Accelerating development of cancer therapies with single-cell multi-omics

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

Mission Bio is looking to unravel the threads of cancer's complexity. Photo credit: GettyImages/Ponomariova_Maria
Mission Bio is looking to unravel the threads of cancer's complexity. Photo credit: GettyImages/Ponomariova_Maria

Related tags: Cancer, Dna, Protein, Cell

Mission Bio has launched a tool it claims will help save the industry billions of dollars in drug development costs and bring life-saving treatments to market at least six months faster.

Allowing researchers to do in days what traditionally takes weeks, the company said its Tapestri platform cuts the time needed to understand blood cancers by at least 50% as well as enable faster, more successful development of precision cancer therapies.

The single-cell multi-omics platform can detect DNA and protein simultaneously from the same cell. It is reportedly capable of analyzing genotype and phenotype changes simultaneously.

By combining two assays in a single platform, the technology is designed to provide insights into the mutations that drive disease during the response, relapse and remission phases of cancer.

Running a large-scale clinical study costs around US$40m, and the pharmaceutical industry is losing US$50bn a year on failed clinical trials and ineffective drugs. It is essential to identify precision biomarkers and characterize resistance mechanisms - both DNA mutations and protein expression - to minimize losses, maximize treatment efficacy, and accelerate time to market, argues the developer.

“With our technology, you can unlock the ground truth of cancer: our DNA-Protein kit offers, for the first time, the ability to understand the communication pathway all the way from the blueprint of life in the center of the cell - DNA - to the exterior of the cell via surface proteins, without inference or conjecture,”​ said Nigel Beard, Ph.D., chief technology officer and SVP of operations, Mission Bio. 

The platform has already been adopted by marquee cancer centers in the US including MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center, and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

The company said the Tapestri Platform’s DNA and protein capabilities have been validated in numerous peer-reviewed studies, including most recently in Nature Communications​.

Series C funding round

Spun out of the lab at UCSF and since led by a former Berkeley engineer, Mission Bio has caught the attention of strategic investors like Mayfield and Agilent, which see it as one to rival 10x Genomics.

A Series C funding round in August saw the company raise US$70m, bringing the San Francisco firm's total funding to more than US$120m since its foundation.

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