MABTECH AND QAMCOM REINVENT SPOT ANALYSIS WITH MABTECH IRIS™.

BACKGROUND

Mabtech is a Swedish biotech company. Founded by researchers in 1986, the Stockholm-based company is still run by researchers today and is internationally renowned for the tools it has developed for life science research, in particular in the field of immunology.

Mabtech is a leader in providing monoclonal antibodies and kits suitable for ELISpot and FluoroSpot analysis. Used by scientists worldwide to study immune responses in, for example, infectious diseases, cancers, allergies, transplantations

and vaccine trials, the kits require third party readers for spot analysis, wherein lies the problem. These readers lack the accuracy and precision needed in analysing spots secreted by single immune cells. Furthermore, they require calibration by the user – a step which will invariably add an element of subjectivity to the analysis and might therefore compromise the accuracy of the results.

Passionate about biomedical research and ensuring extreme accuracy in the discovery process, the Mabtech team felt that the situation could be improved…

“In order to realise our goal of fundamentally redefining spot reading technology, we needed a partner who could not only bring the technical skills we required, but who would also truly share our passion for the project. Qamcom did both, overcoming significant development challenges and delivering some brilliant enhancements to the product that even we had not thought of. Working with Qamcom, we were confident that there were no boundaries to what we could achieve together”

Christian Smedman
Chief Marketing Officer, Mabtech

‘In order to realise our goal of fundamentally redefining spot reading technology, we needed a partner who could not only bring the technical skills we required, but who would also truly share our passion for the project. Qamcom did both, overcoming significant development challenges and delivering some brilliant enhancements to the product that even we had not thought of. Working with Qamcom, we were confident that there were no boundaries to what we could achieve together’

Christian Smedman
Chief Marketing Officer, Mabtech

THE CHALLENGE

Mabtech understood that the traditional method used by spot readers – analysing flat 8-bit images – had already been taken to the limits of that technology.

They therefore began to investigate the possible use of signal processing algorithms on image RAW data, with the goal of being able to access an extended dynamic range with vastly more detail and absolutely no loss of data. In this way a reader would be able to accurately extract the volume and relative amount of secreted analyte in every spot – something that had never been achieved before.

With this objective in mind, and in conjunction with researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Mabtech developed a ground-breaking new algorithm which could take spot analysis to a new standard of detection accuracy.

However, the algorithm was still at an academic research stage. Not only would it need to be further refined in order to be able to successfully put to commercial use, but an entirely new reader would also need to be designed and built around it in order to take advantage of its full potential. And with none of the industry’s existing manufacturers seemingly up to the task, Mabtech realised that to truly take spot analysis to the next level, they would need to build this new reader themselves, from the ground up.

‘Combining Mabtech’s understanding of biological applications and Qamcom’s expertise in advanced embedded systems and signal processing, we have jointly developed a state-ofthe-art reader that reinvents spot analysis. This is yet another example of Qamcom’s ability to take highly technical academic ideas and turn them into market-ready solutions.’

Dr Ann Louise Johansson, CEO
Qamcom Research and Technology Stockholm

THE SOLUTION

Mabtech turned to Qamcom Research and Technology – a world-class centre of excellence for R&D partnerships – who took on full project responsibility.

A joint project team was established. Combining Mabtech’s knowledge of biological applications and researchers’ needs of additional software features, with Qamcom’s expertise in signal processing and embedded systems, the team refined the algorithm for commercial deployment. This came to life as their new RAWspot™ technology.

Simultaneously, Qamcom designed and built an entirely new spot reader, able to take full advantage of RAWspot’s capabilities and of achieving the goal of truly reinventing spot analysis. This included every element of the hardware, firmware, software and user interface design, taking the project all the way from concept to serial production.

The result was Mabtech IRIS™, a next-generation, 4-colour FluoroSpot and ELISpot reader that was capable of accurately identifying not only the number of spots but their volumes too – a world first. Fully plug-and-play, IRIS’ innovative hardware and user-friendly software require absolutely no calibration and vastly reduce the need for experienced users. Simply load a 96-well plate and press “Read” for completely objective results. Advanced data export functionality also significantly reduces the amount of work required for data processing from hours to minutes, thus returning valuable time to researchers.

In order to take full advantage of the power and accuracy of the RAWspot technology, the Qamcom team created Mabtech Apex™ software. Designed by Qamcom and Mabtech’s application specialists, Apex is fast and easy to use, automatically optimising all of IRIS’ settings. And with its selfcalibrating XY table, IRIS not only delivers the industry’s most accurate results, it is also the simplest reader to use on the market today.

Designed for scientists, by scientists, Mabtech IRIS is truly cutting-edge technology and has instantly created exciting new possibilities for the research community. In fact, as soon as it was launched, IRIS was immediately put to use by researchers around the world, including projects as diverse as researching malaria immunity in Kenya, cancer in Germany and child diabetes in the UK.

The innovative RAWspot technology extracts a 3-dimensional Relative Spot Volume (RSV) for each spot, corresponding to the relative amount of secreted analyte – a world first for a spot reader.

The innovative RAWspot technology extracts a 3-dimensional Relative Spot Volume (RSV) for each spot, corresponding to the relative amount of secreted analyte – a world first for a spot reader.

THE QAMCOM ADVANTAGE

From the outset, a close and collaborative relationship was established between the two companies. Focused on results and committed to excellence, Qamcom brought all the competencies required to deliver the full solution – everything to take it from academic idea to complete commercial product.

With all of the required expertise inhouse, Qamcom was able to introduce an entirely fresh and wholly objective perspective to the project – end to end – enabling Mabtech to look beyond their initial goal and deliver a product that completely redefines its industry. And as with all the projects Qamcom undertakes, the team was totally committed to the ultimate deliverable. By working with Qamcom, Mabtech was also able to capitalise on a number of significant Qamcom differentiators:

  • Qamcom’s team numbers more than 140 developers with either extensive industry experience or a PhD degree, positioning the company to be able to take on almost any kind of technology project, from advanced algorithm development to complete product development for serial production.
  • In-house development of embedded systems and specialist consultancy services within Wireless Connectivity, Autonomous Systems and Industrial IoT – able to take academic ideas not only to prototype stage, but all the way to market-ready commercially viable products.
  • Technology application expert with complete embedded system expertise in specifications, design, development, testing, certification, prototyping, preseries production, support and life cycle management.
  • Qamcom is uniquely positioned in the artificial intelligence space, with world-class expertise in sensors, sensor fusion, signal processing, wireless connectivity, embedded systems, AI, analytics and cloud.
  • An approach of managing projects collaboratively with customers ensures that the team’s output is truly the ultimate solution, every time.
  • And with a goal to be an agile catalyser for advanced technology transfer between academia and industry, Qamcom is able to bring creative and cutting-edge ideas to fully tested scalable solutions.

Dr Ann Louise Johansson
CEO, Qamcom Research and Technology Stockholm

+46 (0)702 260 774
annlouise.johansson@qamcom.se

Christian Smedman
Chief Marketing Officer, Mabtech
+46 (0)707 689 706
christian.smedman@mabtech.com