BOSTON—Invicro LLC (which is a Konica Minolta company) announced March 9 that it had entered into a strategic research partnership with leading pathologist Dr. David Rimm to advance the development of Quanticell, Konica Minolta’s propriety tissue biomarker detection technology.
“With his unmatched knowledge and experience in anatomical pathology, product commercialization and late-stage clinical trials, Dr. Rimm is a leading pioneer in the quantitative pathology space,” said Dr. Ken Bloom, chief medical officer for Advance Pathology Solutions for Invicro. “We could not be happier to have him as a scientific research partner. I am highly confident that his efforts will support the advancement of Quanticell for specific drug development initiatives.”
Invicro, for its part, is a global provider of imaging biomarkers, core lab services, CAP-CLIA pathology services, advanced analytics and software solutions for drug discovery and development. Meanwhile, Rimm is a professor of pathology and medicine, the director of pathology tissue services and the director of translational pathology at Yale University.
As stated by Invicro, “Quanticell is an ultra-sensitive, quantitative, amplification-free technology that detects proteins at the cellular and subcellular level using photostable, highly bright phosphor-integrated dots (PIDs). This nanoparticle-based detection technology circumvents the limitations observed with traditional multiplex chromogenic and fluorescent-based assays, such as signal saturation, non-linearity and high background.”
Chromogenic-based immunohistochemistry (IHC) is a common technique and tools used both in research and clinical practice—one notable area being the development of companion diagnostics (CDx). However, while IHC is widely used, Invicro notes that “underperforming assays often require additional molecular testing due to narrow detection range. With expertise in quantitative and digital pathology and having invented the AQUA technology for predicting response to therapies or recurrence in a myriad of disease indications, Dr. Rimm and his research team will evaluate a multitude of assay conditions to assess Quanticell’s technology performance for quantifying HER-2 expression across a much wider dynamic range.”
Rimm said that he looks forward to working on potentially cutting-edge technology that has the potential to move molecular drug target testing forward and maximize therapeutic efficacy while also reducing undesired toxicity, adding: “In previous studies performed in my laboratory, we have found that HER-2 protein expression spanned three logs of dynamic range and discovered DAB-based methods typically only show a linear range of one log, which we hypothesize can be addressed with Konica Minolta’s novel detection technology.”
In other relatively recent news of the company (from very late January), Invicro announced that the paper “Synaptic Density Marker SV2A is Reduced in Schizophrenia Patients and Unaffected by Antipsychotics in Rats” had been published in Nature Communications.
Invicro scientists based in London scientists—Dr. Lisa Wells, Eugenii (Ilan) Rabiner and Dr. Roger Gunn—were co-authors of this study, which investigated synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2A (SV2A) levels and their relationship to symptoms and structural brain measures in patients with schizophrenia using positron emission tomography (PET). The key findings indicated lower synaptic terminal protein levels in schizophrenia in vivo and that antipsychotic drug exposure is unlikely to account for them.
“This pioneering work utilizes novel developments in the imaging of the human brain to evaluate in the living brain previous post-mortem findings,” stated Rabiner, who is executive vice president of translational applications for Invicro and a reader in molecular neuroimaging at King’s College London.
Changes in brain anatomy, including loss of synapses, has been hypothesized to play an important role in schizophrenia. This publication is reportedly the first to examine synaptic density with regard to schizophrenia in the living human brain. The authors used a novel PET imaging biomarker ([11C]UCB-J) and PET to demonstrate lower levels of synaptic density in the frontal and anterior cingulate cortices of schizophrenics.