Skip to Main Content
Welcome to the Marketplace

Go to Main Navigation

DigiWest®: Multiplex Profiling of Proteins for Biomarker Discovery

Labs Explorer on September 24, 2018

Validating new therapies and drugs could be made easier thanks to DigiWest®, a highly paralleled protein expression analysis technology developed by the team of NMI TT Pharmaservices.

What if protein profiling could help with the eventual identification of precision therapies, pinpoint the potential side effects of a drug or even determine the ideal patient groups to treat with it? That’s what the researchers at NMI TT Pharmaservices work towards.

Located in Reutlingen and Berlin (Germany), NMI TT Pharmaservices is a subsidiary of the NMI Natural and Medical Sciences Institute at the University of Tübingen, a private research foundation dedicated to innovative applied research and development. NMI TT Pharmaservices has developed a comprehensive service portfolio on custom cell solutions, on electrophysiology and protein profiling. It is precisely the latter expertise that could make validation of new therapies easier, especially in oncology research.

That’s why, because of their long-running competence in protein profiling, including expertise on platforms such as Luminex®, RPPA (Reverse Phase Protein Array) and Simoa®, the NMI TT Pharmaservices specialists decided to put their strengths into developing their own novel proprietary immunoassay technology in 2016: DigiWest®, a highly paralleled protein expression analysis technology.

High data and little material

« By combining the Western Blot immunoassay and the power of Luminex® bead-based multiplexing technologies, which had never been done before, my colleague Dr. Markus Templin and his team realized that we could multiply the output of the classical Western Blot » explains Dr. Christoph Sachse, Berlin site head of NMI TT Pharmaservices. « With our unique DigiWest® technology, we are able to profile hundreds of total and phosphoproteins in test samples while working with low amounts of material. »

Thus DigiWest® represents a versatile new platform for pathway profiling, drug mode-of-action studies, lead characterization, predictive toxicology and biomarker screening, particularly in oncology research. It is currently being offered on a fee-for-service to international pharmaceutical, biotech, and academic clients.

« Our DigiWest® technology has a far better output compared to standard protein technologies, as very little material is used to produce high-quality and valuable data, » says Dr. Sachse. With DigiWest®, just 60 µg of protein makes it possible to quantify as many as 800 analytes at the same time. « I like to say that with this new technology, we go beyond genomics. Indeed, we have seen that profiling on the level of phosphoproteins generates not only more in-depth but also more conclusive data. It really sheds light into the biology to a degree that the genomics method can’t obtain. »

Pushing boundaries for compound characterization and biomarker discovery

The first prominent application in which DigiWest® can be used is for lead compound characterization by pharmaceutical companies. « By testing their compounds in cell-based or in-vivo models, and then sending their samples to us for analysis, our clients get comprehensive insights into modes and mechanisms of action of those compounds » explains Dr. Sachse. DigiWest® can thus add significant value to the traditional genomics characterization as it offers in-depth understanding of compounds on a protein (and phosphoprotein) level.

The other application is biomarker research. In this area, the RPPA platform still has its value (see figure above), but DigiWest® evolves as a unique approach for biomarker discovery. « Used as a first-step tool, DigiWest® can search for expression differences to identify protein markers that can be indicative of a certain biological state » details Dr. Sachse. In this discovery approach, the gathered data can help further optimize a drug and its action, identify the potential side effects and even indicate the best patient populations to treat with it. « It is, for the moment, a pre-clinical tool. But at some point in time, it may very well also benefit clinical scientists » adds the biologist.

By developing powerful and versatile new tools and technologies like DigiWest®, the scientists at NMI TT Pharmaservices push the boundaries of multiplex protein profiling. « By doing so, we also make sure to offer a variety of different platforms to help our clients always find the right one » concludes Dr. Sachse.

For more information on the technology, visit the DigiWest® website, have a look at their services on Scientist or contact Dr. Christoph Sachse and his team at NMI TT Pharmaservices.