Dr.Dean Tsao, Founder, Chairman & CEO
With the advent of precision medicine, the number of available In-Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) test assays for cancer management is increasing. In this application, the technique of multiplexing provides an optimized solution for running many tests simultaneously. Unlike traditional methods, a multiplex assay can provide results for multiple targets in a single reaction, saving time, labor, reagents, tissue samples, and thereby resulting in an overall reduction in laboratory costs. Dr. Dean Tsao founded PlexBio Co., Ltd. to develop and commercialize IVD products to enable multiplexing of a wide array of disease-specific assays. With its products, PlexBio addresses precision medicine’s need for high-complexity diagnostic information at an affordable cost.
PlexBio has developed a cutting-edge multiplexing platform using its patented Precision Image Code (πCodeTM) MicroDisc technology, which is a circular disc with a diameter of 40 microns and is capable of generating 16,000 circular image patterns. The IntelliplexTM platform enables a broad range of genetic analysis, including the company’s focus in cancer diagnostics. Each MicroDisc has a distinct circular image pattern and corresponds to the identity of a specific capture agent conjugated to the disk surface, allowing the capture and detection of specific analytes from a sample. Virtually any probe used in clinical diagnostics can be conjugated to the MicroDisc, including DNA, RNA, antigens, antibodies, and other proteins. “We believe that performing high multiplex assays do not need to be complex or costly and therefore, we set out to develop products for clinical laboratory use based on our proprietary MicroDisc technology”, says Dr. Tsao, Founder and CEO of the company.
We believe that performing high multiplex assays does not need to be complex or costly and therefore, we set out to develop products for clinical laboratory use based on our proprietary MicroDisc technology
With the πCode MicroDisc technology, PlexBio aims to disrupt the area of next-generation sequencing (NGS) by providing alternatives that overcome time, speed, and cost issues. “We stand ahead of our competitors because our technology operates on a ‘3C’ philosophy, Convenience, Consistency, and Cost,” highlights the CEO. Unlike NGS, the company’s multiplexing platform does not require a high level of expertise to achieve fast and accurate results. It focuses on consistency as opposed to NGS that may not produce identical results for the same sample when tested in different laboratories. On the whole, the platform aims to reduce the cost for testing while still maintaining quality.
PlexBio has also developed several products around its SelectAmp technology, which is a mutation enriching PCR amplification technique that drastically increases mutation detection sensitivity. Achievement of sensitivities up to 0.1 percent is common in many mutation points, making this analytic approach ideally suited for liquid biopsy assays.
The company’s products recently found very successful application in a local 300-bed hospital in Taiwan. In this instance, several cancer patients underwent routine biopsy with the tissue samples being sent to a local reference lab to determine the specific gene mutations which are necessary to guide the treatment choice. However, this process is time-consuming and costly, taking three weeks or more to obtain complete results and at cost of approximately $1,000 USD per patient sample. By employing PlexBio’s technology for the comprehensive analysis, the hospital was able to obtain the results within a day, and the cost reduced to approximately $200 USD.
Between 2017 and 2018, PlexBio’s menu of products completed the necessary CE-IVD certifications, enabling the company’s expansion into the European market. “We have placed our platform worldwide and we are actively working with key opinion leaders in Taiwan, several European countries, Australia, and Japan. Our focus has been in cancer research and cancer diagnostics, but several of the KOL’s study infectious diseases such as HIV and Sepsis, which is a bloodstream infection—highlighting the versatility of our platform,” reminds Dr. Tsao. Looking forward, the company is taking actions to firmly establish PlexBio brand as a supplier of high-quality IVD and research products and to grow its presence even further in several key global markets.