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Oxford-based ONI collaborates with University of Pennsylvania

The Business Magazine article image for: Oxford-based ONI collaborates with University of Pennsylvania
11 October 2022
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ONI, a single-molecule imaging platform biotech spun out of Oxford University is to collaborate on research with the University of Pennsylvania, one of the true pioneers of CAR-T (chimeric antigen t-cell) research and clinical trials.

The collaboration aims to enhance the understanding of CAR-T therapies using super-resolution microscopy, identifying predictive biomarkers and characteristics related to CAR-T treatment efficacy and safety, with the goal of improving patient outcomes. ONI’s flagship product, the Nanoimager, will allow these researchers to visualize living cells and track how single molecules interact. With a resolution down to 20 nanometres (a 10-fold improvement vs traditional microscopy), the presence and distribution of these biomarkers on CAR-T and tumor cells from patient samples can also be quantified.

The University of Pennsylvania, which includes the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies and the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC), is one of the world’s leading centers in CAR-T research, having developed the first CAR-T therapy approved by the FDA. At the ACC, Marco Ruella, MD, leads a team that focuses on the study of the mechanisms of resistance to CAR-T therapy and the development of next-generation CAR-T treatments.

Bo Jing, CEO of ONI, said: “This important collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Ruella using our Nanoimager technology will leverage super-resolution imaging to help guide development of better CAR-T therapies and hopefully positively impact patients’ lives in the future.

“The precise data obtained from viewing living cells as they interact and the light it sheds on disease mechanisms allow enormous strides to be made in the design of novel therapeutics and diagnostics.”

“Despite great progress, following CAR-T treatment, a subset of patients do not respond or eventually suffer relapses. Subsequently, there is significant interest in further understanding the key factors associated with outcome and toxicity after CAR-T therapy and how these observations could help guide next-generation CAR-T therapies,” Dr. Ruella said. “The use of next-generation imaging technologies that can visualize the interaction between CAR-T and tumor cells could provide key insights into mechanisms of action not available with other technologies.”

About ONI

ONI’s mission is to accelerate scientific discovery and fight disease by enabling everyone to visualize, understand, and share the microscopic details of life. ONI’s first product, the Nanoimager, is the world’s first desktop, super-resolution, single-molecule imaging platform. The company was spun out from Oxford University and has rapidly grown since its inception with offices now in San Diego and Oxford.


Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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