Measuring metabolic profiles provides a rich profile of a person’s current health. For example, with so-called “metabolic profiles”, doctors can make diagnoses earlier or make a personal treatment plan. A new lab, located at Leiden Bio Science Park, companies, healthcare institutions, and scientists work together on applications of metabolomics. This ‘Medical Delta field lab Phenomix‘ wants to become a flywheel for the change in healthcare towards personalized medicine.
In metabolomics, scientists study the unique chemical fingerprints that are left by specific metabolic processes in the body. These chemical fingerprints provide knowledge that can help to shift the focus in care toward prevention or early treatment. The new field lab offers scientists an open innovation setting to tackle projects in healthcare and business.
A flywheel for healthcare innovation
“We see a change in health care: from care, to cure, to prevention”, says Joep van den Eerenbeemt, business developer at InnovationQuarter. “We expect healthcare to transition from generic solutions for everyone to specific interventions for one person. In order to determine which intervention will be most effective for which group of patients, proper diagnosis is necessary. This is an early step toward personalized medicine: a ‘private’ package of diagnostics, treatment, and lifestyle advice for everyone.”
Thanks to diagnostic tools, it has become possible to apply drugs more effectively and detect diseases at an early stage. Business developer Lonneke Baas: “It is not just about the diagnosis, but also about deciding which treatment is most likely to be successful and to monitor the treatment over a longer period of time. We, therefore, see this field lab as the first step towards a large-scale screening facility for metabolites.”
Leiden University and Erasmus MC
The scientists of Leiden University and Erasmus MC who collaborate in Medical Delta on metabolomics research, are partners in the field lab as well. The ambition is that Phenomix attracts companies from the pharmaceutical, Agri and Food industry to Zuid-Holland, thereby accelerating the realization of a metabolomics ecosystem.
Scientists at LUMC, Erasmus MC, and UMC Utrecht are currently using metabolic profiles for investigating, for example, the different ways in which patients react to the coronavirus and to anti-inflammatory drugs. The scientists expect to be able to share their findings quickly, after which the industry and healthcare institutions can better tailor care to the profile of the patient.
“The field lab provides an extra incentive to translate scientific findings to commercial applications, which means that it has a direct impact on patients and healthcare as a whole”, concludes Gertine van der Vliet, managing director and board member of Medical Delta.