MERSCOPE® One Year Later!

As we celebrate the 1-year anniversary of the commercial launch of Vizgen’s MERSCOPE®  Platform, let’s take a look back at our exciting year.

We launched MERSCOPE in the U.S. on January 18, 2022, with the goal to be more than just a genomics platform, it’s the first-ever single-cell, high-plex spatial genomics platform in the world. MERSCOPE is a comprehensive in situ single-cell spatial genomics solution – integrating MERFISH technology with high-resolution imaging, fluidics, image processing and automation.

FIGURE 1: MERSCOPE is the first high multiplexing, high resolution in situ platform to combine single-cell and spatial genomics.

Through combinatorial labeling, sequential imaging, and error-robust barcoding, MERFISH technology provides the highest detection efficiency and resolution available for spatially profiling the transcriptome, from whole tissue sections to single-cell and even sub-cellular imaging. In the last year, we have continued to augment the platform with the launch of two new MERSCOPE products that expand its capabilities. The Protein Co-detection Kit enables the simultaneous analysis of RNA and proteins, and the Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded (FFPE) Solution Kit lets researchers acquire spatial genomics data from the vast historical library of FFPE samples. In addition, we added capabilities across the MERSCOPE® Platform through the Gene Panel Design Portal, Vizualizer, analysis, and instrument control and functionality.

FIGURE 2 MERSCOPE Data Images: A. MERSCOPE Protein Co-detection data image of the small great matter region from a normal fresh frozen human brain tissue section. The overlap of the MERFISH measurement and protein stain show the spatial distribution of 5 protein targets and RNA transcripts from a 244 gene panel. The Alzheimer’s disease-related protein targets (AT8, mOC23, and TDP-43) were undetected while the other cell-type specific and structural proteins (SMA, GFAP, and MBP) were detected in high sensitivity. in the tissue section. Scale bar is 500 um. B. MERSCOPE Protein Co-detection on an aged human brain with Alzheimer’s disease tissue section showing the spatial distribution of transcripts from a 244 MERFISH gene panel and 5 proteins across the tissue. There are significant amounts of pathological proteins, including amyloid plaques (by mOC23) and hyperphosphoryloated tau (by AT8). Moreover, TDP-43 nuclei signal was detected in grey matter spatially close to Aβ and tau deposits indicating widespread TDP-43 pathology within the aged brain. Scale bar is 500 um. C. Cell types across multiple cancers were evaluated, using a 500 gene panel in combination with the cell boundary staining kit to label individual cells. The data image shows that MERSCOPE can precisely and brilliantly identify the relevant cell types across a wide variety of cancer types preserved in FFPE format, including lung cancer as shown here. The sacle bar is 1mm. D. MERSCOPE can also successfully spatially profile mouse tissue. This data image shows the MERFISH measurement of 8 gene from a 128 gene panel across a fixed frozen mouse small intestine tissue section. Scale Bar is 1 mm.

The MERSCOPE® Platform commercial launch was part of the ongoing momentum that is pushing the spatial genomics field forward, and Vizgen is proud to be at the leading edge as this new research field grows and takes shape. Effective research requires collaboration and sharing of ideas, so last year we released two new publicly available data sets. In January, we released the Mouse Liver Map, giving researchers an unprecedented view of the spatial division in liver metabolic function. This was followed by the FFPE Human Immuno-Oncology dataset in May which included tumor samples from multiple organs, including breast, colon, lung, liver, skin, prostate, uterine, and ovarian tissues, all available through our data release program for use in any way. Currently, our data release program comprises the world’s largest single-cell spatial genomics public dataset and includes 26 samples, over 10 million cells and nearly 6 billion transcripts.

FIGURE 3: Overview of the MERSCOPE FFPE Human Immuno-oncology  Data Release. Datasets available at: https://vizgen.com/data-release-program/ .

Propelled by the success of MERSCOPE, Vizgen secured $85.2 million in Series C financing, bringing our total funding to $136.2 million and making us the largest privately funded company fully dedicated to spatial biology. We expanded our operations directly in the EMA region and formed a distributor network for the APAC region, Switzerland and Israel. To round out the year, we were named Overall Biotech Company of the Year in the 2022 Biotech Breakthrough Awards Program, establishing Vizgen as the gold standard for single-cell spatial genomics data.

“This field of spatial genomics that we have created will enable research scientists to map diseases in ways never before possible and lead to countless new discoveries and pathways for potential cures,” said Terry Lo, President and CEO of Vizgen.

These accomplishments have been made possible by the incredible work of our team’s dedication and effort in pursuit of Vizgen’s mission. The momentum and excitement for Vizgen continues into 2023.

Download our Happy Birthday MERSCOPE Infographic!