Hall of Fame

Arul Chinnaiyan

Arul Chinnaiyan

Co-founder, Compendia Bioscience
Professor of pathology and urology

Discovery: Dr. Chinnaiyan and his collaborators found that a specific gene fusion, called TMPRSS2-ETS, is a marker of prostate cancer. This allows for individualized, genetic testing and treatment of prostate cancer, and holds the promise of similar treatments for other forms of cancer.

Companies: Dr. Chinnaiyan and his former student Dr. Dan Rhodes established Compendia Bioscience, a compendium of genetic data from 62,000 cancer patients, in 2006. The data are used by the pharmaceutical industry to identify new gene targets for drug discovery and development. In October 2012, the company was acquired by Life Technologies.

Dr. Chinnaiyan also formed Armune Bioscience to develop and commercialize new diagnostic tests for prostate, lung and breast cancers. And in 2012 he joined with Shaumeng Wang, professor of medicine, pharmacology and medicinal chemistry, to found OncoFusion Therapeutics, a company that aims to develop personalized cancer therapies based on the specific driving genetic mutations in an individual’s tumor.

Development: In 2007, Compendia Biosciences and its clinical version Oncomine won a $2.4 million SBIR Fast Track Award from the National Cancer Institute. Compendia won another $1.75 million from Michigan’s 21st Century Jobs Fund in 2008. Another $1.3 million from the NCI Fast Track fund was awarded in 2010.

At U-M: Dr. Chinnaiyan directs the University of Michigan’s Center for Translational Pathology, and serves as S.P. Hicks Endowed Professor of Pathology and Professor of Urology at UMHS. He received his undergraduate, M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan. In April 2013, he received the Distinguished University Innovator Award.