Recent advances in molecular biology have revealed the highly complex nature of disease development, with cancer being a prime example of a complex, adaptive system. New mechanisms of cell signalling continue to be unravelled, and diagnostic and therapeutic development therefore must be attacked from multiple angles. One piece of that puzzle lies in tiny, cell-released vesicles called extracellular vesicles (EVs), which contain a host of molecular cargo. The EV field has exploded in recent years, as researchers investigate the biology, function, and diversity of EVs – with the ultimate vision being that in the future, EVs absolutely will play a key diagnostic and therapeutic role.
Making the leap from benchside to clinic, however, will require thoughtful and customised development of technologies that enable EV-containing samples to be processed at scale, and to a high standard. While progress has been made towards increasing the throughput of EV isolation, there is more work to be done.
With that, Agarose Bead Technologies (ABT) and Izon Science announce their working partnership aimed at developing and providing world-leading solutions for nano-biological separation, in particular for EVs. The expected rise in EV-based clinical trials and developments in the near future underscores the need for improved development capabilities that can enhance the reliability, efficiency, and scalability of isolation for both liquid biopsies/diagnostics and therapeutics. As a result, the partnership between ABT and Izon is crucial in addressing this need.
EV bioprocessing workflows differ significantly for the two applications, with EV diagnostics demanding high-throughput, parallel processing of patient samples, and EV therapeutics requiring the efficient refinement of large volumes of cell culture. For both applications, SEC (size exclusion chromatography) will be the preferred purification method given its scalability, repeatability, and cost-effectiveness. A wider isolation workflow, however, would also involve other techniques, with the whole workflow tailored to the customer.
Izon is the global leader for EV separation, known for its qEV column range and the associated Automatic Fraction Collector (AFC), while ABT is a premier manufacturer of high-quality agarose resins for the bioprocessing industry. The two companies have collaborated on designing and developing new resins that have been customised to meet the specific needs of the EV field, offering distinct competitive advantages in the final products. The resins have been successfully launched in Izon's new and recently completed Gen 2 qEV column range, and will be critical to realising the clinical potential of EVs. The Gen 2 columns have a significantly better separation profile, with the new ABT resins having been optimised for EV separation. As a result, the older-style columns have been renamed as Legacy qEV columns and are being gradually phased out as users complete their various trials and research projects before switching to the newer and better columns. Izon has exclusive use of the new resins for EV separation.
Synergistic collaboration leverages combined expertise and capabilities
Together, Izon and ABT aim to develop targeted separation products for EVs in high-throughput diagnostics and therapeutic development. Their partnership capitalises on ABT’s expertise in custom resin development and production and Izon’s extensive knowledge in and experience of its customers’ separation requirements. Scalability and repeatability of the separation processes are key objectives of their collaboration. With goals set on supporting developments in both therapeutic and diagnostic settings, both parties have extensive quality assurance processes in place.
Pilar Armisen, Technical Business Development Manager at ABT, said “We are proud to have helped Izon’s technical team develop state-of-the-art custom resins that have been designed and manufactured in exclusivity for Gen 2 qEV columns for EV separation. This collaboration represents an excellent fit and I am excited about the huge potential of the integrated synergies between Izon and ABT.”
Reflecting on the collaboration, Hans van der Voorn, CEO and co-founder of Izon, noted the strong foundation and significance of the partnership: “Our search for global partners who can collaborate with us to create customised EV separation solutions led us to ABT. They have been and will be a key collaborator going forward, and we have joined forces to develop new products and services. With our partnership, we can effectively tackle the challenge of EV isolation in the field, freeing up researchers to focus on refining the development of biomarkers and therapeutics for clinical use.”