Mission Bio looks to accelerate solid tumor research

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/luismmolina
© GettyImages/luismmolina

Related tags: resistance, Cancer, solid tumor, assays

San Francisco, California-based Mission Bio is expanding its single-cell DNA toolset.

The company, which is focused on single-cell DNA and multi-omics analysis, is launching solid tumor assays through its Pharma Assay Development (PAD) services. These tools, it said, will help to accelerate the development of cancer therapeutics by reducing the time and cost associated with the characterization of solid tumor cells.

"We have seen tremendous uptake and interest from top-tier pharma companies for our blood cancer Pharma Assay Development program, and we expect the same momentum for our solid tumor services."

Todd Druley, chief medical officer, Mission Bio

Solid tumors can develop in many parts of the human body, represent around 90% of adult human cancers, and are incredibly challenging to treat. To accelerate therapeutics development, scientists need a higher-resolution understanding of how cancers recur and develop therapeutic resistance, said Mission Bio. Its new solid tumor assays are designed to address that.

The firm outlined how, leveraging its Tapestri platform, the PAD services for solid tumors provide high-resolution data to unmask the underlying genetic diversity across cell populations. Insights into the clonal landscape and co-occurrence of mutations enable improved patient stratification for clinical trials and the identification of druggable targets for precision therapeutics, said Mission Bio.

Researchers can also monitor treatment resistance by analyzing the acquisition of rare mutations driving tumor progression over the course of treatment.

This deeper and more comprehensive level of characterization of tumor cells elucidates changes in response to treatments, changes in tumor burden or environmental changes pivotal to understanding how the tumor is evolving.

Hannah Viernes, vice president, marketing, Mission Bio

Tumor evolution 

Using these assays, researchers can, in a single assay, measure SNVs, indels, and arm-level and gene-level copy number variations (CNVs), including loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at the single-cell level across up to 10,000 cells, said Viernes.

The assays unambiguously identify variant zygosity and mutational co-occurrence and detect rare cell populations, she told us.

And researchers using the assay service can reallocate the time and resources that would normally be dedicated to assay development or bioinformatics analysis to making decisions that will impact their clinical trials.

The expansion of Mission Bio’s PAD services comes just three months after the launch of the US firm's Tapestri Solution for Solid Tumor Research.

Understanding resistance mechanisms

From a sample perspective, the company said Tapestri can analyze the DNA of thousands of cells at a single-cell level. “Doing this manually takes many hours of skilled labor and is rife with the potential for missteps and human error, conflating the outcome.”

Cancer, said Mission Bio, is incredibly heterogeneous and develops resistance mechanisms for nearly all the drugs thrown at it. “Due to the sensitivity of the Tapestri [platform], we can detect ultra-rare populations that may be responsible for the growth of resistant clones, and are often missed by bulk sequencing methods. Any company, large and small, that is developing or has developed a cancer treatment, can leverage Tapestri to identify how that drug affects the DNA of the cell, how it can change over time, and how resistant clones evolve,” ​said Viernes.

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