Biomarkers for Precision Medicine

Identifying the defining characteristics of disease and responses to drugs

Medicines Discovery Catapult

A biomarker, or biological marker, generally refers to a measurable indicator of some biological state or condition, defined by the FDA as “a characteristic that is objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal biologic processes, pathogenic processes, or pharmacologic responses to a therapeutic intervention.”

Biomarkers improve our understanding of drugs, disease and drug-target interactions within patients, and are key to unlocking a better understanding of:

  • Translating drugs from pre-clinical into a clinical setting
  • Dosage of drugs to deliver patient benefit
  • Biomarker-based patient selection
  • Treatment decisions

We are looking for collaborations with:

  • Companies seeking guidance to develop their biomarker programmes and utilise our advanced technologies for biomarker discovery and development
  • Academics or companies developing novel technologies to support biomarker discovery and development

To date a huge number of biomarkers have been identified but very few have entered the clinic as diagnostic tools and many diseases are yet to adopt biomarkers to support and inform translation of drugs into the clinic.

The limited uptake of biomarkers can be due to a number of factors:

  • Complexity and variability of disease pathology and biomarkers
  • Use of inappropriate samples or data sets for biomarker discovery and validation
  • Limited understanding of the disease
  • Inappropriate interrogation methodologies and technologies

Our aims through collaborative R&D

  • Enable drug discovery companies to incorporate relevant biomarkers into their programmes, allowing better decision making and greater success in the clinic
  • Establish robust methods to analyse large numbers of analytes in small sample volumes with the highest sensitivity
  • Provide integrated data sets across different ‘omics technologies and informatics analysis to provide expert interpretation of these studies
  • Develop biomarkers from ’omics experiments into clinically relevant assays
Photo of NanoString nCounter analysis system
NanoString nCounter analysis system

Our work in biomarkers will allow SMEs to:

  • Develop biomarker strategies to de-risk and accelerate pre-clinical and clinical development
  • Access industry standard expertise and multi-plex technology (proteomics, genomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics and lipidomics) to discover biomarkers that indicate drug and disease interaction, disease progression, drug resistance and heterogeneity in patient samples
  • Validate existing biomarkers for clinical trial application (especially in therapeutic areas where biomarker analysis is not routine practice) and develop assays to measure these
  • Access tools to characterise pre-clinical models, ensuring they are reflective of patients and disease
  • Access consented patient samples and data
  • Access informatics expertise to interrogate large data sets

Our technologies