About Us

About Us 2017-12-19T10:42:34+00:00

Our Story

Like many stories, ours began with a problem. While working in pharmaceutical manufacturing, Eric Graban found himself driven to find better ways of measuring the integrity of protein structures. With patient safety at stake, he grew increasingly frustrated that existing technologies for day-to-day measurements of protein structure were limited, low resolution techniques such as FTIR or SEC. More discouraging was knowing that high resolution techniques available in the most advanced protein analytical laboratories could be a valuable tool for supporting day-to-day decisions; but the time, expense, and expertise required to obtain (or even access) the equipment or facilities needed for these techniques effectively put them out of reach.

Eric sought a way to bring a high-resolution capability to locations that did not have the time, budget, or resources to access the type of data provided by latest cutting edge technologies. He soon found the solution in research performed by Dr. Richard Vachet at UMass, Amherst. Dr. Vachet’s mass spectrometry-based covalent labeling technology provided the ideal combination of high resolution analysis of protein structure, while not requiring the highly specialized equipment or expertise needed for comparable technologies. A joint research program demonstrated the feasibility of the technology at detecting even subtle changes in protein structure and identifying the specific location of the changes in the structure.

QuarryBio has since expanded to include work with Dr. Robert Vaughan in the Biotechnology Program at Indiana University, as well as our own in-house mass spectrometrists, whose depth of expertise in mass spec data analysis has allowed us to develop a proprietary data analysis software program uniquely suited to this application. That work has demonstrated the effectiveness of epitope mapping and protein structure analysis across multiple applications for our biotech clients.

Our Team

Eric Graban

Founder and CEO

Eric Graban is founder and CEO of Quarry Bio LLC. Eric brings over 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical and specialty chemicals research and manufacturing, including Small-Molecule Scale Up and Manufacturing at Eli Lilly & Company, and Technical and Operations Management for Biologics and Small-Molecule Fill-Finish Operations at Baxter Pharmaceutical Solutions. While working in Pharma, he led diverse and cross-functional teams of scientists and engineers, both in early and late stages of drug development and in commercialization. He identified gaps in the existing technologies for protein structure and binding measurements, which enabled him to develop unique insights into the needs of early-stage biologic and drug discovery and development. Eric received his Sc.B. in Biology from Brown University and his M.S. in Organic Chemistry from Ohio University.

Dr. John Hale

Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Hale is currently the CSO of QuarryBio. He received his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Missouri, his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of South Carolina, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the biology department of the University of California at San Diego. He joined Hybritech Inc. as a research scientist, where he led research efforts on a number of monoclonal antibody diagnostic projects, and then worked on in vivo diagnostic and therapeutic applications of monoclonal antibodies in the antibody-engineering group,. Dr. Hale moved to the Biotechnology Research group at Lilly Research Laboratories with their acquisition of Hybritech, where he formed the proteomics group and directed multiple biomarker and target discovery programs. Since retiring from LRL, he has been a consultant in biotechnology. Dr. Hale is the author of more than 70 scientific publications and holds 7 patents in the area of protein biochemistry.

Dr. Richard Vachet

Chief Scientific Advisor

Richard is currently a Professor in the Chemistry Department at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. One of his research focuses is the development of new methods to study protein structures and interactions, with close to twenty publications describing covalent labeling of proteins and its applications. Richard received his B.S. in chemistry from the College of William and Mary, and his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Robert Vaughan

Director Of Research and Development

Robert is currently the Director of Graduate Studies for the Biotechnology Program at Indiana University. His research focuses on developing cell-based and analytical techniques for studying protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions. Robert received his B.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology from Texas A&M University, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Indiana University.

Akshada Abhyankar

Research Scientist

Akshada is currently a Research Scientist at QuarryBio LLC. Prior to that she worked at the Serum Institute of India in the toxoid purification department on characterizing B.Pertussis using multiple analytical techniques. Akshada received her B.S. in Biotechnology from Dr. D.Y. Patil University, India and received her M.S. in Biotechnology from Indiana University Bloomington.

Steve Johns

Business/Strategy Advisor

Steve is currently President and Founder of Confluence Pharmaceuticals LLC, a biopharmaceutical company developing a novel therapeutic medication to treat Fragile X Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Prior to this, Steve led a number of successful start-ups and early stage companies. Steve lends over 25 years of business experience in Strategic Planning, Building Management Teams, M&A and Capital Formation to the project. Steve received his B.S. from the University of Illinois, and his M.B.A. from Indiana University.

Dr. Brad Fravel

Intellectual Property/Business Advisor

Brad is currently the Executive Director of Corporate Relations for the Indiana University Foundation, a role focused on catalyzing fundraising for IU via corporate partnerships. Prior to this role, Brad served for 4 years as a Business Development Manager for the Indiana University Research & Technology Corporation, a role which focused on working with research faculty and local entrepreneurs to commercialize IU research. In this role, Brad managed an IP and license portfolio of over 100 technologies across multiple disciplines. Brad received his B.S in Chemistry from Southern Methodist University, his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Indiana University, and his M.B.A. from Butler University.

Brent Lieffers

Operations Advisor

Brent has 22 years of manufacturing experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Brent held numerous management roles at multiple sites around the world for Baxter Healthcare, including manager of biologics manufacturing, process engineering, technical services and director of manufacturing. Brent is currently the Sr. Director of Operations at BioConvergence LLC, located in Bloomington, Indiana. Brent received his B.S. in Business Management at Pepperdine University.