BioScale, Mastering Acoustics for Molecular Detection, Gets Nod from Millennium Pharma

Xconomy Boston — 

Until recently, BioScale had operated out of the public eye for some eight years as it engineered a new way of measuring biological samples with sound wave technology. Now the Cambridge, MA-based startup has garnered some validation for its acoustic technology from a very visible player in biotech—Millennium, The Takeda Oncology Company.

Cambridge-based Millennium has used BioScale’s technology to measure cancer-related proteins for its drug research. While the results of the research have not been published, Millennium revealed in two posters at a recent science meeting that BioScale’s analyzers bested in a few ways the traditional Western blot method and Waltham, MA-based PerkinElmer’s (NYSE:PKI) AlphaScreen system in detecting specific proteins in tumor samples from cell cultures and mice. Millennium is the first group outside of BioScale to report such findings, says Mark Lundstrom, founder and chief executive of the startup.

The firm’s analyzers are designed to detect proteins in multiple types of samples, including blood, urine, and tissue, among others. In pharmaceutical research, measuring the presence of proteins in a sample can show whether a drug is hitting its molecular target. In diagnostics, the technology can be applied to tell whether a person has a virus or other molecular indicators of disease in their system.

The startup—which made its first public announcement last month about the closing of a $25 million Series C funding round—has made its technology available to Millennium and other top corporate and academic research groups as part of a beta release, Lundstrom says. The CEO says expects more studies involving the firm’s technology to be revealed in the coming months, though he wouldn’t say yet who else is using the technology.

At Millennium, researchers found that BioScale’s “Vibe” analyzers required fewer steps than a protein-measuring technique known as Western blot. Also, the acoustic analyzers provided measurements from complex tumor samples, which can often skew results when measured with optical systems. Millennium, which is a subsidiary of Japanese drug giant Takeda Pharmaceutical, tested the BioScale analyzers to measure two specific molecules: a DNA damage protein and a protein that helps tumors grow. In the DNA damage protein tests, Millennium found that BioScale’s results were devoid of the chemical and optical interferences it found in PerkinElmer’s optical system.

“When you look at the data that Millennium has put out, it basically concludes that … Next Page »

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