Our Company

Sirona Dx is a technical CRO, founded to accelerate the pace of immunotherapy and targeted therapy development. Bridging silos between diagnostics manufacturers and translational clinical research our laboratory offers specialized high complexity genomics and proteomics services supporting pharmaceutical companies with their drug discovery and development programs.

 


Sirona Dx offers the latest innovative technologies supporting  exploratory testing and biomarker development to clinical trials and  companion diagnostics. Our scientists can help you select the optimal  assays and platforms to fulfill your requirements. Whether your program  requires support with gene expression, microRNA profiling, genotyping,  next generation sequencing, rare cell enrichment or high parameter  single cell proteomics with advanced mass cytometry you can depend on  our experience to advance your understanding of diseases and drugs at  the molecular level. 

From assay development to trial site training, investigator support  and customized reporting, Sirona Dx is committed to your success.

The team

Nasry Yassa, Ph.D. Chief Executive Officer

Nasry Yassa is an entrepreneurial executive with over 30 years of  experience in clinical laboratories, contract research  organizations, and pharmaceutical industries. Dr. Yassa  Co-founded Sirona Dx Inc. a Contract Research Organization that offers  specialized high complexity genomic services for platform technology  firms and pharmaceutical companies.

Nasry spent the last 12 years of his career growing startup  companies. At MolecularMD he was solely responsible for managing  activities to commercialize the company's service portfolio. He directed  staff of 60+ with scope breadth including infrastructure build,  operation, business strategy and PMA submission. Prior to MolecularMD,  he Co-founded Pathway Diagnostics and served as the Vice President of  Operations where he managed a multi-disciplinary organization working to  identify, develop, and in-license novel technology in a wide range of  disease areas. At Specialty Lab, he was the Technical Director of the  Development Department, directing the development of over 500 diagnostic  in-house tests. At Hoffmann-La Roche, Nasry worked as a Research  Scientist and then as a Product Support Manager working on the  development of the first HIV Molecular Diagnostic test and on developing  methods for reversible modification of thermo-stable enzymes (AmpliTaq®  Gold). Prior to working at Hoffmann-La Roche, he worked at Bio-Rad  laboratories as a Senior Production Manager of the HIV-1 P3 facility. At  Ortho Diagnostic Sysytems Nasry worked as an Associate Scientist. Nasry  started his career at Nichols Institute as a Manufacturing Chemist.

Nasry Yassa holds a B.S. in Medical Microbiology and Ph.D. in Bio-Chemistry.

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Andreas Bakker, PhD Chief Scientific Officer, Sirona Dx Inc.

Dr. Bakker has held senior leadership positions in laboratory,  pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries. He has extensive expertise  in the development, validation, and implementation of diagnostic assays  and platform technologies and their application in clinical research.  Andy’s understanding of GLP, GCP, and CLIA/CAP regulations has enabled  him to set up several quality management systems in diverse operational  settings. Bridging device and clinical drug development throughout his  career, Dr, Bakker has been involved with over 1000 clinical trials.  Before joining Sirona Dx, Dr. Bakker established the lab at Cynvenio  Biosystems, as Vice President of Operations, he oversaw CLIA Operations  and Clinical Trial Services. Dr. Bakker served as Vice President of  Molecular Diagnostics and Clinical Trials at Solstas Lab Partners. At  Amgen Inc., he developed a novel outsourcing and management organization  as director of Technical Services that provides laboratory and imaging  support to clinical studies worldwide. Prior to Amgen, Dr. Bakker was  the vice president of clinical programs at Pathway Diagnostics where he  established and managed the clinical trials organization. Before joining  Pathway Diagnostics, Dr. Bakker directed several organizations at  Specialty Laboratories (now Quest Diagnostics), including the genotyping  laboratory, molecular technology development, and clinical trials. Dr.  Bakker began his career as associate director of Long Beach Genetics, a  leader in biological relationship, identity, and paternity analysis. Dr.  Bakker received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los  Angeles and a B.S from the University of California, San Diego.

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Camille B. Troup, Ph.D. Chief Technology Officer, SironaDx Inc.

Dr. Camille Troup has over 20 years of experience developing and commercializing biomolecular assays, platforms and workflows. Prior to joining SironaDx, she managed translational research projects across multiple platforms for clients at Core Diagnostics as a principal scientist. She is a co-inventor of the ViroSeq™ HIV genotyping assay developed at Applied Biosystems. As a Sr. Scientist at QuantaLife, she developed novel ddPCR applications and played a key role in the acquisition of QuantaLife by Bio-Rad, including supporting commercial adoption of ddPCR after the acquisition. As a senior field application scientist at Nanostring Technologies, she supported translational research programs for Pharma clients and CRO’s. She recently co-authored the biomarker study best practices white paper for the nCounter™ platform. She has a Ph.D. from the University of California San Francisco Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Minnesota.  

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Vincent Mesa, MD Laboratory Director, Sirona Dx Inc.

