|Dietrich A. Stephan, Ph.D.|
August 25, 1969|
|Occupation||Scientist and Entrepreneur|
|Known for||Founder of Navigenics, Amnestix, Aueon, DiaVacs, Silicon Valley Biosystems|
Dr. Dietrich Stephan, Ph.D. (born August 25, 1969) is an American human geneticist and entrepreneur who works to positively disrupt the health care system so as to improve patient outcomes. Dr. Stephan is credited with being one of the fathers of the field of Personalized Medicine based on both his work in deeply sub-classifying common diseases using molecular scanning technologies, and subsequently putting in place the diagnostic testing infrastructure and paradigms to enable personalization. Stephan's academic career includes his current role as Professor and Chairman of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior, he served as the founding Chairman of the Neurogenomics Department at the Translational Genomics Research Institute and being on the faculty of Harvard Medical School. He is founder of many biotechnology companies including Navigenics, a personal genetics company. Dr. Stephan has been featured twice on the front page of the Wall Street Journal for his game-changing contributions to healthcare, and publishes on the business of science in journals such as the Harvard Business Review.
Dietrich Stephan was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He received his B.S. in Biology/Biochemistry from Carnegie Mellon University. He went on to obtain his Ph.D. in Human Molecular Genetics in three years from the University of Pittsburgh. Stephan completed a fellowship at the National Human Genome Research Institute.
Stephan's academic career spans several top-tier institutions. He is currently Professor and Chairman of the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh. He also leads the Population Genetics and Translational Acceleration effort at the Personalized Medicine Institute, a joint initiative between the University of Pittsburgh Schools of Health Sciences and UPMC. He has held faculty positions at the Children’s National Medical Center, the Translational Genomics Research Institute.
During his time at the NIH, Stephan researched and published extensive information on the genetic components of common cancers such as prostate cancer and breast cancer. His work leveraged novel molecular scanning technologies to understand the root pathogenesis of tumors.
In 2003, Stephan was an early recruit to the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, Arizona as a Senior Investigator and founding Chairman of the Department of Neurogenomics. He later served as the Deputy Director of Discovery Research at TGen, where he oversaw the entire research program. During his time at TGen, Stephan and his colleagues were some of the first to use moderns molecular scanning technologies such as next-generation sequencing to identify the causes for a number of disorders including autism spectrum disorder, ALS, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), Alzheimer’s disease, and a multitude of others. His laboratory has identified the genetic basis of 20 single gene disorders, and several dozen complex genetic disorders using high-throughput technologies and strategies. Stephan is recognized for his unique ability to bring basic discoveries into the marketplace to benefit patients. Some of these inlcude first-in-human trials for Alzheimr's drugs, Lou Gehrig's disease therapies, and for autism.
Dr. Stephan has also worked on the provider side of healthcare, having implemented personalized genomic medicine clinical programs with sustainable business models in many provider systems. Stephan crafted the business case and obtained the initial funding for the Gene Partnership Project at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School.
Stephan has published more than 140 peer-reviewed scientific articles in the scientific literature and he served as the Chairman of the NIH Neuroscience Microarray Consortium for seven years. He sits on the Board of Directors of a number of non-profit academic institutions such as Sage Bionetworks and the Personalized Medicine Coalition. Dr. Stephan students have gone on to leading positions at Harvard, NIH, and other tier 1 institutions, and two of his High School interns received the Siemens Westinghouse Science Award.
Stephan and his contributions to science and medicine have been extensively written about in the lay media including Forbes, Newsweek, Wired, MIT Technology Review, Reader's Digest, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, among thousands of other outlets.
Stephan began his career as an entrepreneur in November 2006 when he co-founded Navigenics with oncologist Dr. David Agus, together with board members John Doerr, Sue Seigel, Brook Byers and David Brailer. Navigenics is a personal genetic testing company that offers genetic scans and analysis to individuals to determine their individual risk for a variety of common health conditions, and specific actions to reduce those risks. Navigenics’ extensive genetic counseling program focused on the potential health benefits that can be gained from being aware of personal genetic information. Navigenics is widely credited for being the first clinical whole-genome interpretation company, breaking down roadblocks to usher in a new era of genome-informed medicine to improve patient outcomes and lower the cost of care. In 2012, Life Technologies acquired Navigenics to anchor its diagnostics strategy and physician reporting infrastructure, enabling its sequencing technology to make its way to the point of care.
In January 2007, Stephan founded Amnestix. Amnestix is a pharmaceutical company that focuses on the treatment of learning and memory impairment as caused by a number of conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and aging. Amnestix was acquired by SYGNIS A.G. in June, 2009 and its line of memory-enhancing compounds continue to make their way through human clinical trials.
Stephan co-founded Aueon, Inc. with noted intellectual property expert Vern Norviel in 2009. Aueon is a biotechnology company focused on providing early cancer diagnostic tests to appropriately select the most effective chemotherapeutic agents so as to maximize long-term survival.
In 2011, Stephan founded a next-generation genome sequencing and interpretation company named Silicon Valley Biosystems (or SVBio). SVBio allows next-generation ultra-high throughput DNA sequencers to be enhanced so as to provide diagnostic grade quality output, and the platform for analysis and clinical interpretation of the resultant data - such as an entire human genome. SVBio's platform is used by the Mayo Clinic and other premier diagnostic and clinical providers to enable their genomic medicine efforts. Stephan led the company through several financing events and strategic partnerships as President and CEO.
In 2013, Stephan founded and is Chairman of the Board of DiaVacs Inc, which is a pharmaceutical company based on a proprietary platform technology that utilizes dendritic cell therapy together with a mechanistic understanding of the immune system to cure antigen-specific autoimmune disorders. The dendritic cell therapy is the first targeted immune-inhibitory therapy. DiaVacs' first drug (DV0100) is entering Phase II trials for juvenile diabetes (T1DM). DiaVacs has a team composed of Alan Lewis the recent CEO of the JDRF, Dan Bradbury the former CEO of Amylin Therapeutics, and James R Gavin III the former President of the American Diabetes Association.
In addition to his continued founding of biotechnology companies, Dr. Stephan is a Director, Adviser, and Investor in several companies which include efforts at massively parallel nanopore sequencing, cell free tumor DNA diagnostics, and other cutting edge technologies.
- http://www.navigenics.com/visitor/about_us/team/executives/dietrich_stephan/ Stephan's profile on Navigenics
- http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techinnovations/2003-10-02-one-chip-genome_x.htm USA Today
- http://blog.navigenics.com/articles/comments/our_genetic_counseling_program_is_growing/ Navigenics Blog
- http://www.amnestix.com/Amnestix Official Site
- http://www.aaas.org/spp/PM/bios Advancing Science, Serving Society