Quanterix and Banyan Biomarkers forge ahead with brain injury diagnostic tech

Quanterix CEO Kevin Hrusovsky

As the med tech industry zeroes in on noninvasive tests that rapidly diagnose concussions, Quanterix and Banyan Biomarkers are joining forces to develop products that could provide a new standard of care for patients.

The two companies are "working closely" on certain research projects, Quanterix CEO Kevin Hrusovsky told the MIT Technology Review, aiming to identify new biomarkers that show up in the blood after brain injury and using those findings to create more accurate diagnostic tests. Lexington, MA-based Quanterix's scientists are looking at different candidate biomarkers, including those associated with brain injuries and Alzheimer's, and is also evaluating Banyan's two brain injury biomarkers.

Banyan's two proteins have shown that concentrations of two proteins in the blood are elevated in the hours after brain injury, corresponding with how severe the damage is. The San Diego, CA-based company is in the middle of a clinical trial with 2,000 patients, shooting for FDA approval of a test that would gauge levels of one or both of the proteins to see whether or not a CT scan is needed, the MIT Technology Review reports.

Quanterix's Simoa device--Courtesy of Quanterix

Meanwhile, Quanterix is forging ahead with its own technology more than a month after the company revealed that it was gearing up for an IPO. Quanterix brought in $5 million in revenue during the first half of 2015--well and above its 2014 numbers--and plans to launch an IPO as early as next year, Hrusovsky said at the time.

An IPO could go a long way in helping the company ramp up development of its blood biomarker testing product. Quanterix touts its Simoa technology as more sensitive than traditional testing, as it only requires a single target molecule to generate a signal. The company recently chalked up some promising results for its technology, with a study led by the National Institutes of Health finding that a concentration of tau protein in the bloodstream was linked to traumatic brain injury in nearly 100 U.S. soldiers. Quanterix's Simoa analyzer was used to pinpoint and measure the tau protein biomarkers.

Next up, the company is considering developing a handheld device that could assess the severity of an injury on the sideline of a football game, Hrusovsky told the MIT Technology Review. The device could get to market by the end of 2017, but Quanterix might need to sign on an industry partner to help foot the bill for clinical trials, he added.

- read the MIT Technology Review story