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IQuity is a life science technology company leveraging machine learning methods to deliver breakthrough RNA diagnostics and analytics. The company’s initial offerings include Isolate tests across neurology, gastroenterology and rheumatology that are based on proprietary algorithms capable of ruling in or ruling out specific autoimmune diseases. The accuracy of these methods at the earliest onset of symptoms exceeds 90% and offers providers the ability to shorten the diagnostic process for autoimmune disease and related conditions. Most autoimmune diseases take months to years to diagnose. IQuity’s technology, IQIsolate, analyzes RNA expression data from a blood sample to identify presence or absence of disease at the cellular level and deliver a result to providers in only 7 days. RNA expression is representative of the presence of disease in real time, whereas changes in DNA indicate potential risk of disease.
Early diagnosis and treatment lead to optimal patient outcomes by reducing long-term, irreparable damage to the body and lowering lifetime healthcare costs. IQuity is ﬁrmly committed to data transparency and scientiﬁc peer review and will perform its tests in its independent CLIA-certiﬁed lab.
IQuity’s mission is to relentlessly pursue innovation in specialized diagnostic and analytic technology to identify complicated autoimmune and autoimmune-related diseases at the earliest signs of disease.
- Enable providers to diagnose early and treat sooner in the disease progression
- Lower the overall cost of life-long autoimmune disease
- Minimize patient uncertainty and fear, which is often associated with traditional, protracted testing methodologies
Dr. Chase Spurlock
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Spurlock is committed to translating basic science discoveries into improved diagnostic strategies for patients with autoimmune conditions. As CEO of IQuity, he has day-to-day oversight of all aspects of the company ensuring the vision and mission is realized.
Dr. Spurlock’s published work explores the molecular basis for autoimmune disease and further examines therapeutic targets in the management of these diseases leveraging a diverse set of genomic and biochemical approaches including gene expression and next-generation sequencing technologies.
Dr. Spurlock is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The University of the South where he received his bachelor’s degree in biology, magna cum laude, with departmental honors. He earned his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine where he was awarded the Sidney P. Colowick award for outstanding research.
Chief Strategy Officer/Chief Financial Officer
Ms. Polk is responsible for ensuring the overall financial health of IQuity and overseeing the financial and operational activities of the organization while helping to guide company strategy and develop key partnerships. Her expertise in building companies and working with early stage entrepreneurs makes her uniquely suited to serve as in her role with IQuity.
Ms. Polk has been a Wall Street Investment banker, Venture Capitalist and Angel Investor. She previously served as CFO for two early stage companies that were simultaneously pioneering an industry and a new venture: Corporate Family Solutions (Bright Horizons) and Change Healthcare Corporation and have delivered substantial shareholder value through IPO and strategic sale.
With two exits, multiple senior management interim roles and angel investments, she’s facilitated the raising of over $30MM in venture and angel capital. Since June 2012, she has met, mentored and advised over 75 companies in healthcare services, life sciences and technology, consumer finance, consumer products, hardware/software technology and education technology.
Dr. Thomas M. Aune
Dr. Aune brings extensive industry, academic and research experience to the company. As co-founder, he and Dr. Spurlock work together to facilitate new research initiatives through developing grant proposals and engaging corporate research partners.
His current research focuses on the use of functional genomic and epigenetic approaches to understand gene regulation; these interests range from detailed mechanistic studies of the interferon-gamma gene, a key cytokine produced by cells of the innate and adaptive immune system required to induce cell-mediated inflammation to the use of these approaches to gain new insights into human disease, including efforts to develop new diagnostic tests for autoimmune diseases.
After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, Dr. Aune pursued postdoctoral training at Stanford and Washington University in St. Louis. He has served on the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine where he is currently a full professor. Dr. Aune also worked at Genentech and then at Bayer where he led the immunology division.
Vice President, Sales
Jarett Smith brings over 12 years of experience in pharmaceuticals, medical device, and diagnostic sales where he successfully launched new products and services.
Prior to joining IQuity, Mr. Smith served in a sales leadership role with Millennium Health, LLC and was instrumental in helping the company achieve prominence in the specialty lab industry. He was involved in recruiting, training, and developing top sales and service talent to achieve company goals. In addition to sales responsibilities, Mr. Smith served as Field Liaison for Clinical Affairs and Education Department.
As Vice President of Sales, Mr. Smith will craft IQuity’s sales strategy, as well as, recruit, train, and manage the company’s sales force.
