Shares of York-based life sciences firm Aptamer Group plc rose about 9% after it announced it has developed a new reagent, Optimer-Fc, for use in automated immunohistochemistry (IHC) workflows.
“Aptamer is working with one of the top three companies within the IHC market (that jointly command over 70% of the market) to validate the performance of Optimer-Fc within their automated IHC platform and is in current negotiations with two top 10 pharmaceutical companies seeking to trial Optimer-Fc,” said the York firm.
“Aptamer is also currently working with four of the top ten pharma companies and additional biotech partners to develop Optimer binders for IHC – a deep pipeline of potential future products to advance research and diagnostics for the benefits of life science.
“IHC remains the gold standard test for clinical diagnostics (including cancer), and its use is increasing with the advent of personalised medicine approaches.
“The IHC market was valued at $2.3bn in 2021, with 45.5% accounted for by the antibody segment.
“However, the imminent expiry of current patents for IHC antibodies is a significant challenge facing the major players in this field, with an expected decrease in revenue and profitability. Innovative products, such as Optimer-Fc, are actively being sought to overcome these issues.
“Optimer-Fc tools consist of an Optimer binder conjugated to the Fc domain of an antibody. The company has successfully demonstrated the functional integration of different Optimer binders into this conjugate format.
“This allows the broad target range of Optimer tools to be applied in IHC applications. IHC is a staining process predominantly done on fresh or frozen clinical tissue samples removed during a biopsy.
“IHC is used to detect if cells have cancer or other disease markers. The Optimer-Fc is an antibody alternative for use within existing workflows replacing the primary, detecting, antibody.
“Capitalising on the highly selective and tuneable nature of Optimer binders, this development will enable life scientists to pursue novel and existing disease biomarkers and offer increased accuracy and selectivity in detection, with the generation of a suite of new reagents to enable improved research, diagnostics, and forensics.”
Aptamer Group CEO Arron Tolley said: “Our new Optimer-Fc meets an urgent need for the IHC market to develop new patentable reagents.
“Over the past several months, we have innovated to support this market need, and developed and validated our new platform to develop these reagents. We have already seen keen interest from major companies within the IHC space and top pharma.
“This demonstrates the need and applicability of aptamers for such tools. We are now actively working with these partners to supply and support them in the use of Optimer-Fc. Optimer-Fc offers the ability to pursue new targets, that have proven previously intractable with antibodies, and improve assay selectivity.
“We anticipate this will open up further opportunities for emerging biomarkers in research and diagnostics, which could further increase the potential of our new IHC tools.”