Liquid biopsy platform for purification and collection of intact CTCs directly from blood

Each year around 1000 women in The Netherlands are diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Clinicians select the first set of drugs for chemotherapy by analyzing the primary tumor that is removed by surgery. For around 3 out of 4 cases, first choice of drugs does not cure the disease. Then the treatment decisions are made based on the experience and intuition of clinicians. Solution to this problem is enabling personalized treatment. To support clinical decision making, it is possible to find the traces of cancer in patient blood via liquid biopsy. However, state-of-the-art technologies only provide information for the assessment of the success of the ongoing or already applied treatment. The only way to replicate the benefit of solid biopsy is to collect intact circulating tumor cells (CTCs), which fully represent all metastatic cascade. This would allow in vitro tumor tissue growth and testing drugs before it is given to patient, hence enabling personalized treatment.

We are developing a liquid biopsy platform to address this unmet need. Our proprietary technology allows purification and collection of intact CTCs directly from blood in a label-free manner. The system consists of a benchtop main unit and disposable cartridges for processing blood samples. Cartridge and blood sample are loaded into main unit and automated process is initiated with a touch of a screen. CTCs are collected in a vial for further analysis. We already obtained proof-of-concept data for technical validation of our core technology with tumor cell spiked blood samples from healthy donors.

We will have our prototype built and validated with patient samples in two years. To reach this phase, we need a seed investment of 1M€. After proving the clinical validity, following 4 years will be dedicated to manufacturing and clinical validation of 1st generation products. To realize this step, an investment of 5M€ is needed. We foresee that sales will start in the 6th year. We have a very strong technical team, which will secure the successful validation of our technology. Contacts from industry and business are initiated for the key roles and key providers for successful foundation and growth of our venture.

Sertan Sukas
Startup activities

Venture Challenge Fall 2021