Iris BioTechnologies focuses on
diagnostic therapy for individual patients based on their genomic profile. The
California-based company has developed the Nano-Biochip, which is a special
silicon microchip that identifies the most effective treatment options for
patients based on their gene expression.
The company is planning to
launch its first Nano-Biochip, the BreastCancerChip, in 2008. Breast cancer is
thought to be caused by abnormal gene alterations at the cellular level, as
well as by lifestyle and environmental factors. These genetic changes are
unique to each person and should be treated individually. The BreastCancerChip
captures vital molecular data from a biopsy sample and compares this
information with more than 100 gene markers for the cancer.
Today, most health care
providers make medical decisions with minimal insight into the molecular
nature of a patient's disease. "With Iris's BreastCancerChip, women and their
physicians will have the benefit of knowing, in advance, which therapies have
worked best for other patients with similar gene profiles," said Simon Chin,
CEO and founder. "This knowledge could be the difference between life and
death in some cases and a better quality of life for all patients."
Once processed, the
information from the biochip creates an optical pattern that is analyzed by
BioWindows, the company's predictive medicine platform. The BioWindows
database also allows patients to confidentially enter personal information
(i.e., medical history including hereditary, environmental, and lifestyle
factors), through a comprehensive online survey. Combined with the patients'
genomic profiles, the BioWindows system helps clinicians and researchers
select an optimal form of treatment and monitor its effectiveness.
In addition to the
BreastCancerChip, Iris BioTechnologies is currently developing chip-based
products for neurologic diseases, metabolic disorders, and other cancers, as
well as for possible agricultural, veterinary, and environmental applications.
The company went public in December 2007.