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3 June 2013

New era in cancer diagnostics

Novel development for improved cancer diagnosis and treatment monitoring

A new generation of cancer diagnostic devices has been unveiled by Singapore-based Clearbridge BioMedics, following its work with product development firm Cambridge Consultants. The new ClearCell® FX System is designed to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment monitoring by allowing doctors to rapidly isolate circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in a patient’s bloodstream – paving the way for more personalised medicine.

The ClearCell® FX System separates and isolates cells in a patient’s blood sample using novel inertia focusing spiral microfluidics in the single-use CTChip® FR. This allows for continuous label-free separation – ie without biochemical labels – of CTCs from blood cells. The larger and denser CTCs are separated from the other blood cells within the spiral biochip due to biomechanical differences – and are then focused into an enriched cell ‘stream’. These cell streams are channeled and collected into an enriched sample, which can be used for pathology diagnostic tests such as mutation testing for targeted therapies.

John Pritchard, head of diagnostics at Cambridge Consultants, said: “This has been a collaborative merging of our extensive experience in diagnostic device development and Clearbridge BioMedics’ expertise in cancer research and diagnostics – and it’s led to breakthrough technology that will have a huge impact on a lot of people’s lives. Our systems engineering approach, coupled with our skills in fluidics, software and compliance, has enabled us to work quickly and efficiently with Clearbridge BioMedics – even though we are thousands of miles apart.”

Clearbridge BioMedics also worked in collaboration with the National University of Singapore and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Center. The new system – which has been designed for both research and diagnostics applications – will be undergoing regulatory approval in the US and Europe.

Johnson Chen, co-founder and managing director of Clearbridge BioMedics, said: “Once approved, it will be one of the world’s first label-free CTC enrichment systems for diagnostic use. Clearbridge BioMedics believes this system will be an ideal companion diagnostic system that complements various cancer therapies.”

Set up in late 2009, Clearbridge BioMedics is a spin-off company from the National University of Singapore. The firm’s first-generation ClearCell® System – which was launched for the cancer research market in 2011 – was one of the first non-biomarker-based systems commercially available to detect, isolate and retrieve CTCs from blood.

Notes to editors

Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology-critical issues for clients worldwide. For more than 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of more than 700 staff, including engineers, scientists, mathematicians and designers, in offices in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA) and Singapore, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, digital health, oil and gas, and wireless communications.

Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, a global leader in engineering and R&D services which offers its clients a new way to innovate. Altran works alongside its clients on every link in the value chain of their project, from conception to industrialisation. In 2015, the Altran group generated revenues of €1.945bn. With a headcount of more than 27,000 employees, Altran is present in more than 20 countries. For more information, visit www.altran.com.

Clearbridge BioMedics specialises in novel platforms with applications in oncology research and diagnostics. It is a National University of Singapore spin-off company that is committed to developing medical devices which will impact the world and revolutionise cancer diagnostics and patient care by leveraging groundbreaking technology from research partners. The ClearCell™ System comprises patent-pending CTChips®, which are microfluidic biochips able to effectively detect, isolate and retrieve wholly-intact circulating tumour cells (CTCs) from small quantities of patient blood samples. The isolated CTCs can then be stained for identification and enumeration, or retrieved for further molecular analysis. The ClearCell™ System aims to be the next generation of non-invasive ‘liquid biopsy’ approach for cancer screening, diagnosis, staging, personalised medication and treatment monitoring.

Clearbridge BioMedics won all top three awards at the 2012 WSJ Asian Innovation Awards (presented by The Wall Street Journal in partnership with Credit Suisse), and is also the winner of the 2012 Asian Entrepreneurship Awards in Japan. In March 2013, Clearbridge BioMedics closed a Series B investment with Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd (the wholly-owned VC arm of Temasek Holdings), SPRING Seeds Capital, Clearbridge BSA Pte Ltd and Mr Lu Yoh Chie, and BioVeda Capital. Headquartered in Singapore, Clearbridge BioMedics currently has customers spanning Asia, Europe and North America. For more information visit www.clearbridgebiomedics.com

Press Contacts

Corporate communications
Debbie Mayhew
PR & Communications Manager
Cambridge Consultants
+44 1223 392418
Debbie.Mayhew@CambridgeConsultants.com

European PR agency
David Vindel
Ketchum
+44 20 3755 6444
CambridgeConsultants@ketchum.com

US PR agency
Hanah Johnson
March Communications
+1 617 960 8892
CambridgeConsultants@ketchum.com