Pierian Biosciences News

September 28, 2022

US-Based Pierian Biosciences Opens Its First UK Laboratory In Liverpool With Support From Liverpool City Region Inward Investment Fund

Harrogate International Advisory has successfully welcomed its US client Pierian Biosciences into Liverpool with the opening of Pierian’s first laboratory in the United Kingdom. It will be based within the highly prestigious Liverpool Science Park. The US-based laboratory diagnostic and pharma support services has also successfully received investment from the Inward Investment Facilitation Fund (I2F2), which was set up as part of the £75m Business Growth Package introduced by Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region.


Based in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, Pierian Biosciences is a diagnostic development and laboratory service organisation. The company has invested $42m into the development of this project, which will be taken through to commercialisation with a further £25m of investment. Pierian Biosciences aims to deliver the most innovative, treatment-directing testing possible while providing analytical approaches that lead the way for personalised medicine and translational science. The organisation specifically focuses on personalised cancer intelligence by offering guidance for healthcare providers to offer a personal treatment for patients suffering from cancer and auto-immune diseases.


Pierian Biosciences’ decision to open a permanent laboratory within the United Kingdom has been several years in the making. As the organisation seeks to expand its work towards helping patients and informing medical professionals around the world, the board of directors determined that it would be most valuable to have a permanent laboratory base within the European continent and chose Liverpool as its base. The United Kingdom was chosen based on Pierian Biosciences having clearer communication with key opinion leaders from the medical field within Great Britain, as well as the increased opportunities for access to the wealth of scientific research facilities that the UK offers.

The Liverpool City Region in particular serves as a central hub for national health studies, with the local medical facilities being prevalent towards research and testing for a wide variety of conditions, treatments, and illnesses, which includes cancer treatment. Based on the work that Pierian Biosciences delivers, Liverpool was an appropriate choice for the company’s new UK laboratory given the wealth of top-level cancer research that the region provides. In addition, the city has numerous central locations that focus primarily on cancer treatment and cancer research. These include the Liverpool Cancer Research Institute, the world-class Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Liverpool University Biobank (LUB), Cancer Research UK’s Cancer Trial Units, and the Royal Liverpool University Hospital.


Robert Henry, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pierian Biosciences, commented: “We’re delighted to bring our work to the city of Liverpool. Right now, we have two assays that we are developing right here in the UK, and we will provide further information once they receive full approval.

“It makes perfect sense for us to come to Liverpool. The opportunity to gain access to tissue samples of cancerous tumours needed to conduct our studies is far greater in the UK and Europe right now than in the United States. And Liverpool Science Park’s laboratory facilities are of the highest possible standard for the work that we carry out. We have been overwhelmed by the offers of collaboration by local academics and oncology specialists. We look forward to working alongside some of the world-class facilities that Liverpool has to offer in the realms of Life Sciences to continue this game-changing project.”


Norman Purvis, Chief Scientific Officer, Head of Research and Development at Pierian Biosciences, has moved to the UK to setup and manage the Liverpool laboratory on a permanent basis. The opening of the Liverpool laboratory will also create new employment opportunities as the UK team expands.

The inward investment project of Pierian was mandated to Harrogate International Advisors. Sue Wright, managing director at Harrogate, commented: “We started working on this project in 2021. Tony Reeves, the then-CEO of Liverpool City Council, gave the project huge support to ensure with us that it landed into Liverpool. The collaboration from local academics, professors of oncology, city council stakeholders and Colin Sinclair of the Knowledge Quarter has been exceptional. This really shows that we can successfully bring Big Pharma to Liverpool.”

To mark the occasion of Pierian Biosciences’ expansion into the UK, the company held a prestigious dinner at LuBan Restaurant Liverpool. It was attended by numerous key stakeholders, academics and members of Liverpool City Council. Attendees included Robert Henry, President and CEO of Pierian Biosciences; Norman Purvis, Chief Scientific Officer and head of R&D at Pierian Biosciences, Joanne Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool; and Mark Bourgeois, Interim City Development Director of Liverpool City Council and Sue Wright and Faisal Arif of Harrogate International Advisors. In addition, eight key oncologists and other leading figures from Liverpool City Region were in attendance.


