Firms will combine Vectra tissue-imaging system with multispectral Aqua image-analysis platform.

Caliper Life Sciences and HistoRx are pooling relevant technologies to co-develop immunofluorescence-based solutions for the analysis of proteins in tissue samples. The joint development effort will combine Caliper’s Vectra™ multiplexed tissue-imaging system with HistoRx’ Aqua® image-analysis system. The goal is to generate an integrated platform for applications including drug target identification and validation, as well as for evaluating drug response. Under terms of the deal Caliper will have exclusive distribution rights to the platform for the life sciences research market. The firms are also looking into the potential to develop the system for clinical research and diagnostics applications. Caliper says it aims to launch the Aqua-enabled Vectra platform in August.

“The combination of Caliper and HistoRx technologies enables an unprecedented level of objective and accurate diagnosis that is currently lacking, both on the research level as well as the clinical level,” states Kevin Hrusovsky, Caliper president and CEO. “We see an opportunity to bring a comprehensive solution to the research market to help expand scientists’ options for capturing key disease signatures and to aid in the development of new drugs and new strategies to battle cancer.”

Vectra is a multispectral fluorescence- and brightfield-capable microscope slide analysis system, developed by Cambridge Research & Instrumentation (CRI), which Caliper acquired for $20 million in December 2010. CRI says that Vectra’s pattern recognition-based scanning rapidly acquires high-resolution multispectral images of samples on microscope slides. Samples can be cultured cells, cell spreads, tissue sections, or tissue microarrays, which have been stained using either standard stains or immunofluorescence and immunohistochemical techniques.

HistoRx claims its Aqua technology can precisely measure protein biomarker concentration with subcellular resolution in tissue sections. The platform hinges on automated fluorescent image acquisition and data analysis using a proprietary software to provide precise quantification of biomarkers of interest, based on the computation of Aqua scores. These can then be correlated with parameters including disease progression, clinical outcome, and response to therapy or expression of proteins in alternate pathways, the firm says. The Aqua technology can be applied to both drug development and disease research applicaions in areas spanning biomarker discovery and validation, protein signaling pathway interactions, drug target identification and validation, preclinical drug safety studies, and patient stratification for clinical trials.

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