SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Freenome, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) genomics company, today announced the appointment of Cheng-Ho Jimmy Lin, MD, PhD, MHS as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO). Dr. Lin will join the executive management team of Freenome with responsibility for scientific strategy, research operations, and growing the company’s world-class scientific team.
“We’re delighted to welcome Jimmy to Freenome,” said Gabe Otte, CEO. “He’s an accomplished leader with a deep understanding of cancer genomics and computational biology. Even more, he has a proven record of translating cutting-edge research into a robust clinical development program, on through to commercialization.”
Prior to joining the private sector, Dr. Lin led the intramural clinical genomics program at the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health, and, at Johns Hopkins and Washington University in St Louis, he spearheaded the computational analyses of the first-ever exome sequencing studies in multiple cancer types. In his most recent role, as CSO for Oncology at Natera, the global genetic-diagnostics company, Dr. Lin was central to the development and launch of blood-based assays for cancer monitoring and detection of molecular residual disease.
Dr. Lin’s initial focus at Freenome will be the company’s first blood-based assay for the early detection of colorectal cancer, building out the scientific roadmap and research teams in close coordination with his executive counterparts on clinical, regulatory, and reimbursement strategies. Dr. Lin will also play a central role in prioritizing and accelerating Freenome’s product development pipeline for follow-on assays for several other cancer types.
Freenome’s primary research efforts will continue to advance discovery on multiple analytes, including cell-free DNA, cell-free RNA, and cancer-associated proteins. This novel multi-analyte approach aims to overcome limitations to clinical performance in the early detection of cancer and precancerous lesions seen with tests focused exclusively on a single analyte, such as circulating tumor DNA, which exist only at very low levels in early-stage disease.
“Like many others, my life has been personally touched by cancer,” said Dr. Lin. “I believe that Freenome is taking the right approach to early detection by using machine learning and multiple analytes to get a more complete picture of cancer and the body’s response to cancer. I’m excited to see a company thinking comprehensively about what it takes to bring a new technology to patients and providers – not only scientific translation and clinical evidence, but also regulatory and reimbursement strategies.”
Dr. Lin holds an MD and a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Medicine from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, as well as a Master of Health Sciences in Bioinformatics from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. As an undergraduate at Yale, he majored in Cognitive Science and Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry. Dr. Lin was a 2016 Senior TED Fellow and is the Founder and President of the Rare Genomics Institute.
By using AI to recognize disease-associated patterns among billions of circulating, cell-free biomarkers, Freenome is developing simple, accurate, and noninvasive blood tests for early-cancer screening and mapping the new frontier of cell-free cancer biology. Freenome’s most recent, novel technical research, presented recently at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, examines prediction models using cfDNA fragment coverage to predict gene expression and infer 3D chromatin organization to identify tissues of origin.