AACC Edwin F. Ullman Award for Technology Innovation
Dr. Daniel R. Henderson, holds a B.A. in Biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley (1970), and a Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine where he worked on the maturation of mRNA of SV40 infected cells (1975). While working with SV40 DNA and RNA, Dan developed competitive nucleic acid hybridization techniques, techniques used at Duke and analogous to competitive immunoassay techniques used later at Microgenics. At Duke University Medical Center Dan was a NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in molecular virology working on Reovirus and interferon with Dr. W.K. Joklik.
Shortly after leaving Duke, Dan founded Microgenics Corporation where he invented the CEDIATM immunoassay system used today in clinical laboratories throughout the world. This system is based on controlling the recombination of two enzymatically inactive fragments of b-galactosidase with an antigen/antibody reaction to form enzymatically active b-galactosidase. This allowed immunoassays to be automated on clinical chemistry analyzers designed to measure enzyme activity.
Following Microgenics Dan trained in Cancer as a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University Department of Surgery working with Dr. John Niederhuber. John went on to become Director of the NCI 2006-2010. Upon leaving Stanford, Dan founded Calydon, Inc. where he genetically engineered Adenovirus Type 5 (Ad5) to target prostate cancer. The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) enhancer (PSE) was cloned, reduced in size, and used to drive the Ad5 E1A and E1B genes. Using the PSE to drive E1A gave a virus that replicated preferentially on PSA expressing cells by a factor of 100:1. Driving both E1A and E1B yielded a virus that replicated preferentially on PSA expressing cells by a factor of 10,000:1. These attenuated viruses were shown to be synergistic with chemotherapy and radiation. CV706, a virus with the PSE driving the E1A gene went into the clinic at Johns Hopkins, U. of Wisconsin, UCSF and Stanford. For this work Dan was recognized as one of the two pioneers in the field of virotherapy (Scientific American, October 2003). Calydon was sold to Cell Genesys.
Dan joined Rotary International in 2005 and soon thereafter became President of Esperanza International, Inc. (EI). EI is an NGO operating in San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico where it builds 35-50 homes annually for the poor using a microbanking format. To build these homes EI annually supports mission trips for as many a 1600 people, predominately faith based youth volunteers, from throughout North America. Dan served as President of EI for six yearsDan also served as President of the Del Mar, CA, Rotary Club 2010-2011. These experiences moved Dan towards 3rd World Health Care needs and vaccines.
In 2006 Dr. Henderson co-founded PaxVax, a manufacturer and developer of vaccines for travelers to countries without adequate water sanitation (Typhoid, Cholera and Hepatitis A). At PaxVax, Dan initiated work to genetically engineer the military Adenovirus Type 4 and 7 oral vaccines as oral vaccines for influenza and Anthrax. During this time Dan became a Principal Investigator and consultant of the Wellcome Trust, London.
Following conversations with the Wellcome Trust during the Ebola Epidemic of 2014, Dan started a new company, Verndari, Inc. The company is focused on the development of a new generation of vaccines for 1st and 3rd World needs.