Novel Diagnostics, Collaborative and Contract Research
Innatoss’ mission “Catch it early!” includes that we want to significantly reduce health problems associated with infectious diseases. We do this by providing diagnostic tests that allow for adequate and timely treatment, and we promote the use of these tests in clinical practice.
We aim for first- or best-in-class products, that are accepted by patients, physicians and healthcare providers alike. To achieve this, we collaborate with medical practices, companies and international research organizations and support these with our expertise and innovative tests. New certified tests, which may already be available abroad, will be introduced in the Netherlands as soon as possible. One such example is the cPass test to measure SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies.
Read the news article about this new cPass test here.
Collaborative research projects
Innatoss is working with Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, USA) on two consecutive research projects on Q fever vaccines funded by the US Department of Defense (Defense Threat Reduction Agency, DTRA).
Partners in the initial Q-VaxCelerate project were Colorado State University, Yale University, the University of Oxford and Epivax Inc. In this project we have laid the basis for a novel T-cell targeted Q fever vaccine. Work conducted at Innatoss included a broad T-cell antigenicity screen in a regional Q-fever exposed cohort, as well as cytometry-based profiling of Coxiella-induced responses in selected individuals.
In a follow-up project with Massachusetts General Hospital and a range of key partners in Australia (University of Brisbane, the Australian Rickettsial Reference Laboratory and SNP Laboratories), which started in 2020 we are now investigating the immune responses to the existing Australian Q fever vaccine and assessing whether the Q-detect test of Innatoss is a suitable tool for exposure screening, both in remote areas and pre-vaccination to reduce side-effects associated with the current vaccine.
In 2015, Innatoss initiated a pilot study (Ixodes) to longitudinally assess T-cell responses to Borrelia, the causative agent of Lyme Disease. Individuals with a recent tick bite as well as control were included and blood was collected immediately, after 4 weeks and 3 months, and analyzed for both T-cell and antibody responses. Blood was collected from these volunteers before and after they started taken antibiotics.
In 2016, based on the initial encouraging data of the Ixodes study, Innatoss started a collaborative project with academic and industrial partners from the Medical University of Vienna (Wien, Austria), DIARECT (Freiburg, Germany), and npk design (Leiden, NL) on the development of a cell-mediated immunity test for Borrelia. The ID-Lyme consortium is funded by the European commission under the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program. The aim of this project was to develop the first point-of-care diagnostic test that can identify Borrelia infections in the early stage prior to the onset of symptoms, to enable early and effective treatment of patients, improve quality of life of patients and reduce Lyme Borreliosis-related healthcare costs.
In total, nearly 500 individuals with a recent tick bite, 40 individuals with the characteristic bullseye rash and 140 negative controls participated in the Ixodes study. Unfortunately, analysis of the final data set showed that T-cell responses had both insufficient specificity and sensitivity to distinguish participants with and without a recent infection and thus to be of value as a diagnostic test.
The ID-Lyme consortium, therefore, put all its efforts into the technical arm of the project, which involved the design of a novel liquid handling device (termed WOLF). This device was designed to address the key logistical hurdle of cell-based immunity (CMI) tests: the fact that living cells are needed and hence blood needs to be stimulated within hours from collection. The WOLF device consists of a splitter device with an integrated blood collection tube holder and a 4-chambered cartridge that can be filled with disease-specific stimuli for CMI testing. WOLFs enables the stimulation of blood directly at the point of blood collection, without the need for specialized personnel and laboratory facilities such as biosafety cabinets. Our vision is that the availability of this novel liquid handling device will stimulate the development of novel CMI-based tests for a range of intracellular pathogens.
Innatoss is also involved in local and international research, both as a contract research organization and as a partner in collaborative R&D. Examples include the validation of the Sofia 2 Lyme+ Fluorescent Immunoassay (FIA) in collaboration with Quidel Corporation (San Diego, USA), and a pilot study commissioned to Innatoss by Q-support, the Dutch Q fever expertise center for patients and medical professionals. In this pilot study, Innatoss acts as an independent partner to evaluate the potential diagnostic value of Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH) for the diagnosis of Q fever fatigue syndrome.