Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

JAN15 2018

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) is the world's most widely read biotech publication. It provides the R&D community with critical information on the tools, technologies, and trends that drive the biotech industry.

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Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News | | JANUARY 15, 2018 | 9 Precision Health Summit (October 24 and 25, 2017). The summit brought together leading scientists in the fields of neurodegenerative disease, oncology, and infectious disease. "We're really excited about the coming ability to see CTE in living humans, by de- tecting the CCL11 and other brain health biomarkers. There's interest in our technol- ogy from the NFL, military veterans, and others concerned with head trauma and head health. The NIH presented new data indicat- ing that biomarkers in the blood can show whether individuals have suffered concus- sions." With those data, it may be possible to determine the severity of those injuries and project recovery times. "We're also very excited about MD An- derson Cancer Center's concept to team its new exosomal enrichment technology with Simoa to identify pancreatic cancer much earlier, potentially as early as stage two—be- fore metastasis—when surgical intervention has a greater chance of impacting survival [time]," he continues. Other projects are try- ing to identify lung cancer patients with PD- L1 over-expression. This could help identify positive responses among the 15% of the pa- tients given a checkpoint inhibitor who also did not exhibit PD-L1 overexpression in mi- croscopic analysis. "Investigators are also beginning to look at environmental factors like radiation from mammograms or CT scans. Today, reports say only 10% of CT scans for head trauma reveal positive lesions, but they emit an esti- mated 100 times more radiation than a chest X-ray," Hrusovsky says. "Digital biomarkers also may molecularize environmental factors to learn, for example, how sleep helps clear toxic biomarkers from the body or to under- stand the health impact of excessive sugar, growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides in the food chain." The ability to identify single proteins and DNA molecules in the blood—potentially do- ing with a blood test what once required a bi- opsy—seems unbelievable and sets Quanterix's technology apart, according to Hrusovsky. That strength is also its greatest weakness, conferring a "too good to be true" aura that gives some potential adopters and the scientif- ic world pause. The alternatives, however, are to wait for tumors to grow to sizes that can be detected by imaging or less-sensitive assays, or continue deploying more invasive method- ologies like biopsies. "Those options are ex- pensive and invasive, and may delay detection and early intervention," Hrusovsky says. To overcome that "too good to be true" perception, "We took an extra two years," he says, to develop the technology. That time enabled independent investigators to demon- strate the benefits of the technology and for their outcomes to be validated in respected, peer-reviewed journals. The NFL (and Soccer Moms) Have Hope In the near future, even the invasiveness of a blood draw may be eliminated. "Eventually, a blood test may be replaced by a fingerpick, and a fingerpick replaced by a saliva or urine test, using our technology," Hrusovsky says, citing a recent NIH study that detected biomarkers in saliva using Si- moa. In addition to continuing to advance its technology for research and diagnostic appli- cations, Quanterix's long-term plan calls for addressing consumer needs for testing at local pharmacies or at home. Someday, soccer moms may test their header-prone children with a simple saliva test to get the first early warnings of concus- sions or CTE. Corporate Profile Quanterix Location 113 Hartwell Avenue Lexington, MA 02421 Phone 617-301-9400 Website Principal Kevin Hrusovsky Executive Chairman and CEO Number of Employees 125 Focus Quanterix digitizes biomarker analysis to advance the science of precision health. Vital Signs

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