NeoNeuro has developed a new scientific approach named Aptamarkers™. In the past, biomarkers for the diagnosis of diseases have been developed based on an understanding of the disease and the effect of the disease on the regulation of proteins or metabolites. This approach is time-consuming and expensive as experimental hypothesis regarding the pathophysiology of the disease must be tested and progressively built upon. Increases in computing power, and technological innovations have powered the introduction of the “omics” era, with genomics, proteomics and metabolomics. Unfortunately each of these “omics” have implicit constraints that have hindered the development of a truly agnostic, non-hypothesis driven biomarker discovery approach. Genomics is constrained by potential lack of relation between genes and the dynamic ongoing state of life within cells. Proteomics and metabolomics are challenged by the enormous differences in the concentration of molecules, abundant molecules simply overwhelm the capacity to detect subtle differences in low abundant molecules.
Within this context, NeoNeuro set out to develop a new platform with the capacity to screen all epitopes that are present in blood. We refer to this space as the epitopiome. This means that we are not only screening all molecules in blood (proteins, metabolites and oligonucleotides (including non-coding RNA) but we are also screening for changes in the conformation or complexes among these molecules. This breakthrough is achieved through the use of enriched aptamer libraries. Aptamers are single stranded oligonucleotides (in this case DNA molecules composed of 79 nucleotides) that mimic antibodies in their ability to bind to target molecules. They are able to mimic antibodies because each individual sequence folds into a different shape, thus presenting different capacities to enter into inter-molecular bonds with target molecules. Random aptamer libraries are synthesized chemically. This enables us to work with starting libraries where the number of aptamer shapes outnumber the number of possible targets in blood.
The Aptamarker™ platform enables the first truly deep data discovery of biomarkers in any biological fluid. The aptamers are themselves biomarkers, their quantity following a round of selection is directly used to diagnose disease states. The aptamers can also be used as discovery tools to identify the molecules that they bind to, as a basis for further insights into the pathophysiology of a disease.
Based on the cross-validation analysis, our Aptamarker platform has the following predictive capacity:
Sensitivity = 0.80
Specificity = 0.88
Accuracy = 0.83
AUC = 0.9694 in three dimensions