For a few decades, spatial biology has been revolutionizing life science research by storm. Although among pathologists, spatial biology may not seem to be a life-changing invention as they analyze tissue sections regularly. Moreover, pathologists understand the spatial context in diagnostics, which reduces the importance of spatial biology tools. But this is not the case because spatial biology has the potential of delivering molecular profiles of tissues in great detail, which can revolutionize the practice of pathology.
Spatial biology deals with advancements that include neurodegenerative development, immune cell work in tumor progression, and the effect of viral particles in infectious diseases. Now, this is just a starting point for the potential of spatial biology. Imagine how much information can be extracted by using deep-insight spatial biology tools, which would help reveal critical information about cells and molecules.
What is Spatial Biology?
Spatial biology deals with studies related to diverse cellular landscapes of various dimensions. It includes studies related to the type of cells available, the location of cells, and biomarker co-expression patterns. Spatial biology deals with how cells organize and interact to influence the tissue microenvironment. Studying cells in a spatial context provides novel spatial biology insights.
Spatial biological studies combine whole-slide imaging with a single-cell resolution to visualize and quantitate biomarker expressions and reveal how cells organize and interact across the tissue landscape. And this process is known as spatial phenotyping.
The Emergence of Spatial Biology
Spatial biology emerged from diverse technological advances including molecular biology, optics and imaging, next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics, and proteomics. However, spatial biology is a smaller segment of the life science market. According to estimation, spatial biology is expected to grow at 10% compound annual growth in the next seven years, with a net worth of $484.22 million.
Spatial biology currently plays a vital role in analyzing and visualizing cellular interaction on single-cell and molecular levels; this helps understand critical aspects of neurobiology, tumor biology, cell biology, and developmental biology.
Top 10 Spatial Biology Companies
Spatial biology has greatly emerged in the past years and is responsible for various scientific discoveries. These discoveries were made possible by technologies produced by several spatial biology companies.
Here we look at the top ten spatial biology companies that are responsible for the development of technologies that make scientific breakthroughs possible.
- Veranome Biosystems
- Resolve Biosciences
- Rebus Biosystems
- Lunaphore Technologies
- 10x Genomics
- NanoString Technologies
- Akoya Biosciences
Veranome Biosystems is a spatial biology company that provides spatial analysis utilizing easy-to-use, reliable, and end-to-end multi-omics solutions. Veranome Biosystems uses reliable imaging systems and robust workflows to deepen their understanding of diseases and how individual cells organize within the tissue.
Veranome Biosystems has a partner program known as the Pisces Partner Program, which helps visualize high-plex RNA sets from samples. They have integrated software that allows in-panel design and data analytics. Veranome Biosystems has state-of-the-art data analysis and visualization software that builds insights with a single cell’s advanced gene expression analysis. Moreover, the spatial company has a high-speed diffraction-limited optical imaging system that helps access in situ spatial omics and illuminates reliable disease insights.
Resolve Biosciences is an innovative spatial biology company with a molecular platform that empowers scientists to resolve biology challenges. They have a ground-breaking molecular cartography platform that analyzes high multiplex spatial technology that makes scientific discoveries possible. Resolve Biosciences’ innovative solutions help tackle infectious diseases, oncology, and neuroscience challenges.
Under development since 2016, the Resolve Bioscience Molecular Cartography platform has been used to detect unseen patterns in SARS-CoV-2 that were impossible with previous single-cell RNA-seq frequencies and RNA sequencing. Moreover, their pioneering platform produces contextual data sets that illuminate molecular interactions at the subcellular level while preserving the sample tissue.
Rebus Biosystems is a life science technology company specializing in developing revolutionary tools to conduct spatial omics research. The spatial company’s first instrument, Rebus Esper™, is an automatic and fully integrated spatial omics that delivers quantitative single-cell and molecule data. Rebus Biosystems has an advanced system that combines on-system chemistry, advanced imaging, and intuitive software to streamline processes in a single system, which reduces hands-on time.
The Rebus Esper spatial omics platform helps research neuroscience, immunology, infectious diseases, and cancer studies. The Rebus Esper applies Synthetic Aperture Optics (SAO) technology, a super-resolution technique that enables quantitative analysis of thousands of cells.
RareCyte is an evolutionary life science company that develops technologies to analyze rare cells in the blood. They have advanced end-to-end integrated software that provides cell analysis, analysis software, and instrumentation. The software offers cell retrieval capabilities that enable advances in immunology, maternal-fetal health, and oncology. RareCyte has dedicated scientists who aim to design revolutionary products for biomedical research, which contributes to diagnostic development.
