Range Biotechnologies: Developing Translational Proteomics For The Next Human Health Stage

By Amit Chowdhry • Aug 11, 2023

Range Biotechnologies is a company developing translational proteomics (proteins) for the next stage of human health. Pulse 2.0 interviewed Range Biotechnologies co-founder and CEO Brandon Wilson, Ph.D., to learn more.

Background Of Brandon Wilson, Ph.D.

Brandon Wilson

Dr. Wilson met his co-founders, Dr. Nicolo Maganzini and Professor Tom Soh while pursuing a PhD in Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. Dr. Wilson said:

“We’ve worked together for over eight years now to create novel technologies for quantifying human physiology. We were driven to start the company by the collective realization that without entrepreneurship, our technologies would remain in the confines of academia and never reach the people they were originally intended to help.”

“The diverse set of technical expertise on our founding team–including molecular biology, chemistry, computer science, material science, electrical engineering, and more, has positioned us well to tackle the interdisciplinary challenges in the field.”

Translational Proteomics

What Is “translational proteomics?” Dr. Wilson replied:

“We make a distinction between two types of proteomics technologies: discovery and translation. Discovery takes place when a technology is used to identify a protein (or a panel of proteins) of clinical interest by screening thousands of candidate proteins in small cohorts of paired samples, usually disease vs. healthy control. The technology identifies which protein levels are increased or decreased in response to a disease. Scores of academic papers are published every year detailing new biomarker panels and deepening our understanding of the human proteome.”

“However, for these discoveries to benefit patients or biotech companies, they must undergo clinical translation, which involves validation in much larger and diverse cohorts, and they eventually need to be deployed as a test that can be operated at scale. Translational proteomics refers to molecular measurement tools specifically conceived for these purposes. We believe that existing technologies for translation are preventing proteomic discoveries from benefiting patients and the broader biotech industry.”

Importance Of Proteomics

Why is proteomics such an important area for the future of health? Dr. Wilson answered:

“While the genome has long been regarded as a vital source of information, it has limitations in providing real-time insights into health conditions. It’s like how a blueprint of a house can highlight potential structural defects, but it’s unable to detect an ongoing fire or a burst pipe. This is where proteins come into play. Proteins act as dynamic indicators that can track health, monitor disease progression, and assess therapeutic response.”

“Proteomics (as well as the other ‘omics,’ metabolomics, transcriptomics, lipidomics, etc., and even liquid biopsies/cfDNA) are crucial to unlocking a complete understanding of human health. Range Bio is starting with proteomics because proteomics currently has the biggest gap between capacity and demand. But proteomics is just the beginning of this broader quest to quantify physiology; I believe the future of health will require an integration of multiple ‘omics.”

Formation Of Range Biotechnologies

How did the idea for Range Biotechnologies come together? Dr. Wilson shared:

“The concept that ultimately led to Range was an analogy originally popularized by the late Professor Sam Gambhir and later reinforced by my PhD advisor Professor Tom Soh: we have sensors monitoring our cars, planes, and devices 24/7. But at any given time, we know shockingly little about the most important machine, the human body. We also realized that the way we approach diagnostics today is somewhat broken. When you get a molecular measurement taken today, it is compared to a statistical representation of a population. But biology is highly variable. What is normal for you might not be normal for me. So the idea of longitudinal tracking of human health aims to compare self-to-self rather than self-to-population. Range was born out of breaking down the technical barriers that prevent this from being implemented in practice.”

Favorite Memory

What has been Dr. Wilson’s favorite memory working for Range Biotechnologies so far? Dr. Wilson reflected:

“My favorite memories so far have been all the moments our team spends at the whiteboard together, where the next idea could be agame changer for an entire industry. There aren’t many opportunities in life to see true, unbridled creativity manifest itself in a technology that could improve the lives of so many.”

Challenges Faced

What are some of the challenges Dr. Wilson faced in building the company and has the current macroeconomic climate affected the company? Dr. Wilson acknowledged:

“Hiring is always one of the biggest challenges faced by any company. But it’s especially challenging when you are building something that is so fundamentally new that, by sheer definition, there is no single person with experience doing what you are doing. It was challenging for us to adapt our hiring process accordingly and figure out how to evaluate candidates primarily on non-technical attributes, such as creativity and determination.”

“Macroeconomically, in some ways, we were lucky that Range Bio was born during the economic downturn. From day one, we knew that capital would be harder to come by relative to previous years. Knowing this, we never over-hired, so we won’t be forced to do the mass layoffs that have unfortunately affected so many others. The shifting markets led us to be ultra-selective and cautious in the hiring process, as well as more fiscally conservative in general. Even though the downturn has made the fundraising process significantly more challenging, I believe Range Bio will be better off because of it in the long run. Thanks to this recent funding round, we are in a good position to ride out any future uncertainties in the markets.”

Significant Milestones

What have been some of Range Biotechnologies’ most significant milestones? Dr. Wilson highlighted:

“Receiving our seed funding is a huge milestone, as it will enable us to continue our vision and accelerate our pace of technical development. We’ve hit many other milestones that we aren’t ready to share today, but stay tuned for future announcements.”

Differentiation From The Competition

What differentiates Range Biotechnologies from its competition? Dr. Wilson revealed:

“It’s too early for us to share the details behind our products and potential competitors, but we can say that our work stands to have a significant impact on healthcare by enabling a uniquely comprehensive view of an individual’s health and allowing for personalized options for treatments and diagnostics.”

Future Company Goals

What are some of Range Biotechnologies’ future company goals? Dr. Wilson concluded:

“Range Bio’s mission is to be a leader in translational proteomics, helping to enable a new paradigm in health screening, disease prevention, and personalized treatments. This funding will be dedicated to making translational proteomics just as, if not more, accessible than the genome.”