Peconic is on the forefront of genetic discovery and technology. Made up of a team of scientists, the company is led by Dr. Frank Pugh, a professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State University, and team members Dr. William Lai and Nina Farrell.
Utilizing ChIP-exo technology developed by Pugh, Peconic maps the precise layout of the epigenome, which is essentially the inner workings of cellular gene control systems. Dedicating his career to understanding the fundamental principles by which our genes are controlled, Pugh concluded that understanding these processes can yield breakthroughs in medicine. “When the control breaks down, it leads to cancer. By understanding these control processes in detail, it is hoped that we can better diagnose and treat disease,” says Pugh.
Pugh realized that some technologies available for experimenting on human cells may have commercial use. Initially, Peconic sought to provide a service to academics that are not able to make the large-scale investment into the infrastructure and operating costs. Focusing on medicine, Peconic added a second objective to “tweak the technology towards applications in medicine, such as aiding in the diagnosis of cancer and treatment decisions,” according to Pugh.
Peconic attributes much of their early success to the TechCelerator program, winning the Fall 2016 cohort and awarded $10,000. One of the most important things Pugh attained through this program was “learning to balance science and business objectives so that all develop in parallel.” The team also realized that “business objectives that stream out of academia often do not gain traction in the commercial space,” leading the group to explore the market segments more carefully and focus on customer needs when developing their business model.
Their Innovation Park location allows Peconic to partner with Penn State University. A portion of their work involves high capital investment, which is contracted to the University, allowing Peconic to minimize upfront fixed costs. In return, the University is able to recover some of the operating costs associated with the technology, which is used internally for academic purposes. Pugh sees the relationship as a “win-win situation.”
While Peconic remains very much in the incubator state, the plans to move forward continue. “What seems like a great scientific idea needs to be further honed into a marketable product,” states Pugh. “We are on the lookout for talented partners and team members that bring synergism to the business side.”
For more information on Peconic, visit their website at http://www.peconicgenomics.com/.