Pierian Biosciences News

November 2, 2018

Pierian Biosciences to Present ImmunoINTEL™ Platform at Annual SITC Conference

Focuses On Enhancements to Company’s Immunotherapy Assay

Pierian Biosciences will present a poster with new data on ImmunoINTEL™, at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, took place November 7-11, 2018 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The poster, “ImmunoINTEL™, a flow cytometry based platform that identifies and quantifies the most critical cell subsets and related functional potential in dissociated solid tumors,” (Poster #114) will be presented in Hall E on Saturday, Nov. 10 from 12:20 – 1:50 p.m. and 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

“We are excited to present ImmunoINTEL™ at SITC and the opportunity to discuss with scientists the comprehensive, quantitative profiling of the tumor microenvironment and immune landscape,” says Norman Purvis, executive vice president of research and development for the company. “Our objective is to support biopharma, academic research and clinicians to better stratify patients and guide the selection of immunotherapies.”

 About Pierian Biosciences

Based in Franklin, Tenn., Pierian Biosciences is a privately held life sciences company offering the development and delivery of innovative, treatment-directing information, allowing providers to design patient-specific strategies that improve outcomes, quality of life and lower the cost of cancer care. The company’s technology includes the ChemoINTEL™, ImmunoINTEL™ and PathwayINTEL platforms. Pierian Biosciences has a laboratory in Franklin, Tenn. and business offices in Franklin, Tenn and the UK. For more information visit http://pierianbio.com/.

Pierian Biosciences News

August 29, 2017

Purvis Named to Executive Vice President Research and Development for Pierian Biosciences

Driving R&D Efforts Necessary to Gain FDA Approval of Cancer Treatment Assays

FRANKLIN, Tenn., August, 22, 2017 — Pierian Biosciences, the premier developer of life science technologies providing treatment directing data to aid physicians in selecting the most appropriate therapy for their patients with cancer, has named Norman Purvis, PhD, to a new position, executive vice president of research and development for the company.

“Norman has significant knowledge in the development of immunotherapy assays, which has been instrumental in the speed and precision of the development of the ImmunoINTEL™ platform,” says Robert Henry, president and chief executive officer of Pierian. “In addition, he has advanced the development of our ChemoINTEL™ platform in record time.”

ImmunoINTEL™ is Pierian Biosciences’ defined platform to provide more precise quantification and characterization of all tumor and immune populations within a tumor sample.  This platform holds the promise to deliver a more comprehensive description of the tumor microenvironment and immune landscape allowing physicians to better stratify patients and guide the selection of immunotherapies.  ChemoINTEL™ is the company’s chemosensitivity assay designed to accurately predict a patient’s response to chemotherapy. Pierian Biosciences is also developing PathwayINTEL detailing the functional biomarkers that predict the outcome of a targeted biologic therapy.

Purvis will lead all platform operations of the company’s R&D teams to improve existing IVD product lines as well as initiate new product development. Working directly with Dr. Mark Gelder, chief medical officer, Purvis and the clinical team are working toward achievement of Food and Drug Administration Premarket Approval applications of In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) products.

Prior to being named executive vice president of research and development, Purvis was responsible for two of the Pierian Bioscience platforms, ChemoINTEL™ and ImmunoINTEL™. Before joining the company, he was the vice president of core technology for IncellDx in Menlo Park, California. He holds a PhD in chemical engineering from Vanderbilt University, and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering, also from Vanderbilt.

Pierian Biosciences News

May 22, 2017

Functional Assays are Missing Link for Effective Immunotherapy and Chemotherapy Combinations

In late February, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) partnered with the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) to host the first ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium, held in Orlando. We learned about the leading clinical research regarding immunotherapy (IO) treatment and the gradual move from IO research to actual patient application.

Immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to help fight cancer. In the last five years, research has proven that manipulation of the immune system can control, or in some cases, completely eradicate tumors.[1] ASCO is in alignment with this new area of oncology, most recently illustrated by the success of their inaugural immunotherapy symposium.  As chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are used to aggressively destroy cancer cells and tumors, with IO, researchers are working to develop strategies to harness the body’s own immune system to combat cancer.  When the immune system is strengthened, risk on the patient’s long-term health is reduced in comparison to more aggressive cancer treatment approaches.[2]

