomere length in DNA samples, now in routine use in laboratories around the world;
  • using computerized Utah genealogies to find genetic variants that slow both reproductive and general somatic aging;
  • identifying gene expression profiles that predict the remaining lifespan of the donors.

Dr. Cawthon holds a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University in Biochemical Sciences. He earned his M.D. and Ph.D. in Human Genetics from Yale University. He was the 1996 recipient of the AlliedSignal Award for Research on Aging.

Dr. JUE LIN

University of California, San Francisco

Bio

Dr. Lin is a Research Biochemist in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF and a co-founder of Telomere Diagnostics. She did her postdoctoral work with Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, a Nobel Laureate in telomere research, investigating telomerase function and regulation.

For the past 12 years, her work has focused on using telomere maintenance as a biomarker for aging and aging-related diseases in human studies. Dr. Lin and her team developed a high throughput telomere length measurement suitable for large scale clinical studies and pioneered telomerase activity measurement in unstimulated immune cells suitable for clinical studies. Working for Dr. Blackburn, she has led over 40 collaborative projects that examine the role of telomere length and telomerase activity in health and human diseases, and has published seminal articles on telomere biology.

Dr. Lin obtained her Ph.D. in molecular biology at Cornell University.

Partners

Telomere Diagnostics partners with other diagnostic and biotechnology companies, research laboratories and other healthcare organizations on clinical and research programs.  Interested parties can contact us at busdev@telomeredx.com

Lab Certifications

CMSLicense TypeLicense NoExpiration Date
CLIACertificate of Registration05D20410025/19/2017
StateLicense TypeLicense NoExpiration Date
FloridaClinical Chemistry80002740510/21/2016
PennsylvaniaClinical Chemistry0333388/15/2016
Rhode IslandClinical ChemistryLCO0089312/30/2016
MarylandClinical Chemistry20626/30/2017
CaliforniaClinical ChemistryCLF 003427135/6/2017

Careers

Telomere Diagnostics is always looking for people with a passion for science and how it intersects with patient care. If this sounds like you, submit your resume to careers@telomeredx.com.