Article By Nicole Radzievich Mertz, originally posted at lehighvalley.org
Dr. Salvatore Salamone, founder of Saladax Biomedical in Bethlehem, Pa., was recently honored for his work in the field of life sciences at a ceremony in Rome, Italy.
The C.E. Pippenger Award was presented by the International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology (IATDMCT). The award recognizes Dr. Salamone’s outstanding work in Chemotherapy Drug Monitoring.
Chemotherapy treatments can cause severe toxicities when too much drug is administered, but it can be ineffective if too little is given.
Therapeutic Drug Monitoring (TDM) allows patients to receive the proper dose of chemotherapy to achieve maximum results with minimum toxic side effects, he said.
During his acceptance speech in Rome, Dr. Salamone said he and other investigators have published studies over the last 17 years that demonstrate TDM of oncology drugs would have “significant clinical benefit in lowering toxicity while, in many cases, improving efficacy.”
Dr. Salamone suggests that oncologists have been slow to adopt the use of drug level monitoring with cancer patients, but he promises to continue educating them to make TDM the standard of care in oncology. Salamone said he began his work in TDM of anticancer drugs after witnessing many severe adverse reactions caused by toxicity during chemotherapy treatment.
“Receiving this award is an honor, but this is clearly not the end of my work, he said. “It is merely the beginning. This award encourages me to continue my work in oncology TDM, and expand my research to other disease processes.
Dr. Salamone’s research illustrates the breadth of innovative work currently being undertaken by Lehigh Valley entrepreneurs and companies in the life sciences sector and underscores why the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) is targeting the life sciences sector for business attraction and growth in the Lehigh Valley.
Dr. Salamone said he draws inspiration from the work of the late Dr. Pippenger, a pioneer in the field of drug therapy. He was a clinical neuropharmacologist, renowned for his work in the treatment of epilepsy. He founded the discipline of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring in the 1970s and was “a forerunner of individualized medicine.”
“Dr. Pippenger was talking about individualized medicine 40 years ago, long before anyone else was talking about it,” Salamone said. “He is a motivating example of how one person can make a difference in the global field of science and medicine.”
Dr. Pippenger had personally recommended Salamone for the award, and it’s the first time that IATDMCT has presented this award to someone in industry and outside of academic research. The award, which is given every two years, was established in 1993.
Dr. Salamone was inducted into the New Jersey’s Inventors Hall of Fame in 2016 and holds more than 40 U.S. patents and over 100 foreign patents, which paved the way for products launched by both Saladax and Roche Diagnostics.
At Roche Diagnostics, Dr. Salamone started as a Senior Scientist, rose through the organization and was eventually promoted to Vice President of Research and Product Development. He came to Bethlehem in 2001 when he was hired as Senior Vice President of Research and Development at OraSure Technologies, a Lehigh Valley-grown business known for its rapid diagnostic testing, including a home COVID test.
Inspired by the success of OraSure, he established Saladax Biomedical with the help of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the same organization that helped launch OraSure.
Saladax Biomedical, established in 2004, is private company that develops, manufactures and markets assays that provide rapid therapeutic drug levels for essential and life-saving medicines prescribed by psychiatrists and oncologists. It has created a proprietary technology that has been used in clinical laboratories and point-of-care settings throughout the world since 2007. The company also collaborates with leading pharmaceutical companies to develop tests for clinical trials and companion diagnostics. It employs 22 people.
The company sells its products in Europe, China, and the United States. Saladax recently received FDA approval for a rapid blood test that measures clozapine levels in psychiatric patients. It’s the only commercial test available in the United States for monitoring clozapine levels, according to Saladax. Salamone said three of the top psychiatric hospitals in the United States are now using the test.
Saladax is an anchor tenant at Ben Franklin’s TechVentures on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop campus. Saladax is one of more two dozen life sciences companies that Ben Franklin has invested in or supported in the Lehigh Valley. Ben Franklin TechVentures has established a Life Sciences Technology Network.