Our Pipeline
 

Our Science

 

Diagnostics

 

Treatment

Our Science

 
Nguyen, L.N., et al., Mfsd2a is a transporter for the essential omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid. Nature, 2014. 509(7501): p. 503-6. Quek, D.Q., et al., Structural Insights into the Transport Mechanism of the Human Sodium-dependent Lysophosphatidylcholine Transporter MFSD2A. J Biol Chem, 2016. 291(18): p. 9383-94.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are transported through a specific transporter into the  brain: MFSD2a [1-4].

  1. EFAs, such as DHA are critical to brain development and function.
  2. Free circulating EFAs or those bound to triglycerides and most phospholipids cannot cross the blood brain barrier (BBB).
  3. To cross the BBB EFAs must be bound to a specific phospholipid species – Lysophosphatidylcholines (LPCs) which are transported by MFSD2a [3].
  4. Humans with complete or partial disruption of MFSD2a transport of EFAs suffer from both severe microcephaly (small brains) and cognitive defects [1, 2].
  5. Therefore MFSD2a is a major transporter of EFAs during development (and likely into adulthood).
  6. LPC-lipids are a previously underappreciated pool of EFAs that are critical to brain growth and development in humans.

This discovery is a major scientific breakthrough and solves a question that has puzzled scientist for years – How does the brain acquire its lipids during development and throughout life.

These findings and Babynostics’ current research& development efforts are focused on using our knowledge of LPC biology to develop new diagnostic tests and treatments in the areas of:

  • Prenatal Health for Mothers
  • Preterm birth and low birth weight infants,
  • Cognitive development of infants and young children

  1. Alakbarzade, V., et al., A partially inactivating mutation in the sodium-dependent lysophosphatidylcholine transporter MFSD2A causes a non-lethal microcephaly syndrome. Nat Genet, 2015. 47(7): p. 814-7.
  2. Guemez-Gamboa, A., et al., Inactivating mutations in MFSD2A, required for omega-3 fatty acid transport in brain, cause a lethal microcephaly syndrome. Nat Genet, 2015. 47(7): p. 809-13.
  3. Nguyen, L.N., et al., Mfsd2a is a transporter for the essential omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid. Nature, 2014. 509(7501): p. 503-6.
  4. Quek, D.Q., et al., Structural Insights into the Transport Mechanism of the Human Sodium-dependent Lysophosphatidylcholine Transporter MFSD2A. J Biol Chem, 2016. 291(18): p. 9383-94.

Diagnostics

 

Maternal blood levels of LPC-lipids that are transported by MFSD2a decrease over the course of pregnancy [1, 2], likely reflecting an increase in fetal demand for these lipids during the rapid development of the brain and other organs.

At birth, circulating levels LPC-lipids transported by MFSD2a are low [3, 4], and in conditions like preterm or small for gestational age infants, LPC-lipids remain low or deficient for an extended period of time [4].

Monitoring blood levels of LPC lipids of pregnant women and infants can identify deficiencies in these important lipids and indicate the need for supplementation or treatment.

  1. Luan, H., et al., Pregnancy-induced metabolic phenotype variations in maternal plasma. J Proteome Res, 2014. 13(3): p. 1527-36.
  2. Lindsay, K.L., et al., Longitudinal Metabolomic Profiling of Amino Acids and Lipids across Healthy Pregnancy. PLoS One, 2015. 10(12): p. e0145794.
  3. Takatera, A., et al., Quantification of lysophosphatidylcholines and phosphatidylcholines using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry in neonatal serum. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci, 2006. 838(1): p. 31-6.
  4. Takatera, A., et al., Blood lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) levels and characteristic molecular species in neonates: prolonged low blood LPC levels in very low birth weight infants. Pediatr Res, 2007. 62(4): p. 477-82.

TREATMENT

 

Leveraging our knowledge of LPC physiology and pathophysiology, Babynostics is currently developing Diagnostic tests to aid in the identification of both subclinical and pathological alterations of LPC-lipids in a number of at risk populations.

In addition Babynostics is currently developing a Gen 1.0 medical food product for commercialization and launch in 2017.

Babynostics’ current and future focus will be on the development of diagnostics tests and products that provide solutions that target the following areas with unmet medical needs

  • Prenatal support of mothers with high risk pregnancies.
  • Preterm and/or small for gestational age infants.
  • Cognitive development of infants and young children.