Clara Biotech announces winners of the Inaugural “Future Exosome Leaders” Grant Competition

Lawrence, KS - July 1, 2020 - Clara Biotech, a pioneer in advanced exosome research, today announced the winners of the 2020 Clara Biotech “Future Exosome Leaders” Grant Competition.

The program is designed to support Future Exosome Leaders fundamental research by providing access to Clara Biotech’s proprietary Exosome Isolation Platform. This research has the potential to help patients worldwide, suffering from a range of diseases from animal to human health, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, skin cancer, diabetes, and metastatic cancer and more.

The innovative Grant Program will support advanced exosome research from top worldwide researchers, helping patients across the globe.

“Clara Biotech was founded with the intent of supporting and accelerating exosome research with the goal of accelerating paths to commercialization” said Jim West III, CEO and co-founder of the company. He continued that “Our company is committed to supporting the work of researchers and our industry partners around the world.”

Dr. Mei He, Chief Science Officer and co-founder along with Mr. West, shared that “our ultimate goal when awarding these grants is to understand how these researchers will move the exosome space forward - we launched this effort to find the best projects, and help them leap forward with the help of Clara Biotech’s incredible proprietary Exosome Isolation Platform.” Dr. He continued “We are excited to share that in support of these important research projects, all the awardees have a secured spot in the Clara Biotech Isolation Kit Early Access Program, ensuring priority access to our technology, which can be used in-house at their own facilities.”

The 2020 Clara Biotech Future Exosomes Leaders are:

Dr. Naoki Miura & Dr. Mahfuz Rahman (left); Dr. Laura Vella (center); and Dr. My Mahoney (right)


Dr. Naoki Miura - Kagoshima University (Kagoshima, Japan); Dr. Mahfuz Rahman - Kagoshima University (Kagoshima, Japan - Naoki Miura, who conducted his formative research at Cornell University and The University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center, is an associate clinical professor of Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Laboratory of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging of Faculty of Agriculture division in Kagoshima University, Japan. His research focuses on Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture.

Dr. Rahman, who completed his DVM at Bangladesh University and his PhD at Yamaguchi University, seeks to understand the complex diseases process across species and have an understanding in the field of comparative oncology, with a long-term goal to study the comparative aspect of diseases between dog and human and establish the therapeutic candidates that can cure both species.

Focus: Metastatic tumor cells derived exosomes have unique characteristics indicating cancer status and discovering specific therapeutic targets. It is hypothesized that exosomes derived from the melanoma cells of both species bear common tumor-specific cargos. The advanced exosome isolation technology supplied from Clara Biotech will help identify common melanoma exosomal RNAs and the metastatic condition-specific exosomal RNAs, which will enable identifying specific exosomal RNA biomarkers and therapeutic targets in treating skin cancer.

Project Title: Development exosome-based liquid biopsy for Alzheimer’s Disease


Dr. Laura Vella - The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health (Parkville, Victoria, AUS) - Dr. Vella is currently the Head of the Extracellular Vesicles Laboratory at The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health at The University of Melbourne, where she holds an Alzheimer’s Association Fellowship (U.S.A). Additionally, she serves as a Honorary Fellow for The Department of Surgery, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Focus: Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia and an expected 131.5 million people to be affected globally by 2050. It is known that AD has an extended preclinical window for early therapeutic intervention, before becoming untreatable. Identifying cognitively healthy individuals at risk of dementia is critical for developing effective treatments. Dr. Vella aims to use brain derived exosomes in blood as a source of biomarkers in AD. Isolating specific brain exosomes and studying their lipid content is a new avenue for liquid biopsy based AD early detection.


Project Title: Regulate biogenesis of exosomes for control of cellular microenvironment


Dr. Mahoney is a Professor and Vice Chair of Equal Opportunity and Workforce Diversity in the Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. She also has joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and is a member of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health (NCI-Designated). At Jefferson, she serves on the Admissions Committee for the Sidney Kimmel Medical School and recently completed her rotation on the Executive Committee for the College of Life Sciences.

At the national level, she mentors for the Philadelphia Chapters of the Association for Women in Science and serves on various review committees for the NIH. She has been a member of the Society for Investigative Dermatology since 1996 and has served the Society in many capacities, these include being an Associate Editor for the Journal of Investigative Dermatology as well as a member of the Scientific Program Committee.

Currently she is a member of the Committees on Education and Diversity and Inclusion. She recently joined AACR and ISEV. Dr. Mahoney has had over 20 years of independent, funded research studying the mechanisms that control skin homeostasis and regeneration during wound healing and carcinogenesis. The goal of her lab is to understand, at the molecular and cellular level, how signaling during normal tissue development is subverted during malignant transformation and disease progression.

Focus: Clara Biotech will help Dr. Mahoney to fully understand the mechanism of desmosomal cadherin desmoglein 2 in controlling the biogenesis of extracellular vesicles and exosomes, in turn, modifying vesicular mitogenic contents (e.g., microRNAs) to modulate the cellular microenvironment. The results of these studies have the potential to identify therapeutic markers and targets for pathological epithelial-derived conditions such as cancer.


About Clara Biotech

At Clara Biotech, our mission is to enable therapeutic and diagnostic discovery and support clinical applications by providing the tools researchers need to harness the full potential of exosomes.

Founded by scientists who have spent much of their professional careers contending with the trials and tribulations of exosome research, Clara Biotech’s firsthand experience has equipped us with a firm understanding of the challenges that need to be overcome to move the exosome and extracellular vesicle industry forward. Clara Biotech was established in 2018, and is based in Lawrence, KS.


If your organization is interested in being a part of the Exosome Isolation Kit Early Access Program, you can apply and secure your spot here.