RNS Number : 0995B
NetScientific PLC
31 March 2017
 

 

 

NetScientific plc

("NetScientific" or the "Company" or the "Group")

 

Vortex Biosciences Announces Publications Supportive of its Circulating Tumour Cell Technology

 

 

London, UK - March 31st 2017 - NetScientific plc (AIM:NSCI), the transatlantic healthcare IP commercialisation Group, announces that its portfolio company, Vortex Biosciences ("Vortex"), today announced the publication of two recent papers that further validate its circulating tumour cell (CTC) capture technology.

The papers, published on 23 March, 2017 in Nature Communications and at the forthcoming American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2017 (April 1-5 2017, Washington D.C.), add to a growing body of literature on the patented microfluidic technology, underscoring the role it can play in enhancing our understanding of cancer biology.

Data presented at AACR 2017 will demonstrate the ability of Vortex's technology to rapidly collect highly enriched populations of CTCs, undamaged by labels or reagents, for colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), breast cancer and drug testing research.

The separate study in Nature Communications describes the use of Vortex technology to capture CTCs in a preliminary step to performing a single-CTC Western blot analysis by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University. This combination of high CTC recovery using Vortex's VTX-1 system with a microfluidics single-cell proteomics analytical platform provided a unique targeted proteomics approach to understanding CTC cancer biology.

In February 2017 Vortex began the commercial launch of the VTX-1 Liquid Biopsy System, its fully automated benchtop system for collecting intact circulating tumour cells (CTCs) that are shed by tumours.

NetScientific's shareholding in Vortex is 95% and as of 31 December 2016, the Group has invested £13.1 million. Grant funding received to develop the underlying technology, prior to Vortex's formation, was £1.6 million.

Commenting on the news, François R. Martelet, Chief Executive Officer of NetScientific and Chairman of Vortex Biosciences, said: "We are proud to see Vortex progress its VTX-1 system to demonstrate its simplicity and performance representing the next step in CTC isolation, whilst enabling cancer researchers to directly access the cancer biology of the patient. We believe that CTC technology will increasingly feature in ground-breaking work to enhance our understanding of cancer.

 

"As Vortex moves into a commercial phase, we are confident that these supportive studies, out of some of the world's most prestigious research institutions, will support a broader take-up of this technology."

 

The full texts of the announcements are below:

 

Vortex Biosciences Announces Publication in Nature Communications Describing the First Single Cell Western Blot for Circulating Tumor Cells

 

CTC Single Cell Western Blots Offer a New Approach to Characterize the Heterogeneity of a Patient's Cancer

MENLO PARK, CA, March 23rd - Vortex Biosciences, provider of circulating tumor cell (CTC) capture systems, today announced the publication of "Profiling protein expression in circulating tumor cells using microfluidic western blotting" in Nature Communications on March 23rd.  The peer reviewed publication describes the use of Vortex technology to capture CTCs and a microfluidic single-CTC resolution Western blot from Dr. Amy Herr's team at the University of California, Berkeley to measure an 8-plex panel of cell surface and intracellular signaling proteins. Research conducted for this publication by Dr. Herr's lab, in collaboration with Dr. Stefanie Jeffrey's lab at Stanford University, was funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH). Targeted proteomics with single-CTC resolution offers a unique analytical approach to understanding CTC biology.

 

CTC protein analyses primarily focus on surface and secreted proteins. While both proteomic factors are important, the capability to multiplex and assay a wide-range of protein targets (including intracellular signaling pathways) has been limited. In this paper, CTCs were first enriched using the Vortex system prior to introduction into a microfluidic single-CTC Western blot. The microfluidic design minimizes protein dilution and losses during targeted proteomics of single-CTCs for surface markers (EpCAM, CD45), oncoproteins (ER), oncogene signaling (ERK, eIF4E), cytokeratin (panCK), and housekeeping proteins (GAPDH, β-Tubulin).

"We continue to work with great partners like Dr. Amy Herr at the University of California, Berkeley and Dr. Stefanie Jeffrey at Stanford University to try to find new ways to interrogate cancer biology," said Gene Walther, Chief Executive Officer of Vortex Biosciences. "Combining the high CTC recovery of the next generation Vortex technology with a single cell proteomics analytical platform provides a cutting edge approach for expanding our understanding of cancer biology."

The Vortex system utilizes a proprietary microfluidic chip to stably trap and capture CTCs in micro-scale vortices based on their larger size and greater deformability than the white and red blood cells. This unique approach to CTC isolation does not damage the proteins and results in CTCs that are high in purity making the Western blot assay workflow simple. Furthermore, CTCs are captured and collected unbiased by their molecular characteristics. Using this new approach, ER+ breast cancer patient-derived CTC analysis by Western blot reveals lower EpCAM and ER protein expression level variation than observed in an ER+ cell line. In the patient samples interrogated in this paper, both EpCAM-positive and EpCAM-negative CTCs were identified in a single patient sample. This new CTC single cell Western blot method established a capacity for retrospective, multiplexed CTC protein analyses.

The fully automated VTX-1 Liquid Biopsy System from Vortex represents the next step in CTC isolation. With a cancer cell recovery of 65-75%, best in class CTC purity, and collected CTCs being intact, viable, and ready for downstream analysis, the VTX-1 offers the best CTC samples available today.

