AsianScientist (Aug. 12, 2022) – Singapore-based biotechnology company, MiRXES, recently launched a series of new capabilities—including an Industry 4.0 (i4.0) manufacturing facility, two new laboratories and a collaborative multi-cancer screening research project. The new developments are aligned with MiRXES’ goal of advancing its research and production capabilities to develop miRNA-based disease detection tests.
MicroRNAs (miRNA) are short RNA sequences that regulate many cellular processes including natural cell growth and death. It is increasingly recognized as a key disease biomarker and as such, developing miRNA-based diagnostics is a step towards providing preventive healthcare. An example is MiRXES’ GASTROClear blood test that detects signs of gastric cancer.
Officially launched earlier this year, the new manufacturing facility is the first and largest industry 4.0 in vitro facility in Southeast Asia, standing at 15,000 square feet. Invoking an ‘any mix, any volume’ principle, the facility combines both automation and digitalisation to monitor product quality and improve manufacturing processes.
Together with MiRXES’ first ISO13485 compliant In Vitro Diagnostic manufacturing site, the new facility will enhance MiRXES’ overall production capabilities—tripling the current manufacturing output while ensuring efficiency and sustainability of the manufacturing process.
“This first-of-its kind facility in Southeast Asia will equip MiRXES to address the next big challenge in healthcare”, said Dr. Zhou Lihan, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of MiRXES at the launch.
As Asia emerges as a rising biotechnology market, this manufacturing facility could help drive the region’s success, similar to the JHL Biotech Biosimilars Manufacturing Facility in Wuhan, China which covers around 26,000 square foot.
Given the prevalence of cancer in Asia, MiRXES’ continues to focus on leveraging the power of miRNA to develop diagnostic tests for early cancer screening. Ideally, early detection will result in better disease management.
To aid the development of diagnostic tests, MiRXES has begun work in two new laboratories at the Biopolis—the MiRXES laboratory at and the M Diagnostics laboratory. Working in tandem with the i4.0 Manufacturing Facility, the MiRXES laboratory promotes leading throughputs in miRNA research while the M Diagnostics laboratory offers clinical references for test validation.
The laboratories will support yet another development in the MiRXES pipeline—Project CADENCE. The project involves partnering with healthcare providers and institutes of higher learning to develop a novel multi-cancer blood test. This announcement was made on 7 July 2022 in light of Singapore’s movement towards preventive healthcare under the Healthier SG programme.
According to Zhou, developing a multi-cancer blood test is no mean feat, primarily because diseased individuals might exhibit irregular miRNA profiles—making it difficult to distinguish and associate specific miRNA profiles with a particular type of cancer.
Current research found differential miRNA profiles associated with just a small number of cancer types—lung, breast, colorectal and ovarian cancers. Furthermore, initial clinical trials have been non-reproducible, which makes development of the screening test challenging.
Aware of the challenges ahead, MiRXES will continue to leverage its new capabilities to drive innovation in early cancer detection.
“Early detection makes a huge difference to the health of all patients. The technology enables our healthcare system to shift decisively from curative care to preventive care in hospitals and the community,” stressed Singapore’s Minister for Health, Ong Ye Kung, at the launch of Project CADENCE.
Top photo: MiRXES
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