Pharma Focus Asia

Precision for Medicine and Akoya Partner to Develop Advanced Liquid Biopsy and Tissue Biomarker Tests

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Akoya Biosciences, The Spatial Biology Company™ today announced a strategic alliance with Precision for Medicine (formerly ApoCell), a pioneer in customized biomarker solutions, to develop proprietary liquid biopsy and tissue biomarker tests using Akoya’s Vectra® Polaris™ System. By combining the Vectra Polaris system with Precision for Medicine’s ApoStream® technology, the collaboration is designed to advance immuno-oncology candidates in clinical trials using both tumor biopsies and liquid biopsies to generate data required for assessing drug efficacy and validation of companion diagnostics (CDx).

“We are very excited to be the first commercial laboratory to launch the Vectra Polaris system for image analysis of circulating tumor cells following ApoStream’s isolation and enrichment functionality,” said Darren Davis, PhD, Precision for Medicine Senior Vice President. “Together, these technologies will enable accelerated drug development through detection of biomarkers in liquid biopsies. These tools have enabled our scientists to better understand the biological correlation of circulating metastatic cancer cells with cancer cells present in the tumor tissue.”

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have long been known to exist in cancer patients’ blood. However, the promise of clinical application of CTCs as a liquid biopsy has not born fruit because these cells are difficult to detect using current molecular biology techniques. Precision for Medicine’s proprietary ApoStream technology captures significant quantities of rare circulating cancer cells from whole blood for characterization using Akoya’s Opal™ technology and Vectra Polaris imaging platform. ApoStream has been used in more than 80 clinical trials, including several ongoing phase III studies for CDx development.

Akoya’s Vectra Polaris Automated Quantitative Pathology System, part of the company’s Phenoptics 2.0 next-generation biomarker multiplexing platform, enables researchers to gain a deeper level of understanding of disease mechanisms related to new cancer immunotherapy approaches. The Vectra Polaris system integrates high throughput, seven-color multispectral imaging with whole-slide scanning in a simplified digital pathology workflow to support the quantification and analysis of tissue sections discernible with Opal detection kits. A recent meta-analysis of several studies showed that incorporating spatial information using Akoya’s multiplexed immunofluorescence technology is important for improving the predictive accuracy of immuno-oncology biomarkers.

The Phenoptics™ portfolio is capable of interrogating multiple protein markers on any tissue or cytology slide preparation. Precision for Medicine has validated several immune biomarker panels across various therapeutic applications using both types of preparation. These immune panels are currently being used to monitor immune cell infiltration including cancer, psoriasis, lupus and atomic dermatitis.

“The Vectra Polaris imaging system offers an innovative approach to assessing immunotherapy candidates in translational and clinical research,” said Dr. Cliff Hoyt, Akoya Vice President of Translational and Scientific Affairs. “We are pleased to see this technology paired with ApoStream for a comprehensive method of imaging CTCs and improving our understanding of disease mechanisms in cancer.”

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