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NanoString on Target to Launch Digital Spatial Profiler at AACR, CEO Says at JP Morgan Conference

SAN FRANCISCO (GenomeWeb) - NanoString is on target to launch GeoMx, its Digital Spatial Profiler that analyzes proteins and RNA within their spatial context, at the American Association of Cancer Research meeting in March, CEO Brad Gray said during his presentation at the annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference held here.

The company installed its first beta system at a customer site near the end of 2018 and plans to complete installation for its eight beta customers during the first quarter 2019.

In addition, to spur interest, the firm launched an initiative last September where customers could pre-order the instrument and NanoString said it has received more than 30 pre-orders. It plans to begin its first commerical installations in Q3 2019.

GeoMx is a sample prep instrument that enables spatial analysis of proteins and/or RNA molecules. It uses slides stained with oligo barcodes to tag the various protein and RNA molecules. The slide is then imaged and the user selects regions of interest to analyze in greater depth. The oligo barcodes from the region of interest are then analyzed with NanoString's nCounter system or via next-generation sequencing. Gray said that NanoString would make the NGS readout available in early access in Q4 this year.

Last October, two groups from MD Anderson and the Netherlands Cancer Institute, who were part of NanoString's technology access program, published study data on the system in Nature Medicine. Both groups used it to evaluate biomarkers associated with immunotherapy response. In addition, researchers from Genentech published a technical assessment last December in the Journal of Pathology of the platform and how it stacks up against other multiplexed immunohistochemistry methods.

While spatial biology is still a new market, others have shown interest. Earlier this week, for instance, 10x Genomics said it plans to launch a product this year that will combine single-cell gene expression with spatial information. And, Fluidigim's Hyperion system pairs spatial information with mass spec.

Gray said that the GeoMx platform is significantly different from Hyperion and what 10x will offer, adding that they each serve slightly different purposes. Both 10x's technology and Hyperion "look at every single cell," but their disadvantage is throughput. The Hyperion can only analyze a couple samples per day, he said. The GeoMx platform can process 10 to 20 samples per day, which makes it amenable for use in clinical trials.

"There's room for all these instruments and they'll be used for different applications," he said.

The other technology NanoString has been developing over the last several years is a sequencing-by-hybridization technology it has dubbed Hyb & Seq. It is developing a system for targeted clinical sequencing applications focused in the infectious disease and oncology space. Gray said that the company would present customer data from samples that have been run internally at NanoString at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology meeting in February.

Earlier this week, Seattle-based NanoString pre-reported its Q4 and full year 2018 revenues. For Q4 it expects to report $30 million in revenues, topping the Wall Street consensus estimate of $28.6 million.