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Vol 19, No. 06, June 2015   |   Issue PDF view/purchase
AYOXXA with A Clear Vision towards Ophthalmology
Dr. Marion Lammertz
Marketing Manager Communications
Global Commercial Operations, AYOXXA Biosystems GmbH
BioCampus Cologne, Nattermannallee 1
50829 Köln, Germany
Phone: +49 221 222 529 41
[email protected]

Collaboration with SERI to Validate Protein Multiplexing Platform in the Ophthalmic Domain

AYOXXA is a spin-off from the National University of Singapore (NUS) with operations in Cologne, Germany and Singapore. It has invented a unique bead-based protein multiplexing technology which yields about 10.000-fold more data-points than a standard ELISA. It allows simultaneous detection of multiple analytes in pg/mL concentrations, requiring very little sample volumes (3µL). Development of the system was spearheaded by Dr. Dieter Trau Associate Professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2010.

Finding an excellent network between institutions and companies to develop and commercialize its proprietary technology licensed from NUS, AYOXXA secured initial funding to start-up business. With a view to develop a unique and highly differentiated platform for protein analysis capable to detect multiple biomarkers for various diseases within a droplet of blood, Dr. Andreas Schmidt, CEO and co-founder, installed company headquarters in Cologne in 2012 to access European and global markets. In 2014 the company successfully expanded its round of institutional and private investors to close Series-B financing of 11.3 million EUR. This funding will allow AYOXXA to continue production ramp-up efforts and to speed-up global commercial activities.

Closing The Circle To Gain Speed For A Global Business Journey

Early in 2015, AYOXXA signed an agreement with the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI), one of the leading international eye research institutes. AYOXXA and SERI plan to work together on validating the company’s multiplexing technology platform for protein biomarker detection, as part of an expanded collaboration for developing ophthalmic diagnostic tools.

“We are pleased to start this collaboration with such a prestigious research institute like SERI,” said Michael Rasche, Corporate Vice President Global Commercial Operations of AYOXXA GmbH. “By gaining access to very low-volume samples from the eye we can prove the benefits of our new protein multiplex technology beyond the research segment in clinical settings. We want to closely work with SERI in the ophthalmology space and potentially use our technology as new diagnostic application in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).”

“SERI has had a long and broad history of working with large and mid-size pharmaceutical and ophthalmic companies, and we are now keen to expand our collaboration scope to working with promising start-up companies from around the world, be it biotech, diagnostics or device companies, with our goal of positioning Singapore as one of the world hubs for innovative technology development in ophthalmology,” said Prof. Tin Aung, Executive Director of SERI. ”The partnership with AYOXXA can potentially enable the co-development of a range of ophthalmic diagnostic tools, beginning with AMD. Having a validated diagnostic platform can potentially help better assess patients and more objectively steer their treatment. It can also potentially assist in the development of new treatments.”

“It is indeed heartening to see a technology that began its life within an NUS laboratory moving towards the clinic. AYOXXA’s steady developments demonstrate how NUS research has strong industry relevance and can potentially make a significant impact upon patient care around the world,” said Ms. Irene Cheong, Director NUS Industry Liaison Office, which is part of NUS Enterprise.

Research teams led by Dr. Dieter Trau, Associate Professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering of the National University of Singapore and Co-founder of AYOXXA, and Prof. Wong Tien Yin, one of world’s top eye researchers and Medical Director at the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), will work closely together during this pilot study.

Angiogenic Retinal Diseases And The SERI-AYOXXA Collaboration

Angiogenic retinal diseases (ARDs) including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are the leading causes of blindness in elderly patients worldwide. Inflammation (cytokines) and growth factors are known to play a significant role in pathogenesis. Sensitive and reliable biomarker assays allow diagnosis and therapy monitoring. Samples need to be taken directly from the vitreous and aqueous compartments of patients’ eyes. The limitations of currently used biomarker evaluation include the demand for relatively large sample volumes, which in some patients, may be difficult to obtain without having to undergo a vitrectomy during surgery. Additionally, established tests are also time-consuming and expensive. As part of this pilot study, cytokine and growth factor concentrations in vitreous and aqueous patient samples will be determined using the AYOXXA human cytokine bioassays and compared with standard methods. Furthermore, the AYOXXA protein multiplexing technology will be challenged for reliability using very small sample quantities. The technology might offer a fast, sensitive, reliable and economic testing system for AMD and other ophthalmic diseases, as well as to enable therapy monitoring for the benefit of both, patients and clinicians.

AYOXXA’s Technology Platform

AYOXXAs novel and innovative multiplex protein assay is based on antibody-coated microspheres on a planar surface (chip). The unique bead-based system yields about 10.000-fold more data-points than a standard ELISA. It allows simultaneous detection of multiple analytes in pg/mL concentrations, requiring very little sample volumes (3µL). AYOXXA offers a flexible plug-and-play format to adapt to different targets and sample throughput, without wasting or lacking capacity of the assay. Low sample requirements, tailor-made targeting within a range from low to high sample throughput, opens protein multiplexing possibilities to research areas where sample availability has been a limiting factor. AYOXXA biochips will innovate protein analysis in biomedical research, pharmacological screening and preclinical diagnostics.

About the Author

Dr. Marion Lammertz joined AYOXXAs Global Commercial Organization in June 2014 with a track record in Marketing Communications for research products and services targeting life science, pharma and chemical industries. Previously, Marion has been working for biotech start-ups to multinational companies where she was involved in running and establishing various operational Marketing functions as well as Sales Support. She holds a PhD in Biology and a certificate in Corporate Communications.

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