We find purpose in the work we do
Founded by Dave Colaizzi and Dr. David Peters, Signature Diagnostics was initially created to begin commercializing and advancing Peters’ research in genomics at Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI). At the time, Peters’ work centered around women’s reproductive health and developing safer ways to detect genetic conditions in pregnancies. This side of Peters’ research was brought on shortly after prenatal testing touched his life personally.
In 2001, Peters and his wife were expecting their first child. After meeting with their genetic counselor, they learned that the pregnancy was considered high-risk and were offered one of two diagnostic tests, known as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling.
These are invasive procedures that are performed to determine genetic information about the baby, and are used to identify the presence, for example, of Down Syndrome. Peters was astonished to learn that these procedures are associated with a significant risk of miscarriage, even when the pregnancy is otherwise entirely normal. This was particularly surprising given that this procedure was standard practice for prenatal testing in high-risk pregnancies.
After this experience, Peters pivoted his lab research and focused on the development of noninvasive risk-free alternatives to these invasive tests that can be performed using a maternal blood sample.
This method of prenatal testing uses maternal plasma to perform a liquid biopsy—a low-risk procedure that is less invasive than amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. Peters’ discovery revolutionized prenatal care, allowing expectant mothers a prenatal screening option that would determine the need for further diagnostic testing during pregnancy.
Peters continued to dedicate much of his time at MWRI researching other aspects of women’s reproductive health and eventually expanded into the organ health space, investigating ways to improve how we can detect complex diseases and conditions in low-risk ways. Detecting complex diseases early could allow for preventative health plans and more effective treatment options. Empowered by the concept of proactive healthcare and improved patient outcomes, this mindset became a key part of Signature’s company mission.
Upon their introduction through a mutual friend in 2019, Colaizzi learned about Peters’ background in genetics and his research on developing noninvasive methods to detect and analyze diseases. At the time, Colaizzi’s focus was on the field of pharmacogenetics (PGX) which included operating a testing lab called Genelex. After Genelex was acquired by a genetic company called Invitae, Colaizzi and Peters began collaborating on a business plan for commercializing Peters’ work.
During development in late 2019, Colaizzi was introduced to Dr. Tianjiao Chu, a biostatistician and close colleague of Peters, who soon became the Chief Analytical Officer of Signature. The three colleagues now make up the company’s leadership team, with Colaizzi serving as Chief Executive Officer and Peters as Chief Science Officer.
Colaizzi and Peters distinguished the company’s research from its daily lab operations by opening SDxLabs. The lab worked to obtain certification from the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) in March of 2021, and by July, the lab met all CLIA requirements to become operational. By implementing testing for COVID-19 as one of the lab’s offerings, SDxLabs was able to meet the increasing need for COVID tests in the community while establishing an infrastructure for the lab, both commercially and for research purposes.
While SDxLabs continues to offer testing for COVID-19, the heart of Signature exists through expanding the research of noninvasive technologies for the purpose of early disease detection. Led in science by Peters, Signature is actively involved in research surrounding early-stage detection of complex diseases using liquid biopsies, both relating to women’s reproductive health and organ health. In collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh and Magee-Womens Research Institute, Signature’s approach utilizes DNA sequencing to identify biomarkers which determine genetic signatures. With the introduction of noninvasive prenatal screening (NIPS) into the lab’s offerings, Signature remains committed to increasing the knowledge and understanding of complex diseases.
Our mission is to spearhead research in advanced diagnostics to develop novel methods for the early detection of complex human disease.
Our vision is to change the paradigm of healthcare intervention by enabling the early noninvasive detection of silently progressing disease.
We live and work by our core values
Integrity and Quality
We uphold the integrity and quality of our research so those we serve can put their trust in us to deliver novel methods for the early detection of complex human disease.
We are committed to our approach built around novel DNA methylation analysis to identify risk for the development of a specific disease very early, prior to the onset of symptoms.
Dedication and Impact
We are dedicated to our research to deliver impactful solutions using technology to improve and reshape the healthcare sector.
Our passion for proactive medicine and early intervention drives us to create new, noninvasive diagnostic tests that elevate patient comfort and lower their risk of complications during diagnostic procedures.
Our multi-disciplined team collaborates to provide a holistic, unique approach to developing solutions that will improve health outcomes for patients and providers.