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Alithea Genomics and CHUV to help make immunotherapy treatments more targeted

Life sciences

30 January 2023

Dutch-Swiss consortium MAINLINE, consisting of PamGene International B.V., Alithea Genomics and CHUV, received a Eurostars grant of EUR 1 million to create a comprehensive cancer blood test to forecast the effectiveness and harmful effects of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs).

Alithea Genomics focuses on RNA sequencing and transcriptomics analysis. Its patented technology, Bulk RNA Barcoding and sequencing (BRB-seq), allows hundreds of RNA samples to be prepared for sequencing in a single tube. RNA sequencing utilizes NGS to assess the quantity and sequence of RNA in a biological sample. The data obtained shows which genes in DNA are activated or deactivated, and to what degree, for example, in a diseased cell or drug response. Since introducing BRB-seq kits to the market, Alithea has sold over 500 kits in Switzerland, Europe, UK, and the US.

Alithea’s technology will be critical in the recently revealed Eurostars-funded project led by the MAINLINE consortium. Alithea teamed up with PamGene International and the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) to integrate their clinical research, transcriptomics, and kinomic profiling expertise and create a novel multi-omics biomarker profile that surpasses current single biomarker methods.

Previously, PamGene developed two CE-IVD tests for ICI therapy guidance, the IOpener® tests for guiding ICI treatment of advanced NSCLC and melanoma patients. In the MAINLINE consortium, PamGene aims to expand these studies to create a comprehensive predictive kinome profile for ICI therapy.

A breakthrough in pan-cancer ICI prediction test development

Both based in the canton of Vaud, CHUV and Alithea Genomics will create a transcriptomics biomarker panel using their efficient and cost-effective BRB-seq platform. CHUV will supply whole-blood samples from ICI-eligible cancer patients to establish a comprehensive dataset for training and validating the prediction model. By integrating individual kinome and transcriptomic profiles with clinical data, they will form a new multi-omics model and clinically validate its predictive strength in this project.

Riccardo Dainese, CEO of Alithea Genomics, concluded: “The approval by the Swiss and Dutch funding agencies of our Eurostars project reflects the world-leading science and technologies we will use in our consortium to develop the first pan-cancer therapy agnostic ICI response prediction test.”