 

Vortex Biosciences Presents Studies at AACR That Demonstrate Use of the VTX-1 System for Isolating and Analyzing Circulating Tumor Cells for Cancer Research

 

In Collaboration with Stanford University School of Medicine and UCLA, Studies Demonstrate Use of Circulating Tumor Cells in Colorectal, Non-Small Cell Lung and Breast Cancer Research

MENLO PARK, CA, March 31 - Vortex Biosciences, provider of circulating tumor cell (CTC) capture systems, will present four posters at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2017 (April 1-5, Washington D.C.). Data presented at AACR demonstrate the ability of Vortex's technology to rapidly collect highly enriched populations of CTCs, undamaged by labels or reagents, for colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and breast cancer research.

 

CTCs, shed by tumors, offer direct access to the intact cancer biology of the patient. The fully automated, easy to use VTX-1 Liquid Biopsy System from Vortex represents the next step in CTC isolation. Inside the VTX-1 chip, unlabeled CTCs in whole blood are selectively trapped in microscale vortices while smaller, less deformable red and white blood cells pass through. Afterwards, CTCs can be released and collected into a variety of containers for downstream analysis. With excellent cell capture efficiency, high flexibility, a low cost per run and a simple, easy to use workflow, the VTX-1 empowers researchers to unleash the potential of CTCs.

 

"The VTX-1 represents the next step in CTC isolation," explained Vortex CEO Gene Walther. "The simplicity and performance of the system enables cancer researchers to directly access the cancer biology of the patient, opening doors for a greater understanding of cancer."

Studies at AACR

In a first study, Genomic profiling of Vortex-enriched CTCs using whole genome amplification and multiplex PCR based targeted next generation sequencing (poster #1724, to be presented 8 a.m.-12 p.m., Monday April 3rd), Vortex developed and characterized a simple and efficient NGS workflow for CTC samples collected by Vortex technology. This workflow was then validated for the mutation profiling of colorectal cancer patient CTCs. For each patient, variants in CTCs and germline WBCs were analyzed from one blood sample using an optimized targeted NGS workflow and compared to liver metastases.

A second study, Establishing the use of Vortex technology for investigating circulating tumor cells in mouse models of breast cancer. (poster #2822, to be presented 1 p.m.-5 p.m., Monday April 3rd) describes how the VTX-1 platform was adapted and optimized for enriching and characterizing murine and human tumor cells from mouse blood with a high level of capture efficiency. Invasion and clonogenic assays also confirmed the viability and growth rate of cancer cells isolated from mouse blood for future biologic and drug testing studies.

In a third study, Evaluating the metastatic potential and the molecular heterogeneity of patient-derived orthotopic xenograft (PDOX) models of triple-negative breast cancer (poster #1847, to be presented 8 a.m.-12 p.m., Monday April 3rd) researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine used Vortex's technology to isolate CTCs from more than 48 different breast cancer derived PDOX models. Different models demonstrated different levels of aggressiveness, represented both by the number of CTCs isolated and the number of micro-mets found in the liver and lung.

In a fourth study, EGFR mutational detection in ctDNA, Vortex-enriched CTCs and comparison to tumor tissue in non-small-cell-lung-cancer (NSCLC) patients (poster #1715, to be presented 8 a.m.-12 p.m., Monday April 3rd), utilizing an off-the-shelf qPCR assay for EGFR mutation profiling was tested for VTX-1 isolated CTCs and cfDNA from the same tube of blood. 

"These studies illustrate the potential of Vortex's microfluidic technology and the automated VTX-1 to empower researchers to take the next step in understanding cancer biology," explained Chief Scientific Officer Elodie Sollier-Christen.

 

About Vortex Biosciences

Vortex Biosciences is a cancer research and diagnostics company that integrates cancer biology, microfluidic engineering and informatics to develop tools for isolating and characterizing circulating tumor cells. The Vortex VTX-1 instrument harvests intact circulating tumor cells from whole blood samples for use in downstream research and clinical applications such as patient stratification in clinical trials, monitoring disease progression and drug treatment effectiveness. With a mission to enable noninvasive diagnosis of cancer and real-time monitoring throughout a patient's treatment, Vortex is at the forefront of accelerating cancer research and improving patient outcomes. Vortex is a core subsidiary of NetScientific plc, a transatlantic healthcare technology group with an investment strategy focused on sourcing, funding and commercializing technologies that significantly improve the health and well-being of people with chronic diseases. For more information, visit www.vortexbiosciences.com.

 

 

For more information, please contact:

 

  NetScientific

  François R. Martelet, M.D., CEO

  Ian Postlethwaite, CFO

Tel: +44 (0)20 3514 1800

 

  Consilium Strategic Communications

  Mary-Jane Elliott Jessica Hodgson /

  Chris Welsh / Laura Thornton  

 

 

Tel: +44 (0)20 3709 5700

netscientific@consilium-comms.com

Stifel Nicolaus Europe Limited (NOMAD and Broker)

Jonathan Senior / David Arch / Ben Maddison

 Tel: +44 (0) 20 7710 7600

 

 

About NetScientific

 

NetScientific is a transatlantic healthcare technology group with an investment strategy focused on sourcing, funding and commercialising technologies that significantly improve the health and well-being of people with chronic diseases.For more information, please visit the website at www.netscientific.net

 


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