When IO therapy is combined with traditional treatment approaches, the potential for positive outcomes accelerates substantially[3]. Researchers have been testing immunotherapy as one component in dual combination cancer treatment. At ASCO’s symposium, many presenters mentioned the theory of the “abscopal effect” (ab meaning “away from,” and scopus meaning “target”), a term coined in the 1950s to describe the phenomenon when treating metastatic cancer with radiation. The abscopal effect occurs when the localized treatment of a tumor causes not only a shrinking of the treated tumor, but also a shrinking of other tumors outside the scope of irradiated area.[4] A 2015 clinical trial, conducted by EB Golden and colleagues, demonstrated that abscopal responses were consistently detected in patients treated with the combination of radiation therapy and immunotherapy.[5] In practice, a breast cancer patient receiving IO combined with radiation has been shown to demonstrate a positive response on a spinal lesion or other location in addition to the irradiated tumor. Researchers theorize that radiation primes the immune system to recognize tumor-specific targets as those cells die, which is then translated into a systemic effect.[6]

A concept similar to the abscopal effect is also being researched when combining chemotherapy and immunotherapy. To change the tumor’s microenvironment, researchers are using doses of chemo to destroy cells that are blocking the immune system from functioning, instead of using the dosage required to kill cancer cells. This process converts the unresponsive cells to responsive, allowing immunotherapy to work effectively.[7]

But knowing how much chemo is enough to kill the cells blocking the immune system, yet not so strong that it wipes out the body’s defense mechanism, is always difficult to assess. Questions remain: If someone were able to determine the correct dosage, would that be the same for all patients? Which patients would respond better to a combination of immunotherapy plus chemotherapy as opposed to those who would fare better with one treatment or the other? When considering the strength of chemotherapy, oncologists have zero wiggle room to take chances.

At the symposium, industry leader Lisa Butterfield led a session on “Immune Biomarkers in the Blood” featuring research findings on immune biomarkers and their ability to offer insight into the interactions between the immune system and cancer. These interactions can help to define which immunotherapy should be selected to best defend the body using its immune system.

The current research focus is on finding markers that suggest a patient will respond to any immunotherapy (IO), rather than using the biomarker to determine which IO would work best for their specific tumor and cancer[8].

The more we know, the better the outcome. There is promise in functional assays to determine the best approach to cancer treatment, including one we’ve recently developed. Our latest assay, ImmunoINTEL™, identifies biomarkers in a tumor to allow oncologists to accurately personalize cancer treatment based on biology. The assay delivers the intelligence needed to determine which treatment or combinations of treatment will be most effective based on a patient’s actual tumor response in the lab, before introducing the treatment to the patient.

With assay results driving the treatment regimen, patients can be protected from the risk they would encounter if aggressive treatments had been executed prior to running the assay. A functional assay can more precisely predict a cancer treatment outcome, cut costs by eliminating ineffective treatments, and improve the quality of the selected treatment(s), resulting in a more effective and successful treatment experience from day one.

Mark Gelder, MD is Chief Medical Officer for Pierian. An experienced researcher and clinician, Dr. Gelder is board certified in Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is currently a fellow in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

[1] Ribas, A. N. Releasing the Brakes on Cancer Immunotherapy. Engl J Med. 2015; 373:1490-2. Retrieved from: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1510079

[2] Winslow, R. Cancer’s Super-Survivors/How the Promise of Immunotherapy Is Transforming Oncology. Wall Street Journal. Dec 4 2016.

[3] Disis, M.L. & Kaufman, H.L. Cancer Immunotherapy: The End of the Beginning or the Beginning of the End. Ummunsym.org Daily News, published February 17, 2017.

[4] Mole, R.H. Whole body irradiation; radiobiology or medicine? Br J Radiol 1953; 26:234-41. 10.1259/0007-1285-26-305-234

[5] Golden EB, Chhabra A, Chachoua A, et al. Local radiotherapy and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor to generate abscopal responses in patients with metastatic solid tumours: a proof-of-principle trial. Lancet Oncol 2015;16:795-803. 10.1016/S1470-2045(15)00054-6

[6] Carolson, R. H. (2016, June 27) Immunotherapy ‘Plus’: Adding Radiation and Chemo to Immune Therapies. Medscape Oncology [Online]. Retrieved from: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/865242

[7] Thaker, P. H. (2017, February). Phase I study of the safety and activity of formulated IL-12 plasmid administered intraperitoneally in combination with standard neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with newly diagnosed advanced stage ovarian cancer. Poster session presented at the ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium, Orlando, FL.  Retrieved from: http://meetinglibrary.asco.org/content/178595-194

