Nirmidas Biotech: Innovative Near-Infrared Fluorescence Detection and Imaging Platforms
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Meijie Tang, CEO
Nirmidas was founded in September 2013 by scientists from Stanford University, a former Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientist, and a former Beckman Coulter scientist. The following year, Nirmidas was accepted into the Janssen Labs Program QB3@953, the premier life sciences startup incubator in the San Francisco Bay Area. Shortly after, Nirmidas was admitted into the prestigious StartX accelerator program and became the first company to begin operations in the new S3 lab incubator of StartX, a Stanford-affiliated non-profit startup accelerator program. Presently, Nirmidas is capable of manufacturing breakthrough near-infrared fluorescence technologies for biological testing, immunoassays, and in vivo imaging for animal models and potentially humans in the clinic.
Fluorescent dyes have been widely used for detection and imaging of biological systems, for both identifying cancer biomarkers in blood and in vivo imaging. Nirmidas Biotech. Inc. as a life science technology platform company is commercializing a new type of fluorescent dyes that emit light in the 1000-1700 nm near infrared range known as the second near-infrared (NIR) window, or NIR-II window. Long wavelength light emitted by NIR-II dyes are scattered to a lesser degree than shorter wavelength light and can escape from deeper tissues to produce higher quality images. These dyes can be excreted from the body to avoid toxicity concerns. “Our NIR-II dyes can be used for in vivo fluorescence imaging at deeper tissue depth with high signal to background ratios. Interferences due to autofluorescence of biomolecules are greatly suppressed,” states Dr. Meijie Tang, CEO of Nirmidas Biotech.
On the biological detection and diagnostics side, “We have developed pGOLD™ slides, a NIR fluorescence signal amplification platform that significantly boosts the ability to detect disease biomarkers,” says Dr. Tang. The product shows great promise as a diagnostic research tool in the life sciences and pharmaceutical field. At its core, the pGOLD™ platform consists of an ultra-thin, film-like, fluorescence enhancing plasmonic gold coating, which uses nanoengineering technology. This enables increased sensitivity, higher signal to noise ratio, a high degree of multiplexing, potentially leading to more rapid and accurate early-stage disease diagnosis and disease monitoring. pGOLD™ slides when combined with Nirmidas’ OptiMidas™ Microarray scanner platform provides up to near 100-fold enhancement in the signal to noise ratio as compared to conventional glass-based microarray slides. Further pGOLD™ slides and MidaScan™ scanners are combined to form an all-in-one system called the OptiMidas™ multiplexed assay platform to enable ELISA-like assay kits for multi-biomarker detection using small amounts of serological samples.
In addition to successfully offering to researchers in a variety of fields, Nirmidas is using its innovative pGOLD™ slides and OptiMidas™ assay platform to develop and launch next-generation serology clinical tests and in vitro diagnostics products that could benefit millions of patients suffering from a range of infectious diseases. To achieve this, Nirmidas has recently entered into a 5-year supply and service agreement with a CLIA lab of a major healthcare provider in California, to develop novel assays for clinical testing. Also, in collaboration with Stanford Medical School and UCSF, Nirmidas has been developing multiplexed serological tests for distinguishing Zika virus infection from dengue infections, for both acute and convalescent patients. While the tests are already available for research use, Nirmidas is working with the FDA to obtain regulatory approval for clinical use.
The Zika test results serve to corroborate Nirmidas’ potential to provide innovative solutions to life science and healthcare problems and to improve the quality of human life. As part of its plan to enhance its capabilities, Nirmidas aims to develop personal and portable diagnostics systems for early disease diagnosis and prognosis monitoring and population-based screening for the global market. Combining chemistry, biology, bio-engineering, and optical imaging, Nirmidas is focused on remaining at the forefront of NIR fluorescence detection and imaging technologies.
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