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SYN X Lures New Proteomics Pick

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Be careful whom you send out for customer service. Brad Thatcher, formerly at California-based Ciphergen Biosystems, placed an instrument at SYN X Pharma in Toronto a little more than a year ago. After continued work with the customer resulting in “very exciting data,” Thatcher finally went back to SYN X — and stayed.

“There was a lot of room for exploration and growth,” says SYN X’s new vice president of proteomics discovery. The company gave Thatcher the chance to “use all the proteomics knowledge I had, rather than just the small corner of it that Ciphergen concentrated on.”

Thatcher, a native Canadian who was lured to the US by higher salaries, got his start in the field about 11 years ago. “It was at that time called protein chemistry and done by people in basement labs,” he recalls.

Now, he focuses on Syndrome X, which includes symptoms of hypertension, renal failure, diabetes, and stroke, among others. “My job is to take apart sera and affected tissues and find out what is changing in them at the protein level, and what pathways are affected.”

The goal is to discover markers that differentiate the stages of a disease and enable better patient classification and treatment.

Meanwhile, Thatcher is accomplishing some personal goals. Three weeks after heading to Toronto, he found an apartment. “I have shelter now,” he says gleefully, “which is a big step from yesterday.”

— Meredith Salisbury

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