Vice President, Marketing
Ms. Gill brings more than 35 years’ experience leading the development of marketing communications and business development strategies, both in corporate and agency settings.
Her diverse background has a singular focus: helping organizations successfully develop and implement integrated marketing programs to help clients achieve their corporate objectives. She has consistently applied this concentration to several industry sectors, but has developed a niche expertise in healthcare over the last 15 years. Most recently, she has developed a reputation for successfully launching and growing early stage ventures.
Key experience and notable clients include: HCA, American Healthcorp (now American Healthways), Cytometry Associates, Corporate Child Care (a division of Marriott Management Services) Health InfoTechnics (now iVantage Health Analytics), State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company, TherEX, Inc., FTI Healthcare, Dalcon, Stratasan, ICA, digiChart, and MMIS/MediSpend.
Ms. Gill earned a B.S. from the University of Tennessee and an MBA from Austin Peay State University. She has also won numerous awards for performance during her career, including a Diamond Award for Advertising Excellence and the Modern Healthcare Advertising Excellence Award.
Drew Harmata, PhD
Director of Operations
From experiences in the research laboratory and a biotechnology-focused small venture, Dr. Harmata is dedicated to the transition of diagnostic strategies from research concepts to commercialized CLIA-validated tests in order to improve early detection of autoimmune conditions in ailing patients.
Dr. Harmata is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he received his bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering, with distinguished honors. Additionally, he earned his Ph.D. in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering from Vanderbilt University and was awarded an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellowship.
Dr. Harmata’s published work focuses on the development of injectable, settable, synthetic bone cements to aid healing in bacterially contaminated bone fractures in weight-bearing anatomical locations.
Leslie J. Crofford, M.D.
Director Division of Rheumatology & Immunology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Dr. Crofford is a native of Nashville, TN and a graduate of Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee Center for the Health Sciences. She served her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Washington University’s Barnes Hospital. Following training in Internal Medicine, she pursed research and clinical fellowships in Molecular Genetics and Rheumatology at the National Institutes of Health. In 2013, she returned to Vanderbilt as Professor of Medicine and now has a joint appointment as Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology. She assumed to role of Division Chief of the Division of Rheumatology & Immunology in 2014 and was named Wilson Family Chair in Medicine in 2016.
Dr. Crofford’s research is focused on understanding inflammation, pain, and stress as mediators of rheumatic diseases. In addition to her work in arthritis, she is an international leader in fibromyalgia research. She has maintained active research support the National Institutes of Health, Rheumatology Research Foundation, Arthritis Foundation, and industry sources throughout her career. More than 250 journal articles and book chapters have been published as a result of her research.
Dr. Crofford is a past president of the American College of Rheumatology Research and Education Foundation (now Rheumatology Research Foundation) and the executive committee of the Board of Directors for the American College of Rheumatology. Dr. Crofford is active as a clinical Rheumatologist and has been named one of America’s Top Doctors and Best Doctors.
Nancy J. Olsen, M.D.
Chief of Rheumatology, Professor of Medicine at Penn State M.S. Hershey Medical Center
Dr. Olsen is a native of Chicago IL, received her undergraduate degree from Brown University and MS and MD degrees from the University of Chicago. She trained in Internal Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia and completed a fellowship in rheumatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, in Dallas TX. She was for many years a member of the rheumatology faculty at Vanderbilt, then moved to UT Southwestern as the McDermott Chair in Arthritis Research. Since 2010 she has held the Hallowell Chair and serves as Division Director in Rheumatology at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
Dr. Olsen has focused her research in autoimmune diseases, and has also had a major interest in interactions between the endocrine and immune systems. She is currently leading a multicenter NIH-funded trial that will determine whether treatment of individuals at high risk of developing lupus might slow accumulation of disease features. This strategy to intervene early in the process of developing disease has a long-term goal of developing approaches to prevention. Her research has been supported by the NIH, the Rheumatology Research Foundation, the Lupus Research Alliance and industry sources. She has published approximately 200 journal articles and book chapters.
Dr. Olsen has served on the American Board of Internal Medicine examining committee for Rheumatology and on the Arthritis Advisory Committee of the FDA. She has been a member and chair of numerous NIH study sections and other grant review committees. She maintains an active clinical practice in rheumatology, is Program Director for the rheumatology fellowship training program at Penn State and directs the medical student course in rheumatology.