[8] Nyberg, K. (2017, February 24). Leveraging Immune Biomarkers in the Blood to Guide Immunotherapy—Current Application and Future Prospects [Daily News]. Retrieved from http://immunosym.org/daily-news/leveraging-immune-biomarkers-blood-guide-immunotherapy-current-application-and-future

Pierian Biosciences News

April 18, 2017

Salerno Named to Pierian Biosciences Board of Directors

Former CEO of Susan G. Komen Brings Health Policy, Operational Expertise to Board Leadership

2NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 18, 2017 – Pierian Biosciences, the premier developer of life science technologies providing treatment-directing data to aid physicians in selecting the most appropriate therapy for their patients with cancer, has named Dr. Judith Salerno to its board of directors.

“Judy has been a steadfast leader in the development of health care policy and in the operational implementation of those strategies in many clinical institutions,” says Robert Henry, president and chief executive officer of Pierian Biosciences. “We are delighted she has agreed to join us as a member of our board.”

As president and CEO of Susan G. Komen, a $200 million breast cancer awareness and advocacy organization, Dr. Salerno developed and implemented a new strategic vision for Susan G. Komen. The “More Than Pink” campaign broadened the organization’s reach to include everyone impacted by the disease.

Prior to joining Susan G. Komen, she was the executive officer at the Institute of Medicine, where she directed all scientific, policy, and operational efforts. She has also served as the deputy director of the National Institute on Aging, responsible for oversight of their $1B budget on aging research, as well as chief geriatric policy consultant for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

A graduate of Harvard Medical School and Harvard University School of Public Health, Dr. Salerno is certified in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia.  She is the recipient of many awards, including the NIH Director’s Award, Department of Veterans Affairs Exemplary Service Award and its highest award, the Meritorious Service Award, and the Surgeon General’s Crisis Response Service Award.  She is currently active in Palliative Care and Health Policy issues through her work with the National Academy of Medicine, USC Schaeffer Center, and the Lancet Commission.

Pierian Biosciences News

February 7, 2017

Pierian Biosciences Names Mark S. Gelder, MD as Chief Medical Officer

Oncology Professor to Guide Clinical Studies

Pierian Biosciences, the premier developer of life science technologies providing treatment directing data to aid physicians in selecting the most appropriate therapy for their patients with cancer, has named Mark S. Gelder, MD, as chief medical officer.

“We rely on Mark to ensure the delivery of quality diagnostic assays: the immune-proximity assay, CEER®, recently renamed PathwayINTELTM, and our drug response profiling assay, MiCK®, recently renamed ChemoINTEL™TM,” says Robert Henry, president and chief executive officer of Pierian Biosciences. “We’ll also be looking for Mark to help us maintain our industry presence and guide the development of collaborative agreements with partners such as academic centers, pharmaceutical companies and oncologists.” In addition, Gelder provides medical, clinical and scientific oversight as well as helping to define the company’s strategic direction.

Dr. Gelder brings more than 25 years of oncology clinical trial and drug development experience to Pieiran. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology. As an experienced researcher and clinician, he has significant regulatory experience working closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and in various leadership roles at pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Wyeth, Bayer, GE Healthcare, Heron Therapeutics and Inovio Pharmaceuticals.

A graduate of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Gelder received his residency training in internal medicine at University of Virginia and an additional residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. While at UAB, Gelder also completed a fellowship in gynecologic oncology. He is currently a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Pierian’s PathwayINTEL is a functional proteomic profiling assay which provides quantitative information on the expression and activation status of proteins of interest to identify the true oncogenic “driver” and allow selection of the most appropriate targeted and/or biologic therapy for cancer patients. ChemoINTEL™, the company’s functional drug response profiling assay, provides actionable information to guide selection on the effectiveness of cytotoxic agents to enhance clinical treatment decision-making.

About Pierian Biosciences
Based in Franklin, Tenn., Pierian Biosciences is a privately held life sciences and clinical pathology laboratory company offering treatment-directing diagnostic data to support more effective and lower cost cancer treatment. The company’s technology includes the ChemoINTEL™ and the PathwayINTEL Assay platforms. The company has laboratories in Franklin, Tenn. and San Diego, CA.