Mursla Bio gains support of Roche Diagnostics for pilot study in liver cancer patients

Access to Roche Diagnostics’ expertise in the UK secured in recognition of Mursla Bio’s differentiated value proposition for liquid biopsy

Cambridge and London, UK, 29 March 2022: Mursla Bio, a novel multi-omics Extracellular Vesicle (EV) characterisation company, is pleased to announce that it has secured mentorship support from Roche Diagnostics Ltd for a new liquid biopsy prospective pilot study for liver cancer surveillance through MedCity’s Collaborate to Innovate: London Diagnostics programme. Liver cancer is the third most common cause of premature cancer death worldwide and its incidence has increased significantly over other forms of cancer in the last three decades.

Mursla Bio’s aim is to develop a blood test that can detect early-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) more effectively than the current standard of care. To this end, the primary objective of the prospective pilot study is to select and confirm the relevance of novel HCC biomarkers for a larger longitudinal study demonstrating high clinical performance in a more tailored cohort. A secondary objective is the assessment of Mursla’s tissue-specific and multi-omics EV approach as proof of concept for the development of other related cancer liquid biopsy tests.

To enable the pilot study, Mursla Bio will leverage its proprietary multi-omics EV characterisation platform technology for the discovery and profiling of EV phenotypes, ExoPheno™. It consists of proprietary and patented technologies, which integrate wet lab (validated EV tissue-of-origin markers, pre-analytical multi-omics sequencing workflow and ultrasensitive EV marker detection systems) and dry lab analysis via machine learning.

Hundreds of blood samples will be prospectively collected by Tissue Access for Patient Benefit (TAPB), a University of College London (UCL) and NHS initiative based at the Royal Free Hospital in London, UK, and by Biobanco-IMM Lisbon Academic Medical Center Portugal in collaboration with Gastroenterology Service at Hospital de Santa Maria in Lisbon, Portugal. The samples will then be characterised by ExoPheno™ to establish differences in the multi-omics cargo of specific EV sub-populations between patients with various chronic liver diseases and cancer at various stages. In addition, Roche Diagnostics Ltd will support Mursla Bio in bringing its solution to the clinic by sharing its expertise and best practice in evidence generation, scaling up and market access.

First generation liquid biopsy tests measure circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) mutations and/or epigenetic markers (such as ctDNA methylation or fragmentation patterns) with low positive predictive value (PPV) for early-stage cancer detection, potentially leading to millions of distressing false positives. Mursla Bio intends to improve PPV with its novel ExoPheno™ platform which:

  • Uses tissue-of-origin markers to capture tissue-specific EVs in blood.
  • Detects specific multi-omics disease markers (including DNA, RNA, proteins, lipids and metabolites) contained in EVs, mirroring the parental cell with disease.
  • Focuses on dynamic information released by living cells in EVs, not by dying cells in the case of ctDNA.

Gerard Harkin, Head of Innovation UK & Ireland, Roche Diagnostics Ltd commented: “We are delighted to support the MedCity programme that encourages innovations in diagnostics and to provide in-kind mentorship to Mursla. In the field of cancer, we see the potential for new technologies to significantly improve the existing standard of care.

Pierre Arsène, Founder and CEO, Mursla Bio added: “We are very pleased to receive the support of Roche’s UK team for the application of our novel EV characterisation platform in early stage liver cancer detection and beyond. We believe that the specific multi-omics information carried by blood EVs from the tumour and its microenvironment will enable the next generation of liquid biopsy tests.

The collaboration has been enabled via Collaborate to Innovate: London Diagnostics, a MedCity programme, which is part grant-funded by the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP). Collaborate to Innovate is an initiative that streamlines the process for building effective collaborations between SMEs and academia, commercial and non-profit partners, by helping SMEs to refine and validate their promising early-stage innovative scientific developments in their journey to provide established commercial solutions.

Mursla is one of nine successful SMEs to be selected to proceed with its study having been chosen by a panel comprising leading experts from Cancer Research UK, NHS England, BIVDA, LifeArc and world leading London academic institutions. Mursla Bio will retain full intellectual and economic rights.


Contact: Mursla Bio

Sarah Brereton, Director, Limewash
Tel: 07796 583 223

About Mursla Bio
Mursla Bio is a breakthrough EV (Extracellular Vesicles) characterisation company based on a novel proprietary technology platform, ExoPheno™, which detects the multi-omics cargo of tissue-specific exosomes in blood for various biomedical applications. EVs have been shown to reflect the state of their cellular sources, transporting specific ‘-omics’ information (DNA, RNA, proteins, lipids and metabolites) either locally or to distant sites via the circulatory system, including blood.

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