Dr. Mesa is a board certified pathologist and an Assistant Professor at the Department of Pathology, College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northewest, Western University of Health Sciences. He is also the founder and director of a leading surgical pathology reference lab service for ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). 

Dr. Mesa did his undergraduate studies at the University of North Texas, and medical school at the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences  in Des Moines, IA. He then did his Pathology Residency at the Cleveland Clinic, Mount Sinai Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Mesa is a member of the College of American Pathologists, the Oregon Pathologists Association, the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of Oregon and the Catholic Medical Association.


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Scot Liu, PhD Director of Emerging Technologies, Sirona Dx Inc.

Dr. Liu is an accomplished cancer immunologist with industry experience in drug development, basic and biomarker research, and technology and assay development. Dr. Liu has a proven track record with numerous peer-reviewed publications and abstracts/presentations as both primary and senior author with internal and external collaborators. Before joining Sirona Dx, Dr. Liu served as a Principal Scientist Researcher at Genetech department of Pathology, where he led multiple discovery research teams in various projects including projects aimed to understand the effect of small molecules on Natural Killer (NK) cell function, study the mechanisms to potentiate ADCC mediated by afucosylated therapeutic antibodies, evaluate NK cells in preclinical tumor models and examine the effect of fucosylation on Notch-driven thymocyte lineage commitment.

Furthermore, in Genentech Dr. Liu led cross-functional teams that included scientists, pathologists, technologists, and legal counsel to implement new technology and develop novel methods.  Dr.  Liu received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los  Angeles and a B.S from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Brenda Watt, PhD Senior Scientist, Sirona Dx Inc.

Dr. Brenda Watt has 15+ years of research and development experience in  the biomedical sciences. Brenda obtained her PhD in Cell and Molecular  Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, followed by postdoctoral  training at Oregon Health & Science University, where she focused on protein mis-folding diseases. Dr. Watt has  experience in the implementation of technologies in new settings and in  process improvement. Prior to joining Sirona Dx in 2018, Brenda was  Senior Scientist at StoneStable Inc, where she set up the lab and was in charge of designing and performing experiments to  move its vaccine pipelines forward.

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Akil Merchant, MD Scientific Advisor, Sirona Dx Inc.

Dr. Akil Merchant is an assistant Professor of Medicine at Keck School of Medicine, USC Norris Cancer Center who focuses on developing new treatments for blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. In particular, he studies how interactions between tumor cells and the tumor immune microenvironment can drive the progression of tumors and resistance to chemotherapies. At USC, Dr. Merchant has worked to develop methods for profiling the tumor immune microenvironment using Fluidigm Hyperion imaging Mass Cytometry (IMC) system and led the effort to identify tissue biomarkers of clinical response in patients treated with novel immuno-oncology agents. 

As a clinician, Dr. Merchant has been a respected and innovative leader in the treatment of hematologic malignancies and bone marrow transplantation. He maintains an active clinical investigation program and currently leads clinical trials for patients with leukemia and lymphoma, including several trials for immuno-oncology agents.  Additionally, he has clinical expertise in cellular therapies (haplo-identical cellular therapy and NK cellular therapy) for various cancers. Dr. Merchant did his undergraduate studies at Rice University and medical school and residency at Baylor College of Medicine. He then did his fellowship in Medical Oncology at Johns Hopkins University, and subsequently joined the faculty there, before he was recruited to USC.

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Shahab Asgharzadeh, MD Scientific Advisor, Sirona Dx Inc.

Dr. Shahab Asgharzadeh is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology at the University of Southern California and director of the Neuroblastoma Basic and Translational Program at CHLA. He specializes in treating children with neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma and leads a research laboratory aimed at understanding the role of the tumor microenvironment in biology of these tumors. His research also uses next generation sequencing technologies to discover novel targets for therapy. His group’s identification of the role of immune system in neuroblastomas has provided data for the use of new immunotherapeutic approaches in the treatment of this disease.

Dr. Asgharzadeh is a member of the NIH sponsored Neuroblastoma Therapeutically Applicable Research to Generate Effective Treatments (Neuroblastoma TARGET) project and an active member of the Children’s Oncology Group and serves on this organization’s Neuroblastoma Biology Committee.

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Jon Summers Counselor

Jon is an attorney and CPA who represents technology and emerging growth  companies with respect to the formation, financing, governance, and  transactional matters. He counsels clients on venture capital and angel  financings, mergers and acquisitions, strategic alliances and joint  ventures, technology licensing, commercial agreements and general  business matters. Jon is experienced in stock option plans, executive  compensation, corporate reorganizations and spinouts, securities  offerings, and the formation of investment funds. Jon speaks frequently  on the subjects of startups, financings, and mergers and acquisitions.  Jon teaches an Entrepreneurship seminar at Lewis and Clark Law School.  Prior to his legal career, Jon worked for four years for Arthur Andersen  and Co., an international public accounting firm, as a financial  statement auditor where he earned his certified public accounting  license in 1989.

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Accreditations