New Technology Finds Early Biomarker Signatures for Cancer
The technology platform IMMray™ of Immunovia finds early biomarker signatures for several forms of cancer and autoimmune diseases, which gives it the potential to significantly increase the survival rate and quality of life of many patients.
Founded on the research of Professor Carl Borrebaeck at Lund University, Immunovia has developed a technology platform, IMMray™(Immunovia Antibody Microarray), for early diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring of cancers and autoimmune diseases.
”Complex diseases leaves footprints in the immune system. With a simple blood sample we can measure many proteins simultaneously in the immune response and thereby identify clinically relevant biomarker signatures for several forms of cancer, as well as autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s Syndrome, Lupus etc. that are hard to diagnose early,” says Mats Grahn, CEO of the molecular diagnostics company Immunovia.
The company’s first and main product is aimed for early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
”It’s a cancer that develops slowly over a longer time-period with no or very vague symptoms. Then, in the last 6-9 months of the patient’s life, it becomes very aggressive. So, when it’s detected it’s metastatic to an extent that 80% of the patients do not answer to any treatment currently available. And the survival rate after five years is only 5%. Clinical data show that if, on the other hand, it’s discovered in the first stage, the survival rate could increase to 50%,” he adds.
The company has concluded a retrospective study with 1,300 blood samples that resulted in an accuracy of 96% in pancreatic cancers stages 1 and 2. The result has been validated in a second study in collaboration with the Knight Cancer Institute in the USA and was presented in May 2016. Now, the company is launching prospective studies, which must show good results in order to secure future reimbursement.
”It will take approx. three years before these studies are completed. However, we can start selling our tests commercially already before that through our own lab once it is accredited, as well as through a certified lab in the USA that we’re partnering with,” Mats Grahn comments.
Many Projects in Pipeline
Immunovia has in collaboration with Professor Carl Borrebeack at Lund University and others several projects in its strong pipeline and many of the company’s 25 employees have worked 25-30 years in the business. Situated at Medicon Village, it has access to a great infrastructure that AstraZeneca left when they moved out 2012.
”It’s a fantastic environment for a company like ours with access to both advanced facilities and highly-skilled people.”
In December 2015, Immunovia was launched at Nasdaq First North and it has recently received the prize as the most innovative small and medium size listed company in Europe, ’Stars of Innovation’, by the stock exchanges in the EU.
Last autumn, it received additional financial reinforcement when leading funds, such as Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation and Handelsbanken Fonder, together with other institutional and private investors invested MSEK 190 in the company in a directed issue. They’ve also successfully completed a preferential rights issue to existing share holders of MSEK 28.7 making the total capitalisation 218 MSEK .