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Metafora Biosystems - deciphering the anomalies of cell metabolism to prevent diseases

The French company has developed a platform that reveals anomalies in the way cells obtain nutrients, thereby detecting a wide range of diseases, in particular in children. 

13 Oct 2021

Basing themselves on work and their experience at the CNRS, the co-founders of Metafora Biosystems had the ingenious idea of looking into cell metabolism, in order to detect neurological diseases, cancers or inflammatory diseases as quickly as possible. 

All our cells need nutrients to survive (vitamins, glucose, amino acids…). A proliferating tumour cell thus needs more energy. The Metafora solution reveals this anomaly, allowing a quicker and more reliable diagnosis. 

Designed by a multidisciplinary team consisting of entrepreneurs, biologists and mathematicians, the in vitro diagnostic platform of Metafora Biosystems uses blood tests to analyse the metabolism of each individual cell. It uses patented reagents that quantify the transporters of cellular nutrients, coupled with algorithms.

“Our solution is one of the few approaches that can measure cell metabolism reliably enough for use in everyday medicine.” Vincent Petit, CEO of Metafora Biosystems. 

Its first solution, METAglut1, helps with the diagnosis of the GLUT1 deficiency syndrome (GLUT1DS). This neurometabolic disease is characterised by the difficulty of cells to capture glucose. The brain therefore suffers from nutrient deficiency, which leads to neurological disorders, with symptoms such as epileptic seizures, motor disorders and delays in speech and learning. Patients are on average diagnosed when aged 8, although the first symptoms very often appear between the ages of 12 and 24 months. METAglut1 could therefore speed up the diagnosis, avoiding in addition the prescribing of anti-epileptic drugs liable to aggravate the condition of the patients. 

A clinical validation study has just been carried out in around thirty French hospitals, involving almost 700 children and young adults. Metafora is also in the process of positioning its technology in oncology and other diseases and is preparing the launch of software capable of carrying out the automated analysis of cells. 

In connection with its deployment in the U.S., the start-up is being supported by the French Healthcare NEXT program, in particular to find business partners and R&D and establish contacts with the major U.S. paediatric hospitals. 

 Member of Medicen Paris Region innovation cluster, partner of the Next French Healthcare Program.

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