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Frost & Sullivan Commends Oxford BioDynamics for Developing a Novel Biomarker Discovery Platform, EpiSwitch

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Based on its recent analysis of the biomarker discovery technology market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Oxford BioDynamics Limited (OBD) with the 2015 European Frost & Sullivan Award for Technology Innovation. OBD’s novel biomarker discovery platform, EpiSwitch™, accelerates the discovery rate of biomarkers to facilitate a higher and more robust output of diagnostic and prognostic tests for pharmaceutical companies and therefore more effective patient care. The EpiSwitch™ finds application across a range of disease groups, including cancer, inflammatory, metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases.

OBD’s EpiSwitch™ detects chromosome confirmation signatures that enable clinicians to study and accurately identify genomic change. However, the advantage that really sets OBD apart in the pharmaceutical space is that it is the only company with a patented and established biomarker discovery platform for industrial use. It can non-invasively screen for biomarkers and provide results rapidly since it requires less than four hours for sample processing. This speed places it leagues ahead of competing solutions, which are viable for academic purposes but unable to replicate their success in an industrial setting.

“Unlike proteomic, metabolomics and gene expression platforms that require a reference frame of healthy levels, and therefore increase the complexity of comparison during the validation process, EpiSwitch™ is stable and binary,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Madhumitha Rangesa. “This eliminates the need for a reference frame.”

OBD currently offers EpiSwitch™ in three variants—the EpiSwitch™ Array, next-generation sequencing (NGS) platform, and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) platform. The NGS platform helps screen biomarkers for the selection of the best candidates for further stratification, while the PCR platform is employed at a later stage, such as post-stratification, where it aids the development of a cost-effective and robust biomarker diagnostic.

Meanwhile, OBD is making the most of the technology convergence trend by combining machine-learning algorithms with biomarker discovery. These algorithms enable pattern recognition, which helps them detect specific transcription unit structures in the DNA. Through such algorithms, the EpiSwitch™ platform generates a score that will segregate the patients into various groups, depending on their response to a specific set of markers, leading to the creation of a biomarker assay for OBD’s commercial partner.

Another important Mega Trend that influences OBD is the Big Data movement in genetics. The vast information that gets accumulated on the EpiSwitch™ platform will open up novel avenues of research for academic institutes, pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies, potentially leading to the discovery of new therapeutics.

Significantly, the EpiSwitch™ platform has won patents in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Singapore, South Africa and multiple European countries. This has increased the opportunities for technology licensing across Southeast Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States. OBD has already secured eight contracts with some of the leading pharmaceutical companies and expects to win another six over the next nine months, placing it in a unique strategic position in the global market.

OBD also has several collaborations with education institutes and biotechnology companies. It has partnered with the Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research to create stratification markers for melanoma, Mayo Clinic to establish predictive response biomarkers for anti-PD1 therapy in the treatment of melanoma, and the Scottish Early Rheumatoid Arthritis (SERA) consortium to design predictive response biomarkers for methotrexate for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

“OBD was a spin-off company from Oxford University in 2007. It leveraged years of academic research to build a validated and efficient discovery platform that can be mobilized by pharmaceutical companies to produce a variety of precise diagnostic, monitoring and prognostic tests,” observed Madhumtiha. “OBD has succeeded in expanding the organization and entering the Asian market, cementing its position in the industry and as a market leader on the strength of its innovative biomarker discovery platform.”

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated uniqueness in developing and leveraging new technologies, which significantly impacts both the functionality and the customer value of the new products and applications. The award lauds the high R&D spend toward innovation, its relevance to the industry, and the positive impact on brand perception.

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.


Source: Frost & Sullivan