Spatial biology specialist Lunaphore (Tolochenaz, Switzerland) recently announced a collaboration with the pathology department at Massachusetts General Hospital to develop an in vitro diagnostic (IVD) that assesses the sensitivity of solid tumors to poly-ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors.
“Lunaphore is based on a technology that I developed for my Ph.D. at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne,” said Ata Tuna Ciftlik, the company’s CEO. When earning his doctorate in biomedical microsystems from 2008 to 2013, there was “no talk of spatial biology,” he added. “The goal was to extract spatial multiomic data from tumors.”
Inspired by next-generation sequencing (NGS), which combines microfluidics and optics, Lunaphore created a chip technology to extract spatial proteomic and genomic data from tumors while transforming simple assays into multiplex spatial biology.
“Our goal is to disrupt the market by eliminating what we call ‘barcoding technologies,'” Ciftlik said.
Many other technologies in the spatial biology market rely on some type of barcoding related to primary antibodies to be conjugated to heavy metals or need detection with fluorescent spectrum markers.
The barcoding leads to unnecessary complexity, Ciftlik said. And as a result, workflows relying on such processes can take roughly six to nine months to optimize an assay.
“While there’s a lot of demand for spatial biology, this [complexity] has slowed its adoption,” Ciftlik said.
The company’s Comet PA hyper-plexing platform for spatial biology supports multiplex analysis of up to 40 different spatial markers on a single slide. In addition, the COMET supports sequential indirect immunofluorescence to enable multiplexed protein detection in four samples in parallel.
The company has already introduced LabSat, an automated tissue staining platform.
The Comet PA device is now available as part of the company’s priority access program.
Ciftlik noted that the pandemic has helped attract a diverse customer base. “Spatial biology was practically invented for immuno-oncology,” he said. But after the pandemic began, a growing number of immunology researchers began to use spatial biology tools.
“We have seen a lot of COVID researchers and vaccine developers interested in spatial biology,” Ciftlik said.
Traditionally, immuno-oncology had been a central research focus for mRNA vaccine development, but now, mRNA-based vaccine development has emerged as a primary focus for a growing number of researchers. “It’s helped create a new market that we didn’t see before,” Ciftlik said.
Also dovetailing with this trend, a growing number of neuropathology researchers have also become interested in spatial biology. “In terms of a vertical, it was very small a few years ago, but now it’s becoming a primary market segment.”
Filed Under: Biospecimens, Oncology