NanoString Technologies: Transforming Healthcare from Insight to Impact
Bradley Gray, CEO & President Richard Feynman, famous for pioneering the concept of nanotechnology once said that nanomedicine is similar to “swallowing a doctor.” An extension of molecular medicine, nanomedicine helps to understand how the biological machinery inside living cells operates, in order to treat complicated medical conditions such as cancer, AIDS, and diabetes. For instance, in cancer, the strong drugs currently used in chemotherapy destroys healthy as well as cancerous tissues. However, for the first time, with nanomedicine, scientists can use cancer-searching proteins and tumor-destroying drugs at a nanoscale to target malignant tumors, for a better cure. No doubt nanomedicine is all set to change the face of healthcare forever as it not only has the potential to cure once incurable diseases but it also means a reduced degree of invasiveness and surgical procedures.
"NanoString Technologies is empowering researchers to embark on studies that were previously inconceivable"
In the wake of a new era in medical application, NanoString Technologies [NASDAQ: NSTG] with its state-of-the-art life science tools enables translational research and molecular diagnostics that empowers researchers to embark on studies that were previously inconceivable. All of NanoString’s products are based on a next-gen digital molecular bar-coding technology invented at the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) in Seattle. Behind NanoString’s notable success is industry veteran and president and CEO of the company Bradley Gray who has been associated with NanoString for close to two decades. Gray’s rich experience and business acumen is a strong force behind NanoString’s innovative products that allow healthcare research firms to have complete confidence in their research work.
Redefining Research and Diagnostics
NanoString’s nCounter Analysis System, a platform for next-generation sequencing is a futuristic solution for organizations engaging in cancer research, biomarker validation and screening, and next-generation sequencing validation. Today, NanoString’s nCounter System is the platform of choice to validate medical discoveries and translate them into clinically useful diagnostic assays. nCounter is uniquely positioned to support translational research since it provides more reproducible results and generates high-quality data from the difficult sample types common in clinical research. In addition to continuing to extend the applications for the nCounter system in the discovery, target validation, and routine testing segments of the genomics research market, the company’s goal is to become the platform of choice for diagnostic testing based on multiplexed gene signatures that can be offered in hospitals and pathology laboratories worldwide, following appropriate regulatory approvals.
For organizations engaging in cancer research, biomarker validation and screening, and next-generation sequencing validation, NanoString’s nCounter Analysis System is a futuristic solution
The solution even comes with a Master Kit that provides all the consumables and reagents an organization needs to perform any NanoString assay.
For normalization of nCounter data, another compelling offering by NanoString’s is the nSolver analysis software, which is an integrated analysis platform for storage and custom quality check. Through this software, users can generate highly-customized exports, basic statistical outputs, and publication-quality figures quickly and easily with no incremental cost. It features advanced analysis modules based on R programming language and is compatible with standard analysis programs such as Ingenuity Pathway Analysis, Partek Genomics Suite, BioDiscovery Nexus Copy Number, and Advaita iPathwayGuide.
To expedite translational research and biomarker discovery, researchers can choose from NanoString’s broad portfolio of expertly curated, ready-to-use gene expression panels. Each multiplex panel contains at least 770 genes and is customizable up to 30 additional unique targets. The panels encompass oncology, immunology, and neuroscience. NanoString can also design and build custom CodeSets for specific gene targets. NanoString’s bioinformatics team has designed CodeSets for a large variety of organisms and analysis types that include: gene expression, copy number variation (CNV), fusion or splice variant detection, Ribosomal RNA, and more.
Mastering the Science of Tumor Biology
Always staying ahead of the market curve, NanoString also specializes in the development of cancer diagnostics tools. Their first-of-a-kind in vitro diagnostic product, Prosigna is making significant waves in the prognosis of early-stage breast cancer. Prosigna is now included in the international clinical practice guidelines and holds a CE mark, which indicates conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within EU and Israel. In September 2013, NanoString even received FDA 510(k) clearance for Prosigna.
Prosigna’s advanced technology generates precise, reproducible prognostic information and uses the PAM50 gene signature to translate tumor biology into a patient’s individualized prognostic score. With Prosigna, patients can proceed with their cancer risk assessment with confidence as it reliably identifies a patient’s ten-year risk of distant recurrence and intrinsic molecular subtype.
Recently, the company entered into a translational research agreement with MacroGenics, a leading biopharmaceutical company, to develop and identify leading biomarkers in Immuno-Oncology. MacroGenics’ MGD013 is an IgG4κ bispecific DART® molecule designed to simultaneously block the PD-1 and LAG-3 pathways. MGD013 provides enhanced T-cell activation compared to single or combination monoclonal antibody blockade. MacroGenics and NanoString will conduct joint research using the PanCancer IO 360™ Panel to explore potentially predictive signatures for MGD013 clinical applications. Under the terms of the collaboration, NanoString will develop and evaluate the tumor inflammation signature and novel predictive gene expression signatures for MGD013. In the event that a predictive biomarker is identified, the parties may develop a companion diagnostic for specific clinical applications of MGD013.
If that’s not all, at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, NanoString presented a groundbreaking body of research that comprised more than 50 abstracts highlighting the diverse capabilities of their technology from gene expression profiling in cancer and immuno-therapy to Digital Spatial Profiling. Heavily invested in understanding cancer diagnosis and treatment the company has also launched a Breast Cancer 360™ research panel that provides a unique 360-degree view of the tumor, microenvironment, and immune response. The panel includes comprehensive and expertly curated content across important breast cancer pathways and contains validated and novel signatures including NanoString’s PAM50 signature for breast cancer subtyping as well as the Tumor Inflammation Signature for determining whether a tumor is inflamed or non-inflamed. The BC360 Panel is part of an expanding portfolio of comprehensive cancer research panels for the growing field of translational research and signature development.
For the maximum benefit of clients, NanoString has a strong support program in place that includes support by workflow, system, and application. NanoString also goes the extra mile and offers a host of training options in instruments, applications, or data analysis. The training is a hands-on session, where application scientists at NanoString conduct fully customizable seminars. Moreover, they offer consultation and data analysis services to help clients design a personalized and comprehensive data analysis plan.
Nothing better describes NanoString’s leading edge position other than the fact that the company exhibits a strong year on year growth. In the third quarter of 2018, NanoString saw 20 percent growth in its instruments, consumables, and services. Giving an overview of their future endeavors Gray says that “Momentum is building ahead of the planned 2019 launch of our GeoMx™ Digital Spatial Profiler, including the initiation of our GeoMx Priority Site Program and the publication of two papers demonstrating the utility of the platform.”
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