Maple Grove's StemoniX pioneers new drug discovery
At Maple Grove's newest medical technology company, StemoniX, the art on the wall gets to the heart of the company's work.

"What we're seeing is a human mini brain here, the green are actually neurons, the red are astrocytes," said Ping Yeh, StemoniX CEO and co-founder, as he described a picture on the company's wall.

Using human skin or blood, StemoniX creates stem cells to test the effectiveness of potential drugs, drugs that one day could treat diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and schizophrenia.

"Our vision is to make medicines work the first time," said Yeh. "Our mission is to accelerate the discovery of new cures."

The recipient of the 2016 MN Cup grand prize, StemoniX opened its headquarters in Maple Grove this past summer, and they're positioned for growth. Since 2015, the company has grown from three employees to 33 in 2017.

StemoniX aims to test human reactions to drugs without having to test on humans or animals.

"You can either give a person medicine or you can do what we're doing right now, which is put [human] cells in a plate and then add that drug to the plate, and you get your response on a plate rather than in a human," said scientist Christopher Chapman.

StemoniX was born out of a personal experience Ping Yeh had in 2012 when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

"They had to give me a maximum potency of chemotherapy, and it was very risky to my heart," said Yeh. "It was only until I took those chemo compounds before they're like 'oh yeah, you survived the treatment too, by the way.'
And I was like maybe there's a better way to do this instead of risk people's lives."

Yeh's cancer is in remission, and now with a new headquarters in Maple Grove, StemoniX is at work to end some of the most world's most troublesome diseases.

Alexandra Renslo reporting
Twitter: @alexrenslo

October 9, 2017


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