Molecular diagnostics firm Biocartis has secured a grant from the Flanders organisation for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, VLAIO, to develop its microsatellite instability (MSI) test for cancer detection.
The grant of approximately €750k will support the firm's MSI and mutational load research programme, as well as the development of a fully automated MSI test on its Idylla platform.
The test will be based on a set of MSI markers identified by VIB – KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology Professor Diether Lambrechts’ laboratory.
Biocartis chief executive officer Geert Maertens said: “With Idylla, MSI testing has the potential to open up to many more CRC patients with the aim to positively impact patient prognosis and patient management.
"Furthermore, this grant will also support the road to a highly innovative MSI test for cancer immunotherapy, which we know will be of great value for the pharmaceutical industry.
"We are very grateful for this VLAIO project grant and look forward to continue to collaborate with Professor Diether Lambrechts and his team.”
The new VIB MSI markers facilitate testing based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis and can be fully automated on Biocartis’ Idylla platform.
Being designed to operate on a single slice of FFPE tissue from human colorectal cancer (CRC) tissue, it is expected that the test will be validated as prognostic test for CRC and predictive test for cancer immunotherapies.
The firm is planning to launch Idylla MSI test next year.
Biocartis and VIB – KU Leuven Center plan to further evaluate MSI signatures in other cancers, the predictive nature of MSI markers for immunotherapy response and mutational load signatures associated with cancer immunotherapies.
Image: Biocartis Idylla MSI test. Photo: courtesy of Biocartis.