RareCyte has its innovative Precision Biology solution that provides multiplexed analyses of tissues and cells for single-cell application in oncology; this eventually helps bring new research assays and therapeutics into the market.
Vizgen produced the first high resolution, high multiplexing in situ platform to combine single-cell and spatial genomics. This high multiplexing platform is VizgenMERSCOPE, which produces high-resolution imaging down to 100nm to capture data scaling from whole tissue sections to subcellular detail. MERSCOPE can offer scientists insights related to translational medicine in neuroscience, immunology, developmental biology, cell therapy, and ecology. The platform also provides insights regarding tissue-scale basic research.
Vizgen has state-of-the-art multiplexed single-molecule imaging technology known as MERFISH, capable of measuring the spatial distribution and copying thousands of RNA species in a single cell. The MERFISH technology produces higher multiplexing power, spatial revolution, throughput, and sensitivity.
Lunaphore Technologies specializes in simplifying technology adoption for laboratories to develop cancer and infectious disease solutions. The Lunaphore Technologies partnership with the Institute of Pathology at the University of Bern will use Lunaphore Comet™ for research purposes. Lunaphore Comet is a multiplex immunohistochemistry technology used to study isolated cancer cells, known as tumor buds, in colorectal cancer. The partners claim that with this new technology, they will be able to develop personalized medicine and improve cancer prognosis.
Lunaphore Technologies’ main aim is to support labs with fast, scalable, and end-to-end precision technology to make spatial biology mainstream. They provide versatile solutions in all stages of research, including during biomarker discovery, the immunotherapy stage, and late-stage translational research in different types and targets.
Bruker takes pride in making breakthrough discoveries by developing new applications to improve human life including various instruments and tools to explore life at the molecular, cellular, and microscopic levels. Bruker utilizes innovative solutions to enhance productivity and customer success in life science molecular research within pharma and applied applications.
Bruker holds the privilege of having licenses from Harvard University. Its technology is designed to enable genome-wide visualization of spatially 3D chromatin architecture in cell populations and individual cells in situ. In September 2020, Bruker acquired Canopy Biosciences™, specializing in services and products including spatial biology. The University of Pittsburgh added Canopy’s ChipCytometry to its core system in the Department of Immunology to advance high-plex single-cell spatial biology research quantifying cell phenotypes and their spatial relationships within the native tissue environment.
10x Genomics specializes in reliable and powerful tools that enable scientific discoveries and has been cited in more than 3000 research papers. 10x Genomics launched its next-generation Chromium X series to perform single-cell analysis, which enables cell experiments to run two cents per cell—an industry first. The Chromium X series initially includes Chromium iX, which is cost-effective with lower throughput single-cell analysis, but it’s also upgradable to high throughput full-range Chromium X.
10X Genomics holds the privilege of producing innovative high-tech applications and systems to study gene expression. The spatial company’s chromium controller can analyze hundreds of thousands of cells with the compact system.
NanoString Technologies’ mission is to map the universe of biology. Since founded in 2003, the company has gained a reputation for using innovative technologies to answer customers’ questions. NanoString Technologies enables scientists across the globe to visualize three-dimensional molecular interactions with three systems. These systems are the Spatial Molecular Imager, the GeoMx® Digital Spatial Profiler, and the nCounter® Analysis system; these systems enable scientists to see multi-omic expressions of proteins and genes in the natural context of tissue structure.
NanoString Technologies has the privilege to be cited in more than 4000 papers. Moreover, the spatial company’s technology is responsible for thousands of discoveries in the life science research market.
Akoya Biosciences leverages an innovative suite of solutions for spatial phenotyping. It raised $138.2 million in IPO when it went public in April. Akoya Biosciences collaborates with microscope providers like Nikon, Andor Technology, and CrestOptics to provide spatial biology applications. The spatial company also plans to broaden its Akoya CODEX® single-cell multiplex imaging solution through its I2 Network.
Akoya Biosciences is partnering with AstraZeneca to advance biomarker signatures and multiplex immunofluorescence workflows. The company’s new advancements are based on Akoya’sPhenoptics platform aiming to elucidate the immune biology of cancer. AkoyaPhenoptics became the first multi-institutional platform that demonstrated spatial biology analytic’s workflow. The company was highlighted in the MITRE study published in The Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer.
To conclude, spatial technology has been responsible for numerous scientific breakthroughs ranging from enabling scientists to find answers about various diseases related to oncology, immunology, cancer, and infectious diseases. Moreover, spatial technology companies have developed high-resolution tools to study and visualize cells on a molecular level, which has resulted in various scientific discoveries. Spatial technology is forecasted to grow in the future and will continue to provide tremendous breakthroughs.