March 30, 2021
Two years ago, Sebastian Springer, Professor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Jacobs University Bremen, founded Tetramer-Shop together with scientists from the Technical University of Denmark. Now the pioneer in biomedical reagents for cancer diagnostics, based in Copenhagen, has been sold to the North American biotechnology company 10x Genomics.
"The successful establishment and the following sale of Tetramer-Shop are an impressive proof of what is possible at Jacobs University through excellent research and international cooperation," said a pleased Professor Thomas Auf der Heyde, Provost and Managing Director of the international university in Bremen, Germany.
The founding of Tetramer-Shop was the result of decades of basic research by Professor Sebastian Springer's research group and an international cooperation. In 2019, Sebastian Springer founded the company together with Professor Sine R. Hadrup and Sunil Kumar from the Danish Technical University in Copenhagen, as well as with Søren N. Jakobsen, the Managing Director.
In their research project, the working group at Jacobs University investigated the immune response to viruses and tumors. The focus was on MHC class I proteins, which are found on the surface of all body cells. They signal to the T cells of the immune system when the cell has been attacked by viruses or mutated. T cells belong to the white blood cells of the immune system. They can recognize, fight and even cure tumor cells. Based on their research, the working group established new ways in which the MHC proteins can be used in immunotherapy in a variety of ways.
"MHC proteins help doctors assess how well a treatment is working. Their production was difficult. But, we found a way to stabilize them, shorten their production process and thus significantly improve cancer diagnostics. In order to disseminate the innovation as quickly as possible and make it available to doctors, the founding of the Tetramer-Shop and its sale were essential," said Professor Springer.
The Bremen scientist will continue to advise Tetramer-Shop after the sale to 10x Genomics, a company which offers comprehensive instruments, consumables and software for the analysis of biological systems. His research group at Jacobs University will also continue to pursue its research – with early and intensive involvement of young scientists. "In particular, the students in our acclaimed 'Biochemistry and Cell Biology' program are extensively involved here," explained Professor Springer. The researchers aim to find more new ways to use MHC proteins in immunotherapy in a variety of ways. "We are confident that we will succeed in doing so," said Professor Springer.