Isospec Analytics launches biomolecular analysis technology to identify unknown molecules

Published: 16-Apr-2024

The novel technology optimises the identification process of unknown molecules compared to mass analysis

Isospec Analytics has raised USD $1.9m to commercialise new technologies for molecular analysis that rapidly identify unknown molecules in minutes, helping pharmaceutical companies to develop safer products and enabling researchers to discover novel biomarkers.

Isospec’s $1.9M pre-seed round is led by Founderful (formerly Wingman Ventures), with additional participation from specialised investors, and Venture Kick. 

Today, identifying an unknown molecule is primarily based on mass analysis, which does not provide sufficient information. 

Identifying a by-product or an impurity requires the combination of high sensitivity to detect trace amounts in a sample, coupled with the ability to generate data that can definitively identify the structure of a molecule. Existing tools lack either one or both of these capabilities. 


Mitigating the shortcomings of mass analysis

“Unfortunately, mass alone does not uniquely determine the structure of a molecule. Several different molecules can have exactly the same mass, called isomers, but totally different properties. For example, one isomer might be toxic, while another may be a life-saving therapeutic,” said Thomas Rizzo, Professor of Chemistry at EPFL. Definitive molecular identification currently requires the combination of several techniques and a lengthy process including purification and multiple syntheses.”

However, Isospec’s technology generates unique, information-rich metrics that allow for the rapid identification of unknown molecules in minutes instead of months, bringing unprecedented scalability to molecular identification. 

“By adding infrared analysis directly inside a mass spectrometer, we have a valuable new dimension by which to identify molecules,” adds Prof. Rizzo. 

In a human blood sample, 15,000 small biological molecules can give precise information about a person’s health ... but less than 5% of these molecules can be identified

Originating from the Laboratory of Molecular Physical Chemistry (LCPM) at EPFL, Isospec’s breakthrough technology is already being used in the analysis of sugars and metabolites within the food and agritech industry to carry out quality control and support product R&D. 

However, the team believes the real potential of their technology is in the discovery of new biomarkers for therapeutics development and diagnostics.

“In a human blood sample, there are 15,000 small biological molecules that can give precise information about a person’s health at any given time. However, less than 5% of these molecules can be identified. The ability to rapidly identify new molecules means we can now leverage the 95% unknown molecular space to develop treatments to the deadliest diseases,” said co-founder and CEO Dr. Ahmed Ben Faleh. 

The team is currently working on the scalability of their platform, introducing automation at every step and implementing machine learning tools for data analysis and insight generation. 






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