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  • Mike

Investing in Parhelia

Location, location, location. It's the tried and true adage for real estate, but it also is critical in our understanding of health and disease in intact tissues. Research labs have seen an explosion in tools over the past decade for multiplex imaging of tissues, and linking individual cells to locations, their marker expression, and how they are organized with other cells in the tissue microenvironment has applications from discovery to translational to clinical utility.

Taking the first integral in this surge in spatial biology leads to an incredibly painful cinch point in the tissue staining workflow.

In sample staining for microscopy, which has become a routine process for many research labs, solid samples are immobilized on a glass slide (or a coverslip) and are subject to multiple washes by hand-pipetting. Research labs do this staining manually, as only diagnostic pathology labs have access to “fixed protocol” automated staining for 100s of samples.

As you can imagine, this current standard of care leads to tremendous variability introduced at every step from washing to staining, reagent waste, risk of sample loss, and is an incredibly laborious process.

A small team recognized this extreme pain point, and know this space better than anyone. The founding team are pioneers in spatial biology, having previously founded Akoya Biosciences (NASDAQ: AKYA).

This company’s solution changes the game for the highly variable sample staining process for microscopy. The Parhelia omni-stainer is a compact (same footprint as 96-well plate), affordable, automation-plug and play (works as module to any SBS-compatible liquid handler) which enables reagent exchange and consistent staining with their proprietary capillary chamber design. The omni-stainer currently supports IF, IHC, Opal, Cas-FISH, CODEX single-stain, CODEX multicycle stain, and FFPE Antigen Retrieval, with many more protocols coming online soon.

Parhelia omnistainer - Michael Stadnisky.png

It is already in use in top-tier biotech companies and research universities, and is available for research-use only (RUO) now. Parhelia is accelerating spatial biology across research applications, and the the future is bright with their plans for accessible automation and pathology labs.

We are incredibly excited to announce our seed investment in Parhelia Biosciences, and partner with Nikolay Samusik (Ph.D. Max Planck, Stanford Postdoc), Professor Garry Nolan (Endowed Professor, Stanford), and Yury Goltsev (Ph.D. Weizmann, Berkeley PostDoc) to build the future of microscopy sample preparation.

If you would like to learn more about how to bring consistent, rapid, automatable sample staining to your lab, please reach out to Nikolay.


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