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ARM Innovation Hub
24 September, 2019 - 09:56 By Kate Sweeney

Life sciences cash king steers Fluidic’s commercialisation push

Joe Keegan and Andrew Lynn

Cambridge protein analysis pioneer Fluidic Analytics has secured the services of life sciences commercialisation wizard Dr Joe Keegan as chairman to boost the impending launch of novel technology.

He brings his Midas touch to the UK business at a crucial point as it prepares for the upcoming launch of its revolutionary new instrument for protein interaction analysis – the Fluidity One-W.

The Fluidity One-W uses transformational microfluidic diffusional sizing (MDS) technology to characterise protein interactions in solution and in crude backgrounds. 

The technology is designed to give researchers and drug developers the power to more accurately characterise, quantify and distinguish protein interactions of all kinds – even difficult-to-study interactions like on-target and off-target binding of drugs and interactions involving proteins that are intrinsically disordered.

During a glittering career, Dr Keegan led ForteBio as CEO through a period of rapid sales growth from that culminated in the company’s sale to Pall Corporation – delivering a return of $160 million to investors. He was formerly CEO of NASDAQ-listed Molecular Devices Corporation where he grew revenues from $25m to $185m and oversaw the acquisition by MDS Corporation. 

He serves on the boards of Bio-Techne (TECH) and Interpace Diagnostics (IDXG) and a number of early-stage and growth companies in the life science tools and diagnostics industries. Past roles include two-time chairman of the Analytical, Life Science & Diagnostics Association (ALDA), non-executive chairman of Labcyte Inc and non-executive director of Advanced Cellular Diagnostics, ProteinSimple and Seahorse Bioscience.

Spun-out of the University of Cambridge in 2013, Fluidic Analytics has scaled up fast and in 2018 raised €27 million to continue developing its pipeline of products for characterising proteins and the way they interact with other biomolecules. 

CEO Dr Andrew Lynn said: “Welcoming Joe as our chairman is an honour. He will be a tremendous asset to Fluidic Analytics and a powerful addition to an already strong board. His experience across both life science research tools and diagnostics makes him the ideal fit to help our team drive Fluidic into its next phase of growth. 

“Joe’s exceptional track record at some of the most respected companies in our industry demonstrates his deep understanding of the markets we operate in. We are delighted to have him join us on our journey to transform life sciences and healthcare for the better.”

The Fluidity One-W is an early step in Fluidic’s product pipeline – one that is designed to culminate in a device that the company says will allow even an eight-year-old to gather deep information about every protein and every protein interaction in any biological system. 

The company’s ultimate goal is to use data from such devices to provide doctors with early warnings and real-time updates about any person’s health status, including their responses to particular drugs, the early stages of disease or the development of allergies.

DNA has the power to predict what is likely to happen in a biological system at some point in time but proteins can tell us what is actually happening at any stage. While recent advances in genomics have made it cheap and easy to characterise DNA, proteins and protein interactions are notoriously hard to characterise with traditional technologies. Fluidic is striving to change this.

Joe Keegan said: “It’s always exciting to join a new company, especially one with a vision as clear and exciting as Fluidic Analytics. 

“I’m really looking forward to helping make that vision a reality – to move further beyond genomics to a world where a deeper understanding of proteins and how they interact with other biomolecules makes it easier to unlock new areas of biology and deliver the right treatments to the right patients at the right time.”

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