La Trobe spinout to commercialise novel microscope slides
La Trobe University is launching its first major spinout company, named AlleSense, in order to support the commercialisation of a technology that is expected to revolutionise medical imaging and potentially save millions of lives.
The NanoMslide has been described as a world-first nanofabricated microscope slide that uses colour contrast to easily and quickly identify abnormal cells in a suspect sample. Its development was supported through La Trobe’s Strategic Innovation Fund, established to fast-track the translation of research findings into successful business ventures.
The technology works by applying a special coating, created using cutting-edge nanofabrication technology, to the humble glass microscope slide — effectively turning it into a miniature chemistry lab, reducing time and removing dyes from the process. It can be applied to any tissue and has shown significant promise in aiding the diagnosis of early-stage and difficult-to-diagnose cancers — including breast cancer.
“This technology has the potential to distinguish cancer cells from normal or benign cells in the breast, allowing accurate diagnosis at a very early stage,” said co-inventor Professor Belinda Parker from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, who has been involved in the development of the NanoMslide from its early days. “We are excited to test whether the NanoMslide also has potential in early diagnosis of a range of cancers.”
AlleSense will be established with an initial investment of $2.5 million, driven by Welcome Ventures, which will enable researchers to progress development of the NanoMslide to clinical trials and facilitate further technology validation with their global partners; Julian Sutton from Welcome will be AlleSense’s inaugural Managing Director. The investment will also support the scale-up of manufacturing of the product, ensuring the slides will be produced in Australia for a global market.
“Being able to deliver this potentially life-changing technology to people around the world is very exciting,” said co-inventor Professor Brian Abbey from La Trobe University, who recently received a $2.9 million NHMRC Investigator Grant to further his NanoMslide research.
“The support of La Trobe University has been critical to enabling us to take this technology out of the research lab and develop it into a product that could one day be used by millions of people.”
La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the university was proud to support the launch of AlleSense, which will be based at the university’s Bundoora campus. He stated, “We saw the great potential in the NanoMslide from the beginning and are delighted to have been an important partner in the development of AlleSense.”
The AlleSense team is currently validating their manufacturing and quality management system with support from the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) and its ANFF-C translation fund, as well as the ANFF-funded Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication. They plan for the technology to undergo rapid clinical translation and be available for research use by the end of 2024.
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