NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – NetScientific announced on Wednesday research agreements with KU Leuven and an investment in the Belgian university's spinoff, DName-iT.
NetScientific and KU Leuven's research agreements are focused on the early detection of cancer and other illnesses, epigenomic analysis, and fiber optic diagnostics. The cancer research deal also covers the development of a multiplex protein diagnostics solution for detecting neurodegeneration and infectious diseases.
The primary focus, however, is on developing an early detection blood-based test for colorectal cancer. KU Leuven has patented a panel of 21 protein biomarkers that can differentiate healthy individuals from those with cancer in the earliest stages of disease, NetScientfic said. Longer term, the partners aim to fine tune the panel to about five proteins.
They also will collaborate on developing an enzymatic approach to DNA labeling for epigenomic analysis. KU Leuven has developed a solution using cofactor molecules that can be tailored to capture or label DNA. Additionally, the molecules are targeted to specific DNA motifs "with the supreme specificity of a selected enzyme," NetScientific said in a statement.
Lastly, NetScientific and KU Leuven have reached an agreement to develop fiber optic diagnostics leveraging KU Leuven's Fox Dx platform, a fiber optic surface plasmon resonance technology. Researchers can use the system to optimize their custom bioassays and develop a point-of-care diagnostic test, and the Fox Dx platform provides a flexible life science research tool for researching biomolecular kinetics in high-throughput analysis, NetScientific said.
"These later stage technologies in diagnostics and genomics have enormous potential and complement our existing biomarker-based diagnostics, which address the personalized medicine market," NetScientific CEO Farad Azima said.
The UK-based firm, which has an office in Harrison, NY, also announced it made an investment of an undisclosed amount into DName-iT, which is developing solutions to improve next-generation sequencing-based diagnostic tests.
DName-iT's core products will include the DName molecules, consumables, and software for applications in NGS, NetScientific said. DName-iT operates as a subsidiary of NetScientific.