Frontier Scientific has been around since 1975, when Bruce Burnham, Ph.D., started the company as Porphyrin Products. A porphyrin chemist at Utah State University, Dr. Burnham developed porphyrin-based products used in photodynamic therapies, diagnostic tests, and industrial and drug-delivery applications.
The company changed its name to Frontier Scientific in 1999, but retains the Porphyrin Products brand name. “It’s still a thriving part of Frontier Scientific and a premier porphyrin supplier in the world,” says Tim Miller, president and CEO.
In addition to porphyrin products, Frontier Scientific sells dendrimers, catalysts, ligands, and organic building blocks such as organoborons, organohalides, and organosilanes. Frontier Scientific has provided custom synthesis services in diverse fields of chemistry for more than 30 years.
The company’s analytical capabilities include NMR, GCMS, and LCMS, as well as equipment to support small- and large-scale syntheses and purifications of up to multikilogram quantities. Products are synthesized, characterized, and shipped quickly and efficiently, says Miller, who is also president and CEO of Echelon Biosciences, a sister company, formed to investigate lipid cell signaling and critical metabolic enzymes. The firm grew out of a project at the Center for Cell Signaling, a state-funded organization.
Echelon focuses on finding new viable targets for the development of potential drugs and diagnostics for cancer, diabetes, inflammation, infections, and cardiovascular disease. As CEO, Miller runs both companies as one organization, but they remain separate legal entities.
Researchers at Echelon Biosciences are developing preclinical assays and reagents clustered around human lipids that act as secondary messengers in signaling pathways. Several biomarkers and diagnostic tests are in the pipeline, such as a marker to confirm chronic alcohol abuse, and another for hyaluronic acid to detect late-stage liver disease.
They are also creating tests for diagnosing antiphospholipid syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that causes deep vein thrombosis and spontaneous abortions. Another assay will detect a drug candidate’s ability to induce phospholipidosis, a potential toxicity condition in some drug trials. “These types of tests capture more downstream market value,” says Miller.
Catalog items sold by Echelon include biological reagents and assays for PI-3 kinase, phosphoinositides, hyaluronic acid, isoprenoids, sphingolipids, lipid protein interaction tools, antibodies and recognition proteins, enzyme substrates, and inhibitors. Custom synthesis and complete assay services are available. Echelon Biosciences is expanding its product offering of biomarkers for drug discovery, companion diagnostics, and disease detection.