Stella Sarraf
Women enabling science to reach the people who need it

Stella Sarraf

Stella Sarraf
CEO & Founder

Amydis Diagnostics, Inc.

JLABS @ San Diego

What is the problem you're trying to solve?

The hallmark of AD is the accumulation and deposition of amyloid plaques in the brain. Amyloid accumulation in neuronal tissue continues to be the leading biomarker of interest for early detection of cognitive disorders such as AD.Accrual of amyloid is believed to typically occur well before (up to 20 years) the appearance of clinical symptoms of cognitive impairment. While new clinical tools for diagnosis of AD are available, many significant challenges. The ability to identify amyloid deposits early in the disease progression may lead to disease diagnosis at an earlier stage than current cognitive and PET based methods, thus enabling therapeutic intervention at an early stage.

How is what you're doing different than other attempts to solve this problem?

Amydis is developing a non-invasive, more affordable, and more accessible solution for sensitive diagnostics specific for AD using an innovative ophthalmic approach that targets a well-known amyloid called amyloid beta (Aβ). A growing body of evidence has suggested that amyloid deposits, while normally found concentrated in specific areas of the brain for AD, also naturally accumulate in the eye. The Company’s compounds can be potentially utilized as a companion diagnostic to help physicians identify and select patients at risk for AD and provide them with the appropriate pharmaceutical algorithms.We view this diagnostic pathway as a gateway to the treatment to age related diseases before the onset of actual debilitating disease symptoms.

Why are you passionate about what you're working on?

AD is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and the only one of the top ten without a means to prevent, cure or slow its progression.In addition to the human suffering caused by the disease, AD is creating a significant strain on the health care system, families and the federal budget. Coupled with therapeutic innovations by pharmaceutical companies targeting earlier stages of treatment for AD, we see our companion diagnostic as a potential solution to the current need and focus on detecting earlier forms of the disease prior to cognitive decline. The power of knowing will enable patients and physicians to make the right decisions and change the lives of those who may be impacted by the disease.

What achievement are you most proud of?

The Company recently received a Phase 2 grant award by the National Institute of Aging (NIA), a center of the National Institute of Health (NIH). The grant award will fund continued research and development of a novel ophthalmic diagnostic probe for AD.Amydis was previously awarded a Phase 1 SBIR grant in 2015 and achieved all of their pre-defined research goals.Support and validation by NIH and strategic collaborators are major achievements to date in the company’s evolution.