Magazine names Branford biotech's product 'top innovation of 2017'

BY Natalie Missakian

Contributed | IsoPlexis
Contributed | IsoPlexis
Branford biotech IsoPlexis' IsoCode chip has been named the top innovation of 2017 by The Scientist Magazine. The chip is used with the company's IsoLight platform, shown above.
A Branford life sciences company has earned national recognition for a new technology that helps doctors predict the way cancer patients will respond to immunotherapy drugs.

IsoPlexis Corp.'s IsoCode Chip earned the leading spot in The Scientist magazine's Top 10 Innovations of 2017, a list that identifies the year's most groundbreaking life science technologies.

Launched commercially in February, the chip and its computer platform, IsoLight, allows researchers to characterize cells based on the proteins they secrete, the magazine said.

Judges cited the product's ease of use and its potential impact on cancer research.

"Being named The Scientist's No. 1 innovation of 2017 is another validation of the IsoPlexis technology's role in utilizing our immune system to fight cancer," said Rong Fan, a biomedical engineering professor at Yale and cofounder of the company.

The technology can profile thousands of individual immune cells at once and can identify between 30 and 45 different proteins for each cell, while previous technologies captured only a few secreted proteins per cell, CEO Sean Mackay told the magazine.

The data is helping researchers develop highly targeted, personalized treatments for cancer patients, Mackay said.

Meanwhile, New Haven's Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Co. Ltd. said it has completed enrollment in a pivotal phase 3 clinical trial of its drug rimegepant to treat migraines and expects to announce results early next year.

The study was the second of two trials that enrolled a total of 3,000 patients, Biohaven said.

The treatment is part of a potential new class of drugs known as CGRP receptor antagonists, which work to stop migraines by blocking a brain chemical that transmits pain.

The drug is billed as a potential alternative for migraine sufferers with heart disease or high blood pressure, who can't take popular migraine drugs like Imitrex because they constrict blood vessels.

In other bioscience news, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has green-lighted LAM Therapeutics' clinical trial of its immune-modulating drug LAM-003 to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the Guilford-based biopharma startup said.

The drug is aimed at overcoming resistance to existing drugs used to treat AML, Dr. Steven Gore, director of hematologic malignancies at Yale, said in a statement.

"We look forward to offering AML patients a new option for their disease," Gore said.

The company also announced a partnership with San Francisco biotech Genentech, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant the Roche Group, on a trial of a combination therapy for non-Hodgkin B-cell lymphoma.

Natalie Missakian can be reached at