Scotland’s Life Sciences Dinner and Annual Awards | BioClavis: enabling clinical utility of ‘omic testing to deliver personalised and cost-effective care within the context of today’s healthcare systems
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BioClavis: enabling clinical utility of ‘omic testing to deliver personalised and cost-effective care within the context of today’s healthcare systems

Harper VanSteenhouse, General Manager, BioClavis

BioClavis –and sister company BioSpyder– was first attracted to setting up in Glasgow because of the scale and quality of clinical expertise and samples that we would be able to access. So we set up in the University of Glasgow’s Clinical Innovation Zone at the impressive Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH), which has one of the largest pathology laboratories in the UK and Europe, as well as a large biorepository, which is networked to others across Scotland.

BioClavis is a personalized diagnostics spinout of US-based BioSpyder Technologies. In early 2018, we set up at the QEUH supported by a generous R&D grant from Scottish Enterprise. BioSpyder was established in 2011 and developed a novel platform for targeted molecular profiling called TempO-Seq™, a transcriptomic/genomic technology using NGS as readout.

BioSpyder considered a range of locations around Europe (in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands) but soon realised the QEUH in Glasgow was the best location for setting up BioClavis. Another key attractor to us for setting up at the University’s Clinical Innovation Zone (CIZ) was the networking and community, a real asset of Glasgow, and specifically the integration of industry, academics and clinicians at the CIZ.

We’ve found the ability to readily interact with clinical researchers a really special aspect of life at the CIZ, as it often difficult to find in the US, plus we have created contacts and working relationships with many of the main university departments across Scotland. The final main attraction factor for us was the ability to attract high quality employees more quickly that we might expect at other life sciences hubs. As it stands, we currently have eight employees and are actively hiring and plan to continue our growth trajectory for the foreseeable future.

Aside from our ambitious internal R&D programs, we very quickly established exciting and fun collaborations with Glasgow academics and clinical researchers supported by the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences (MVLS) Innovation team. Projects we’re involved in include a diverse range of applications such as clinical studies of inflammation, novel insecticide research to protect crop production and exploring new monitoring tools in aquaculture to help salmon farmers.

Through the MRC/EPSRC Glasgow Molecular Pathology Node at QEUH, our company, along with NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, are working together to develop a gene expression-profiling assay that can assign cell of origin in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) subtypes in a timely, cost effective and clinically-relevant manner. An assay that can assign cell of origin will be invaluable for the NHS, as it would support clinical trials, guide treatment decisions and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

It’s been a fantastic first year for the company and lab, and we’re looking forward to many more successful and enjoyable years in Glasgow.

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