The technology spun out of the University of Alberta in Canada, which is known globally for metabolomics research. Company founders, gastroenterologist Richard Fedorak, M.D., and colorectal surgeon Haili Wang, M.D., collaborated with the university’s metabolomics group, which was collecting bio-samples to identify potential diagnostics for a variety of diseases. A retrospective study led to a prospective study and, eventually, PolypDx.
“MTI is actively seeking partnerships and strategic commercial partners,” Joseph says.
MTI is collaborating with BGI-Shenzhen to develop the assays for the Chinese market. The assay is undergoing validation and clinical trials in China. According to Yong Zhang, Ph.D., head, proteomic division, BGI-Shenzhen, “Our company is the best positioned to co-develop MTI’s diagnostic tests for the Chinese market, assist with the regulatory process, and market the technology.”
“In the West, the regulatory landscape for multivariate tests like metabolomics is a bit gray. China, however, has a progressive regulatory framework that is focused around driving down the costs of disease for a large, new middle class that is demanding high-quality healthcare.” Therefore, “Preventive strategies—including diagnostics—are on the fast track.” Additionally, the University of Alberta has had research collaboration with BGI-Shenzhen for the past five years. Leveraging that relationship enables MTI to showcase a translational project and make a real difference, quickly, in individuals’ health.
Joseph says MTI’s finances are sound. MTI is funded by angel and super angel investors and by grants from Alberta Innovates—Health Solutions, the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, and Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education. “Our burn rate isn’t excessively high, so regional financing will take us through the next few years.”